Thursday, August 17, 2006


This is an interesting issue concerning the church. What do we think of the concept of sanctuary? Many red christians are very much against illegal immigration. But what happens when we put a face to it?

This is definetely a quandary for the government, do we arrest her in a church, or let her stay, setting a precedent for others to follow. There is no legal basis for sanctuary in the US, but what about a religious basis? The subject for the church is, how do we respond? My personal leanings are for restricted immigration.

I believe the church however, must be open for illegal immigrants. Evangelism knows no status. If I take seriously the concept of the imago Dei than I as a christian must welcome all into the church I pastor. Do I condone this behaviour? No, but I must still love, and show Christ to all. Am I being simplistic? Probably, but for me the basic understanding of who I am in Christ is simple (and complex!) and it is my hope this carries over into how I view others.

Immigration activists around the country are taking up the cause of a single mother who invoked the ancient principle of sanctuary and took refuge in a Chicago church rather than submit to deportation to Mexico.

Elvira Arellano, 31, was holed up for a second day Wednesday at Aldalberto United Methodist Church with the support of the congregation’s pastor. With her was her 7-year-old son, Saul, an American citizen…Activists said her desire to come here to work and provide a better life for herself and her son illustrates why they believe the nation’s immigration laws must be changed.

“She is a leader in the movement who has made the issue of family unity the key issue in the question of the undocumented,” her pastor said. “That is the most sympathetic issue there is.”

Others are not so sure.

“I don’t think the immigration debate should be focused on a woman who … disregards an order,” said Carlina Tapia-Ruano, a Chicago lawyer and president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Tapia-Ruano said she worries that Arellano’s story will be used by extremists on both sides of the issue and cited as an example “of how illegals come here to be in flagrant disregard of our laws, and I don’t think that’s true.” Read More.

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