Baby Jesus in a Cage

Church Puts Baby Jesus In Cage For Immigration-Themed Nativity Scene

St. Susanna’s Rev. Steve Josoma said the Massachusetts church’s Nativity display puts a “mirror image of the world into the stable.”

A Massachusetts church is mixing faith and politics in its nativity display this year ― placing a baby Jesus figurine in a cage to provoke conversations about  America’s immigration policies.

Leaders at St. Susanna Parish, a Roman Catholic congregation in Dedham, hope the display puts a Christian perspective on controversial actions toward migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and around the world.

“We wanted to put a mirror image of the world into the stable,” parish priest Steve Josoma told HuffPost.

The traditional Nativity scene that Christians have become familiar with over the centuries features shepherds, wise men and animals huddled around Jesus, Mary and Joseph in a stable. The classic image demonstrates how people from different countries and social classes can come together in a “perfect symbol of peace on Earth,” Josoma said.

St. Susanna’s Nativity scene shows what happens when people find ways to build walls between each other, the priest said. The scene shows baby Jesus in a black metal cage, separated from Mary and Joseph. The image of Jesus behind bars is meant to represent the plight of migrant children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border because of White House policies.

In St. Susanna Parish's Nativity display, Jesus is placed in a metal cage while the wise men are blocked by a fence.

In St. Susanna Parish’s Nativity display, Jesus is placed in a metal cage while the wise men are blocked by a fence.


To the right of the scene, a fence creates a barrier between the Holy Family and the three wise men. A sign attached to the fence reads, “Deportation.” Josoma said the wall is supposed to represent the southern border and other physical and metaphorical walls that Western countries have created to keep refugees out.

Above the stable, a blue banner reads, “Peace on Earth?”

Josoma said that the sign is meant to get viewers to ask, “Is this what peace on Earth looks like?” St. Susanna’s alternative Nativity scene is the brainchild of the parish’s Pax Christi committee, a group that does outreach and education on nonviolence and peacemaking.  Josoma said the Nativity scene is an “affirmation of gospel values” and not just an attack on President Donald Trump and his administration. But, he added, some of the administration’s policies are “at odds” with the message of the gospel. “Soldiers firing tear gas at the border doesn’t seem to be the way to go to bring out healing and reconciliation,” the priest said.


The display, which was set up over the weekend in time for the first Sunday of Advent, has sparked criticism from some corners. Fox News host Sean Hannity discussed the display on his show Wednesday and claimed on Twitter that Christmas is “under siege.”

Josoma said that after the “Hannity” segment, he got calls from around the country accusing him of blasphemy and claiming that the parish’s take on the Nativity is inappropriate. Some of his own church members weren’t enthusiastic about the display, he said, and two people emailed him indicating that they’d decided to leave St. Susanna because of the Nativity scene.

The priest said he agreed that a cage and a wall have no place in the Nativity scene ― in fact, he says, that was his point.

“People think children in diapers getting tear-gassed is OK, but this [Nativity scene] is totally sacrilegious?” Josoma said in response to the criticism. “All we’re trying to do is put the two together.”

“What you do to somebody else is what you do to Christ,” he said, referring to a Bible passage that claims those who welcome strangers are in effect welcoming Christ himself. “You can’t separate the two.”


St. Susanna Parish's alternative Christmas display is meant to spark conversations about the biblical call to welcome the str

St. Susanna Parish’s alternative Christmas display is meant to spark conversations about the biblical call to welcome the stranger.


St. Susanna’s activism around refugees isn’t limited to its Nativity scene. Two years ago, the parish started working with Catholic Charities and two other local Christian congregations to sponsor a refugee family seeking to resettle in the U.S.

In September, the parishioners welcomed a family from Burundi to the community. Josoma said 75 volunteers are helping the family navigate their first few months in America ― doing things such as helping the family register children for school, go to doctors’ appointments and practice English.

The experience has been a “blessing” to his parish, Josoma said, and has helped his congregants feel like they can make at least a small difference in the global refugee crisis. Many volunteers are now eager to welcome a second refugee family to the neighborhood, he said.

“We don’t pretend to have the answers, but we believe working together in small communities, we can begin to address the problem,” Josoma said.


Let’s not forget the kids at the border!

Posted in family separations, ICE, immigration/deportation, Religion & tolerance, Trump, Trump atrocities, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Queens Man Impeached

“The entire Queens House delegation voted in favor of impeachment!

Local journalism at its best:

Queens native Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. AP Photo/Paul Sancya.

Queens native Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. AP Photo/Paul Sancya.

