Carol Platt Liebau: The Pernicious Religious Sanctuary Movement

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Pernicious Religious Sanctuary Movement

This piece bears on a new "sanctuary movement" wherein various houses of worship attempt to shield illegal immigrants from being deported in accordance with US laws.

One of the reasons America has worked so well for so long is because there has always been a carefully cultivated, but still delicate, relationship between church and state. No doubt churches have a moral right and obligation to make their views known, and to step in if there is real harm and danger being visited upon the weak or the helpless as a result of unjust or evil laws (think Nazi Germany's treatment of the Jews, for example).

But the immigration laws the houses of worship are attempting to subvert are neither evil nor unjust. The people being prosecuted or deported under them are those who broke existing laws voluntarily, and even so, are not being put in any danger of life or limb -- they are simply being required to abide by the laws this country has established.

In such circumstances, when religious leaders begin actively to subvert law enforcement in order to push their own political agendas, it undermines the careful balance in church-state relations that fosters respect for the church and still allows a representative democracy to work. If religious leaders believe that the immigration laws should be changed, they have the right -- as all citizens do -- to petition their government.

In the meantime, it is an abuse of their positions to attempt singlehandedly to ignore or evade otherwise just laws that have been passed by the freely elected government of the United States.


Blogger rplat said...

This is absolute nonsense. These jerks are violating the laws of a sovereign state and if the persist they should be arrested and tried. They should also be raided if there is probable cause to suspect they are harboring fugitives. Enough!

12:57 PM  
Blogger Kbobby said...

Since this is an overtly political act. Those "Churches" that are involved in these acts should lose their status with the IRS and be subkject to taxation.

2:28 PM  
Blogger stackja1945 said...

Some churches like some politicians believe they can do what they want regardless of any law. But they are selective. Where is the criticism of Castro and Mugabe regimes to name but two.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...


No way. Don't touch their tax status. LBJ has done enough on that score. But for the clergyman who breaks the law? Arrest him.

9:50 PM  

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