A church in Indiana has “detained” statues of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus in a bold statement against current U.S. immigration policies.
“On our lawn tonight we placed The Holy Family…in #ICE detention,” officials from Christ Church Cathedral wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
Using the hashtag #EveryFamilyisHoly — in English as well as Spanish — officials asked God to watch over families detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in recent weeks.
The Holy Family is surrounded by a chainlink fence, similar to the ones seen detaining children of people arrested for crossing the U.S. border illegally.
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Rev. Canon Lee Curtis of Christ Church Cathedral came up with the idea, saying the Holy Family was seeking refuge when they went to Egypt, quoting Matthew 2:13-14.
“The statement with the Holy Family says as much about our policy as any statement would say,” Curtis told NBC News.
“We want an end for family detention. Families, all families, every family, is holy, and we hope and pray that families who are seeking out a better life for their kids are afforded that opportunity.”
Officials at the church said they also disagreed with people using the Bible to justify actions taken at the border.
“We heard a lot of the Bible quoted, people trying to say what scripture justifies and doesn’t justify,” said Rev. Stephen Carlsen, who is the dean of the church.
“Our tradition, our sacred traditions, are crystal clear. People who come to us for safety, for refuge are just like everyone in our families.”
Previously, Attorney General Jeff Sessions defending the “zero-tolerance” policy that separated families at the border, saying everyone should obey the law.
“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order,” he said in June.
Since then, President Donald Trump signed an executive order saying families can be detained together, instead of separately.
At the time, the Vatican weighed in on the debate as well, posting another Bible verse on the Twitter account of its migrants and refugees section, attributed to Pope Francis.
“The Bible teaches that God ‘loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt’ (Deuteronomy 10:18-19),” Pope Francis said, according to the tweet.
It wasn’t clear how long the display would be up, but when ABC News asked, Carlsen said, “”How long are we going to keep detaining families indefinitely?”
Some church members were proud of the display.
“It’s a perfect way to show what’s happening. It’s families in cages. This is a family that resonates with a lot of people,” parishioner Mark Reckart told the Indy Star.