The same Indiana church that held the Holy Family “in detention” has replaced the statues with a mirror, so that anyone who walks by will see their own reflection through the chain link fence that surrounds the display. “The original image was about how God loves us and then how we should love others based on that. This is about how we should love our neighbors as ourselves,” said Steve Carlson, dean and rector of Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis.
The church made national headlines earlier this month when it placed statues of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph inside a chain-link fence in protest of the Trump administration’s barbaric “zero tolerance” policy, which kidnapped thousands of migrant kids from parents at the border. “Holy scripture is clear about how we are to treat people trying to find safety for their families,” Carlson said at the time. “We are to show mercy and welcome them. Jesus, Mary and Joseph were homeless and fled danger to seek asylum.”
Carlson said the public reaction to the display was overwhelmingly positive. Adding to its effect is that Christ Church is in Mike Pence’s home state. “I was really happy to see the response,” Carlson said, “and I think that is proof to us the power of these icons and these images, and that’s part of the reason for the change. To be able to allow folks to situate themselves clearly with the plight of those who are detained and separated.”
Despite a judge ruling that separated families were to be reunited by July 26, this unfit administration has taken upon itself to decide that hundreds of migrant kids are “ineligible” to reunite with their parents. Advocates and leaders are continuing to be relentless, demanding not just the reunification of all children, but that parents who have already been deported be returned to the U.S.
“That’s the core foundation of all ethics and morality,” Carlson said. “Can you imagine what it’s like to come to this country seeking safety for your family, and if you did, how would you want to be treated? What would it be like for you to be detained and in a cage?”
The church is encouraging all to visit the display to take a selfie with the #EveryFamilyIsHoly hashtag and to, just for a moment, imagine if they were in the same situation so many migrant families are in today. No doubt we would want someone to remember our humanity, to fight for us, and, above all, to not forget us. Families are still in crisis, and they still need us.