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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Yes, we would have put Jesus the refugee in a cage

Claremont United Methodist Church Nativity scene
The Nativity scene at Claremont United Methodist Church depicts the Holy Family separated as refugees in cages.
(Rev. Karen Clark Ristine)

To the editor: As a Claremont resident I’ve often disagreed with the message of the annual Nativity scene at the Claremont United Methodist Church. But this year’s display is spot on and biblically accurate.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph were refugees, forced to flee to a neighboring country (Egypt) from a murderous thug (King Herod).

Many Christians ask themselves what would Jesus do; rarely do we ask what would we do to Jesus. This year’s display asks the latter. If Jesus were born today in Honduras or Guatemala and needed to flee for his life to the United States, we would lock him up and separate him from his parents.

This isn’t how you want to think about what we’ve done at the border? Get over it.

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Christopher Shore, Claremont

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To the editor: While I applaud the Claremont United Methodist Church and its pastor for expressing their concern regarding the conditions in which some immigrants have been held at the border, theirs is an obvious political statement.

It is not theological as professed by the pastor. It is offensive and degrades the sanctity of the Christmas miracle for all believers.

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If the pastor wants to wade into the overheated immigration debate with political theatrics, she can start by eliminating the church’s tax-exempt status. She would then have the right to disseminate political speech along with the rest of us.

Rick Wilson, Pasadena

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To the editor: I used to imagine a peaceful, idyllic manger scene. Now, I understand and imagine, as well, a very young pregnant woman giving birth under very distressing circumstances.

Mary’s people were living in occupied territory and struggling for survival and dignity against victimization by the Roman Empire. They were being required to accept allegiance to a foreign power. It was a time of rising oppression and moral dilemma.

The principle of separation of church and state was formulated to prevent control in government by any religion or the favoring of one religion over others. It was not meant to stifle the expression of moral outrage or criticism from a religious perspective.

The message of the Christmas star coming amid the deep darkness was that a savior was being born, and with Him the birth of an awakening within humankind that can literally save the world. We are in a time now to appreciate this message.

Marilyn Browning, Calabasas

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To the editor: Supporting religious freedom was probably not the church’s goal, but the Nativity scene showing Jesus, Mary and Joseph locked in cages is an effective, if inadvertent, protest of the secular state’s war on Christmas.

Something to think about at the mall.

Nathan Wirtschafter, Encino


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