Sanctuary Cities and the Church

Stephen Woodworth

Stephen Woodworth
March 22, 2017

Sanctuary cities, once again on the rise, can trace their beginnings to the church.

Rob Bear
March 23, 2017

As a Christian, I am appalled that churches feel the need to help protect people from the American government — their own government — the people who are supposed be "the good guys."

What has happened to America? What has happened to the American government?

This is not part of the American Dream. It is becoming the American nightmare!

Lord, have mercy.

Doug Vande Griend
March 23, 2017

I have no problem with those who engage in providing sanctuary to those unlawfully in the country, provided: (1) they take responsibility for the needs and actions of those to whom they provide sanctuary, and (2) they accept whatever might be the legal consequences of their actions.

Indeed, I think I would heartily applaud those who provided sanctuary while also accepting responsibility in the above two respects.

But I rarely see sanctuary advocates take such responsibility. Not in today's sanctuary mindset at least.

Steven Mead
March 23, 2017

This is not a true statement or definition of sanctuary cities. They refuse to obey the laws of the land as ordered by scripture. The only people's they protect are illegal aliens, not refugees or immigrants. Most of those that are applauding this movement will not take even one illegal alien or refugee into their home. It's easy to speak up when you don't have to be the one actually providing the burden and or financial support. We are to help our neighbors, provide for those in need, provide for widows and orphans. Not the government, us. But we are also instructed to obey those in power and they have been placed there by God himself. I argued this to fellow Christians with Obama in office and now with Trump. If the laws are unjust, work to change them or pay the price for not following them. And in turn lets be consistent in our beliefs. This is a movement based on politics not compassion. When this same push was done by other politicians no one said a thing. Of all people we Christians need to be non political party and biblical in our movements. And since scripture does not and God does not change, neither should our stands on issues. Love and respect to all brothers and sisters in Christ and your side of this topic.

March 23, 2017

I recently attended a gathering hosted by a local immigration advocacy group exploring this very topic and think that it's important to clarify a couple of things.

Truthfully, I went to the meeting believing that it was going to be about church/state, civil disobedience, etc. That's not actually what it is, at least not everywhere.

Here's what happens: an undocumented immigrant has an active deportation order. A church agrees to house them until such time as either a) the immigration laws change, b) they are granted a stay of deportation, c) the person is deported, or d) the person chooses to return home and risk deportation.

While some churches would go so far as to bar the door to ICE agents and would willingly break the law (and face the consequences of those actions), the bigger thing is not about asserting 1st amendment rights but rather is leveraging that current immigration policy strongly discourages ICE agents deporting someone from a "sensitive area" - currently defined as churches, hospitals, and schools.

So let's say a member of a church is undocumented and has been a long-time member of that congregation. Their kids live in the community, perhaps their grandkids. They have probably been pursuing legal means of being able to remain in the country for quite some time (most undocumented folks I know have been working with immigration lawyers for years). Let's say they get pulled over. When the police officer finds they don't have a license, they get checked through the system and are found to be undocumented. An order of deportation may be issued. By working with an immigration lawyer, staying in the church would provide this family enough time to put together letters of support, documentation showing long-time residency, etc. - anything that would give them a strong case for a judge to grant a stay of deportation.

Again, some sanctuary churches would go farther and would actively bar the door. But that's not actually what the sanctuary church movement is about. It's using the nuance of the immigration system to provide someone with a safe place to stay until such time as they can be granted a legal means of remaining in this country.

Rob Bear
March 23, 2017

In Reply to Doug Vande Griend (comment #30215)
Ethically and practically, actions have consequences. I wonder how many people took potential consequences into account before naming themselves as sanctuary destinations. Saying things is easy; doing them, not so much.

March 23, 2017

I offer Romans 13 and the duty to obey government. There are legal ways to immigrate to our country and those who enter illegally are open to whatever legal consequences arrive at their doors.

Bill Wald
March 25, 2017

Old story about the camel who put his nose inside a tent . . . . Major cities in southern Europe will be under the pragmatic control of the refugees.

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