By Victoria Merlino

Former Jamaica Estates resident Donald Trump was impeached Wednesday by the U.S. House of Representatives. He is the third president to be impeached in United States history — and the first from Queens.

Trump is accused of pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate political rival and Democratic candidate for president, Joe Biden, and of withholding military aid until the Ukrainians conducted the investigation. He is also accused of obstructing the Congressional investigation.

Trump fired off a series of tweets on Thursday over the impeachment process, calling it “presidential harassment” and directing ire at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“Pelosi feels her phony impeachment HOAX is so pathetic she is afraid to present it to the Senate, which can set a date and put this whole SCAM into default if they refuse to show up! The Do Nothings are so bad for our Country!” he wrote.

The charges will be sent to the Republican-controlled Senate, initiating a trial that could have lasting ramifications in the 2020 presidential election.

The entire Queens House delegation voted in favor of impeachment.

“Today, I voted to impeach President Donald Trump … I did so with a heavy heart for our country, but a clear conscience. I did so, because, above all, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” U.S. Rep. Grace Meng wrote in a statement on Twitter.

“No normal person would be able to get away with attempting to extort a foreign power to compromise our country,” U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “But all too often, the most corrupt and powerful people grow so accustomed to life with impunity that standard accountability feels to them like unjust persecution.”

Trump’s old Jamaica Estates home, where he lived as an infant until he was four years old, went back on the market after it was sold to a Chinese investor and rented on Airbnb for $725 a night, according to Curbed.

Trump’s parents’ graves are located at All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village. The cemetery was slapped with a lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James earlier this year for allegedly misappropriating funds.

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#NotAboveTheLaw – Rallies across America

On the eve preceding the historic vote of congress to impeach President Trump, there were rallies across America: more than 500 rallies in 50 states involving perhaps 0.5 Mio protestors.

I attended the rally in Patchogue NY, in front of the offices of Lee Zeldin, Trump apologist extraordinaire.  The story is already on News 12.  And here it is in Newsday.

It was truly electrifying.  In pouring and freezing rain, some 500 protestors showed up!

A note from one of the organizers:  Last night’s ‘impeach and remove’ event in Patchogue was a huge success! Despite the freezing rain, more than 500 people turned out to uphold the constitution, defend our democracy, and stand for the rule of law. (Read about the event in Newsday and News12LI.)

The patriotism, commitment, and indomitable spirit of those who attended was inspiring!

Whatever happens in the Senate, rest assured that we are on the right side of history.

Thanks! Amy

Here are some videos and photos:








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IMG_5729 2

Posted in 2020 elections, impeachment, Trump, Uncategorized, Zeldin | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

A Night at the Garden

Trump demonstrates how to deal with a protester at a rally:

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 9.24.05 PM

Click here to see the video:


Then take a look at this video from 1939: A Night at the Garden (an American Nazi gathering).  Note the similar treatment of the protester!

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 9.19.17 PM

Posted in anti-semitism, fascism, first amendment, Trump, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Zeldin Ignores Constituents While Endlessly Defending Corrupt President

Letter to the Editor, The East Hampton Star, December 5, 2019

Clue Mr. Zeldin In

To the Editor:

Lee Zeldin has been tweeting up a storm and appearing on cable news with alarming regularity, barely able to conceal his fury about the impeachment inquiry. In fact, he has tweeted several times about “an enraged liberal activist base desperate to take down a sitting president.”

Can someone please clue Mr. Zeldin in that many of these allegedly enraged liberal activists are, in fact, his constituents, and in reality are law-abiding, patriotic citizens who are appalled by the actions of a lawless president? He would know this if he ever held a town hall (which he hasn’t in over two years).

Where was this passion and energy when SALT was being debated? During that time there was barely a peep out of him, and certainly no attempt to rally colleagues to fight it, even though he openly acknowledged it would have dire consequences for Long Island. And it has. Housing prices on the East End have declined because of it, and many households have lost thousands of dollars because of the cap it imposed on state and local tax deductions.

Zeldin richly deserves to be voted out of office. Use your vote to let him know that when we sent him to D.C., it was to represent Congressional District 1, not a corrupt president.



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“Deep Canvassing” and the Lessons Political Campaigns Can Learn From It

Submitted to this blog by Arthur Schiff.

By Gabby Weiss,

Deep Canvassing has grown in popularity as an organizing tool in the past few years, but while most people have heard of it, many are still unsure exactly what it is. The fundamentals behind deep canvassing are not new, in fact, organizing has always been based on the simple underlying belief that human conversations have the power to change minds and spur action.

