A California Methodist church has unveiled a nativity scene showing Jesus, Mary and Joseph as caged refugees, in order to criticize the Trump administration's border policy. 

“In a time in our country when refugee families seek asylum at our borders and are unwillingly separated from one another, we consider the most well-known refugee family in the world. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the Holy Family,” the Rev. Karen Clark Ristine said about the Claremont United Methodist Church's display on Facebook.

"What if this family sought refuge in our country today?" she added. "Imagine Joseph and Mary separated at the border and Jesus no older than two taken from his mother and placed behind the fences of a Border Patrol detention center."

The Facebook post stirred backlash from conservatives. "You have no business behind a pulpit. This is a disgrace," one commenter on the Facebook post said. "Very sad to use the birth of our savior for a political statement," another commenter chimed in.

"Nativity scene outside of Claremont church portrays Holy Family separated at border.. except Jesus wasn't an illegal immigrant.. but why let facts get in the way of a good virtue signal, right?" conservative commentator Tomi Lahren posted on Twitter.

The Trump "zero-tolerance" border policy towards illegal immigrants caused migrant children to be separated from their parents, with one government watchdog saying that the policy "added to the trauma that children had already experienced and put tremendous pressure on facility staff." Footage of children in wire mesh compartments at the border, which some call cages, drew outrage from the American public. 

President Trump has frequently argued that "Obama built the cages" but family separations have become "systematic" under Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy.