Church Puts Jesus, Mary and Joseph in “ICE Detention” in Defiance to Trump’s Policies
The Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Indianapolis is protesting Trump’s immigration policies in an innovative way. They placed the statues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in a chain-link fence outside the church building. The dean and rector of the church, Rev. Stephen Carlsen, said the figuration of the “detained Holy Family” tells the story of how Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt when Herod ordered male children to be killed in the Bible, the Washington Post writes.
Rev. Carlsen explained this is the church’s way of protesting Trump’s immigration policy which saw hundreds of immigrant families separated and detained in ICE facilities across the country. With reports claiming that over 2,500 immigrant children were separated from their parents and housed in detention facilities all over the country, hundreds of advocacy groups condemned Trump’s zero-tolerance border policy. Just last week, the church also joined with Families Belong Together to hold a peaceful rally protesting family separation at the Indiana Statehouse.
Exhibition Reenacts Joseph and Mary as Egyptian Immigrants Fleeing Violence
Carlsen disclosed that many people who saw the statues of the Holy Family detained in the projected iconic manner could not connect the dots immediately. He explained the depiction represented Joseph and Mary fleeing violence from their home country in Bethlehem, just as migrant families are flocking to America now.
“People forget what that scene means,” Carlsen explained. “That was a homeless couple who weren’t welcome anywhere, who took refuge in the barn, and it was to that couple that the Christ child was born. The heart of God is always with those who are on the margins, who are vulnerable and have no voice.”
The exhibition was put up Monday night, and people saw it the following morning. Carlsen said some people understand the iconic representation and agree with the concept when they see the detained Holy Family. Others do not understand immediately, yet disagree with the idea when it is explained to them. How long the display will stay up, they cannot tell.
Many American Citizens Are First or Second-Generation Immigrants
“On our lawn tonight we placed The Holy Family…in #ICE detention,” the church tweeted after putting up the exhibition.
The idea for the display was inspired by Rev. Canon Lee Curtis of Christ Church Cathedral. According to him, many congregants in the church are first or second-generation immigrants who disagree with what Trump is doing to illegal immigrants.
“This is something that we preach and teach about, and we are partnering with other groups in the state in order to see meaningful reform for detention and deportation,” Rev. Curtis said. “We walked and supported people through ICE deportation proceedings before too.”
Following an immense outcry condemning the separation of immigrant families, with Pope Francis lending his voice, President Trump signed an executive order on June 20 to end family separations. With the new order, Homeland Security and relevant authorities have managed to reunite about 500 immigrant children with their detained parents.