When Christmas Gets Political

A caged baby Jesus, demonstrating Santas, tree protests — this is what happens when politics and Christmas mix.

Social impact during the holidays

The Holy Family separated and caged | December 8, 2019

A California church created a nativity scene depicting Jesus, Mary, and Joseph separated in cages. On ABC7, Rev. Karen Clark Ristine said she wanted to draw attention to hardships of asylum seekers.

A bi-national mass at the U.S.-Mexico border | December 16, 2017

A binational mass was celebrated and was held in Tijuana but was also took place in Imperial Beach and read by bishops. The focus of the mass was on children in the United States, Mexico and Central and South America. Dozens gathered on both sides of the border to take part in the mass. The binational event kicks off a mass that continues to the tip of South America.

A statue representing Trayvon Martin | December 27, 2013

Instead of an infant Jesus cradled in his mother’s arms, the Nativity at Claremont United Methodist Church — the creation of congregant and artist John Zachary — features a depiction of Trayvon Martin slumped over in his hoodie, a pool of his blood spreading over a bed of straw. The nativity scene was erected to “encourage people to reflect on gun violence and racial privilege.”

A Christmas tree protesting the Iraq war | December 26, 2005

It is at the bridges—about a dozen span the Tigris River, which bifurcates the Iraqi capital—where most violence has taken place. The protest movement, which began in October, has resulted in more than 400 deaths, around a dozen of them security personnel. Over 17,000 people have been injured. In response, the Chaldean Catholic Church in Washington D.C. decided last week to refrain from holding public celebrations of Christmas, trading tree decorations and holiday receptions for prayers of intercession.

A nativity scene denouncing femicides | November 23, 2017

“100 Presepi”, the Italian for "100 Cribs", is an international art exhibition of a vast variety of Nativity scenes that has been staged in Rome, Italy for 43 years. Manlio Menaglia who started the show in 1976 in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo area, wanted to salvage a typical Italian tradition which in those years risked being overtaken by the Christmas tree culture that is not of Italian origin. Maria Carla Menaglia continues to be a curator of the exhibit "100 Presepi"

Santas against deforestation Hernan Girardini Greenpeace activist | December 20, 2006

After the “Save the Rainforest” movement in Brazil and Argentina forced changes that dramatically slowed deforestation across the Amazon basin, activity is roaring back in some of the biggest expanses of forests in the world. That resurgence, driven by the world’s growing appetite for soy and other agricultural crops, is raising the specter of a backward slide in efforts to preserve biodiversity and fight climate change.