A church in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, gained recognition this week because of its depiction of the Holy Family (Jesus, Mary, and Joseph) inside a chainlink fence, in protest of President Donald Trump’s immigration policy of detaining families at our nation’s southern border.
The fence, topped with barbed wire and put up on Tuesday, is meant to be a criticism of the Trump administration’s immigration policies — specifically, how the government is treating undocumented immigrants seeking asylum without compassion.
“Holy Scripture is clear about how we are to treat people trying to find safety for their families – we are to show mercy and welcome them,” Christ Church Cathedral’s dean and rector Stephen Carlsen said on Tuesday.
National leaders within the Episcopal Church condemned the Trump administration’s earlier policies of separating children of asylum-seeking parents that was widely reported on last month. In a recent statement, the church wrote that “any day children are separated from their parents is too long.” Beyond that specific issue, the church has long been a defender of immigrants’ rights.
Compassion is needed in the current debate surrounding immigration. Individuals who travel without documentation, and who are caught crossing the border by law enforcement, still deserve to be treated like human beings, and given due process rights that should be universally respected by any freedom-loving country, including our own.
The imagery that Christ Church Cathedral set up this week should serve as a reminder of that compassion that many Christians in America, some of whom are supportive of this president, are supposed to adhere to. Then again, it shouldn’t take adherence to a specific faith to realize that families seeking refuge deserve our sympathies, not our condemnations or disparagements.