Nativity Scene 2019

Sturm Enrich
4 min readDec 11, 2019
Holy Family in detention. 2019 nativity scene at Claremont United Methodist Church

As a Humanist pastor, I occasionally speak against hypocrisy of the Christian Church. This time, I have to make an exception.

This year the Claremont United Methodist Church ( in Claremont, CA — like all other Churches in the world — prepared for Christmas by recreating the nativity scene. It may seem unremarkable and it would be, except that this nativity scene is different than all others.

As you see, it depicts the Holy Family separated: each family member in a separate cage, with Baby Jesus wrapped in a Mylar blanket and kept away from his parents. I can’t think of a more fitting statement for Christmas 2019.

Baby Jesus in a Mylar blanket in Claremont United Methodist Church’s nativity scene 2019

I’d like to thank Rev. Karen Clark Ristine and the Congregation of the Claremont United Methodist Church for their courage and honesty and for making the refugee crisis on our southern border the focus of their Christmas display, again. Putting ideological differences aside in the spirit of the Season, I and the Humanist Church’s Congregation stand together with Claremont United Methodist Church in hope that their dramatic statement evokes empathy the plight of separated families and children deserves from every person who considers themselves ethical regardless of their political or religious affiliations.

Our backgrounds, ethnicity, language, etc. aside, we are all human beings. We all love our families. We cherish and protect our children; they are our most valuable “asset”. We’ll make every sacrifice to keep our children safe, healthy, well taken care of, well-educated and happy.

Treating refugees not like the survivors they are but like criminals; jailing them; separating children from their parents; subjecting innocent children to the trauma of separation; neglecting the welfare of detained children is a crime against humanity that never before took place in the United States of America.

Sturm Enrich

Survivor, Thinker, Author, Speaker and Avid Humanist / Holist