The modern form of deep canvassing was developed by the Leadership LAB of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Their Project Director, Dave Fleisher,


“In a conventional canvass, campaigns try to control the message by sending volunteers out with a script to recite exactly as written. There’s this belief that if we just say the right words, the voter’s going to change their mind. With a deep canvass, we want to figure out what’s relevant to voters. There’s still a script, but it’s designed to help the canvasser build a good rapport with a voter. The distinguishing feature of a deep canvass is you take a lot more time to talk to voters and have a bona fide two-way conversation about real experiences that shape their thinking about the issues. Instead of a script that lasts 60 seconds, volunteers spend 10 or 20 minutes talking with each voter.”
While deep canvassing has primarily been used on issue-based campaigns, such as ballot measures for LGBT issues like gay marriage and transgender equality, many of the techniques and principles can be adopted to deepen the organizing practice of electoral campaigns as well.

1. Build connections on the doors

Every good organizer knows that building connections is the secret to developing an energized volunteer base for a campaign, and it’s important to remember that this principle can apply to everyone that a campaign interacts with. Deep canvassing encourages canvassers to prioritize building a connection with each voter they engage with, going deeper than a simple candidate or issue ID. Creating real connections makes voters more likely to remember the conversations they have with canvassers or phone bankers and take action based on them.

2. Spend time listening

Part of building a connection with voters means practicing active listening. Fully concentrating on what a voter is saying, leaving space for a voter to pause and think before responding (without immediately jumping in to fill the silence), asking follow-up questions, and displaying engaged body language are all important listening techniques that create more meaningful conversations on the doors. If a voter spends more time talking during a conversation than a canvasser does, you’re doing it right!

3. Ask open-ended questions

No one likes being treated as a checkbox on a list, and when a voter takes the time to talk to a canvasser at their door it’s because they care about the political issues at hand. Moving beyond simple yes or no questions and prompting voters to share the things that they care about and the reasons behind their positions shows that your campaign is invested in their wellbeing, not just their vote. Asking follow-up questions assures voters that you are actually interested in what they have to say, and can give organizers insight into effective ways to motivate and activate them.

4. Find common values

The goal of a canvass is to prompt voters to take action, whether it be voting, volunteering, becoming a caucus leader, or talking to their other household members about voting. People take action because they care about something, so use canvass conversations to find out what is important to individual voters. Knowing the values that a voter holds, such as safety, community, justice, or fairness, can help you communicate your candidate’s positions in a way that is relevant and impactful to them.

5. Don’t be afraid of the hard questions

Having real conversations about politics means that sometimes tough issues will come up. Many communities in the country today are facing sharply divided political landscapes and evaluating hard questions about the future. Canvass conversations are effective when, rather than shying away from these issues, they are addressed head on, through the lens of shared values. What are the issues that a voter is considering when making a candidate decision, and which decision is ultimately more aligned with their values?

6. Let voters persuade themselves

Most people don’t like being told what to do or what to think, and so rather than telling someone what the right answer is, asking voters to consider these questions for themselves can be a powerful tool for persuasion. The goal of deep canvass conversations is not to directly tell people how to vote, but rather to help walk them through the reasoning process of determining which candidate’s positions align best with their values. Using this process can help a voter truly connect with their motivation for political involvement, something that ideally will stay with them through election day.


Posted in 2020 elections, Canvassing, East Hampton, Fair elections, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Nadler quotes Alexander Hamilton (who accurately describes a man like Trump)

Jerry Nadler

Read House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler’s opening statement


“In short, the Founders warned us that we should expect our foreign adversaries to target our elections and that we will find ourselves in grave danger if the president willingly opens the door to their influence.

“What kind of president would do that? How will we know if the president has betrayed his country in this manner for petty, personal gain?

Hamilton had a response for that as well. He wrote:

‘When a man unprincipled in private life, desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents . . . known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty—when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join the cry of danger to liberty—to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion . . . [i]t may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.’

“Ladies and gentlemen, the storm in which we find ourselves today was set in motion by President Trump. I do not wish this moment on the country. But we have each taken an oath to protect the Constitution, and the facts before us are clear.

“President Trump did not merely seek to benefit from foreign interference in our elections.

“He directly and explicitly invited foreign interference in our elections. He used the powers of his office to try to make it happen. He sent his agents to make clear that this what he wanted. He was willing to compromise our security and his office for personal, political gain.”


This is truly quite remarkable. Kudos to Hamilton and to Jerry Nadler.


And thanks to Bob Wick for bringing this to our attention!



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