When a city or state identifies itself as a "sanctuary" to illegal immigrants, do they realize they are borrowing the term from religion, i.e. the Bible, even as they ignore the actual practice where the sanctuary was never given to those who intentionally broke the law?
Probably so, especially since many of these cities refuse to use the term illegal immigrant and try to use "undocumented immigrants" instead. Either way, it shows, for the lack of a better term, collusion between elected government officials who are to uphold the law and those who circumvent and maximize current loopholes and open borders.
In the Bible, according to columnist Cal Thomas, "a sanctuary city was a place where someone who had committed unintentional manslaughter could find refuge from 'the avenger of blood.' If the offender left the sanctuary city, he could be set upon by a relative of the dead person and killed. No sanctuary was available to anyone who committed murder with malice aforethought."
Thomas continues and compares modern day sanctuary cities to hideouts during the times of cattle rustling and train robbing of the Wild West.
State and church have different roles.
Here's an interesting irony: former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel seems to be invoking justice only when it suits him.
On one hand, Emmanuel recognizes the atrocities that occurred with the Jussie Smollett case in that he broke the law and should've been prosecuted instead of the charges being dropped. He said, "This is a whitewash of justice."
Yet, on the other hand, he is confused about biblical sanctuary only being provided to those who don't intentionally break the law. Despite being wrong about this, he fought and won against the Department of Justice. The DOJ wanted to withhold federal grant funding by connecting it with immigration enforcement in multiple sanctuary cities. The DOJ has appealed, and I hope they win with my new understanding of true sanctuary cities. (See here and here.)
His successor, Lori Lightfoot, seems positioned to continue to protect illegal immigrants (she calls them undocumented immigrants) despite being a former federal prosecutor. Just last night Lightfoot became the first African-American female and open homosexual elected to lead the city.
A former Chicago pastor on immigration
Recently in an interview with The Stand, Dr. Erwin Lutzer shared some thoughts from his book The Church in Babylon: Heeding the Call to Be a Light in the Darkness. Lutzer served in Chicago as the senior pastor of Moody Church for 36 years. While the book deals with over a half-dozen critical issues facing the church in America today (and what the church must do to survive, thrive, and serve God), immigration and the wall are extremely relevant topics.
In fact, chapter seven mainly deals with this issue and is titled, "Islam, Immigration, and the Church: Balancing Compassion and Security."
Lutzer shared with The Stand, "I think foolish things are said about immigration. For instance, like Jesus was an immigrant or some of the other arguments used from the Old Testament. I show [in the book] we have to distinguish between the role of the state and the role of the church.
"The role of the state is the sword. That is its symbol. There is nothing in the Bible to suggest that a nation does not have the right to determine who comes within its borders. So that's the responsibility of the state to make sure of that. The state is orderly, the state is protective. So we have every right to control our borders, and you cannot run a state on compassion.
"Now the role of the church," Lutzer continued, "is entirely different. Its symbol is the cross. Of course, the church should be compassionate. The church's role is to say to anyone, whether you're here legally or illegally, we're here to help you. We're here to encourage you and build bridges. I could tell stories, and I do in the book, about churches that are helping Syrian refugees, and they're going into one another's homes building all those friendships.
"That's the privilege of the church, and we need to keep those distinct," said Lutzer.
The role of the church is to never encourage lawlessness or breaking the law. The original sanctuary cities never did this. The person who allegedly killed someone unintentionally had to prove it to the city government. If they were found guilty of intentionally murdering someone, they would be turned over to face punishment (Deuteronomy 19:11-12). If not enough evidence could prove guilt or innocence, then the person could safely stay in the city for the rest of their life. However, if they left the borders of that city, then the person was fair game to the family of the original victim.
Please notice sanctuary cities were only available for those who would want to claim unintentional manslaughter. No other crimes were given sanctuary.
Cities who act as true sanctuary cities should be encouraging lawfulness for those they claim to protect. Prove you're here legally. Show up for your court dates. Accept the judgment of the government whether you should stay or not. Otherwise, it is a farce, a collusion or an illegal agreement to cheat those who did, do, and have followed the laws of the land to become legal American citizens. If we ignore these laws, we will all fall.
The most interesting and frightening thing from his book is related to migration (illegal or legal) and Islam. Lutzer wrote, "In fact, the Muslim calendar begins not with the birth or death of Muhammad, but with the date of his migration, which illustrates the importance of spreading Islam by moving from one geographical location to another. This event became known as the Hijrah (migration). This model of migration is not for the purpose of assimilating into a new host nation, but for the colonizing and transforming host countries."
Lutzer acknowledges only about 31 percent of Muslims, according to Pew Research, would probably agree with this view due to their belief of there being only one way to interpret their faith. However, for those strict extremists, he writes it is a form of jihad by immigration.
Regardless of who, why, or how people immigrate, many countries in Europe realized too late what was happening to their sovereign nations because of all the migration.
Our border has been and continues to be in crisis.
I hope you'll join me in prayer for wisdom and courage for our leaders to recognize the distinct roles between church and state, so that the state may ensure a lawful, orderly country.
President Trump, Congress, governors, mayors, and judges, please build the wall for America and close those loopholes to protect legal Americans. Please stop using the terms sanctuary city when you're encouraging lawlessness for illegal and/or undocumented aliens. It doesn't hold to the tradition of what it means biblically, and it confuses your role as the state with the churches' role.
Finally, my fellow, legal Americans who are also citizen-leaders, please realize a day of judgment did come to those who sought sanctuary. Do not deny the application of our laws to determine whether someone can be here legally or not. Cooperate with each other to make America stronger.
If not, Lutzer shares a warning in his book. He quotes Alexander Hamilton, who wrote: "To admit foreigners indiscriminately to the rights of citizens, the moment they put foot in our country…would be nothing less than to admit the Grecian [Trojan] horse into the citadel of liberty and sovereignty [America]."
This Trojan Horse won't destroy the city of Troy. It will destroy America. It is like a malicious software which takes advantages of loopholes and works against the intent of its creators until we take action to correct it now.
We are facing more than a border crisis. We are facing a constitutional crisis.
Dr. Robert Youngblood is assistant digital media editor for the American Family Association. This column appeared originally on The Stand.
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