Sanctuary Cities for the Undocumented, Yes or No

person reading the bible in a church

A friend posted a poll question on one of his social media pages. It asked, “Would you support Frederick becoming a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants?”

To this, one woman responded, “Most definitely. Anything less isn’t Christ-like. Period.”

As you can imagine, this was met with a number of replies that offered to correct her non-biblical view. What follows below is a blended synopsis of the group comments, of which some (but certainly not all) of the words were mine:

Wrong. Compassion for aliens is certainly Christ-like (see Leviticus 19:33-34), but abiding by the law is also Christ-like (see Romans 13:1-2). The government is hopefully enacting laws that provide for loving justice. If not, Christians in the USA can work to have the laws changed. It’s a political tightrope for Christ-followers, to be sure. However, there are non-government solutions, as well. Thousands of churches are stepping up to be places of shelter for refugees, while acknowledging that Christ would never break God-sanctioned law or tell anyone to break any God-sanctioned law. Only a fool or an enemy of Christ would dare say otherwise.

Some have mentioned that there should not be sanctuary for people who commit violent crimes, but that there should be sanctuary offered for minor offenses, such as traffic violations. Yet, let us not forget that even in a minor traffic incident there are consequences, and we all pay them. Did we have a choice not to break the speed limit? Yes, we did, but we were willing to pay the consequences. But this is a bait and switch argument anyway. Does it have anything to do with being someplace you’re not supposed to be, basically trespassing? No.

The laws which illegal immigrants are breaking relate to a different choice that they made. The consequence for that choice is deportation. They did have an alternative choice. Maybe they didn’t know about the alternative, in which case it would be ignorance, or maybe they just didn’t want to wait. Either way, they need to pay the consequences. I don’t blame them for wanting to make a better life for themselves here in the United States. I applaud them for their dreams of freedom, and I hope they come legally as that’s better for us and it’s better for them. There are a multitude of reasons why.

What gets me is why people are trying to confuse the issue for political purposes. Illegal is illegal. “Immigrant” does not equal “illegal”. And when people try to claim it’s what Jesus would do they base that on their own feelings, not scriptural doctrine. The Old Testament says to be kind to the foreigner, so we are to welcome them to come here and become citizens, when they obey the same laws everyone else is expected to obey.

Lastly, too often the argument erroneously conflates undocumented immigrants with refugees. Refugees would be documented. Some consider whether or not to let in particular refugees, and what constitutes a refugee, and what safety measures are needed when taking them in.

These are legitimate questions, and must be sufficiently thought through. But Scripture always supports obeying the law of the land. Peacefully. Satan may tell us otherwise, but to him we must not listen.

Post Script

I was also going to blog today about a video posted online by Bill Nye, but the video has now been removed. Agree or disagree with Bill Nye “the science guy”, there is no denying the headline to his post is misleading. That headline reads: “‘Stop Telling Women What to Do with Their Bodies’: Bill Nye Debunks Anti-Abortion Logic with Science”. Within the video Mr. Nye passionately states his position by making mere assertions which are based upon his presupposed philosophical (and political) world view. Disappointing. I was hoping to hear at least an attempt at a scientific argument from “the science guy”, especially since the word “science” appears in the title. Sadly, I’ve grown used to these sorts of inconsistencies from the supporters of baby killing. Here’s the now-deactivated link, if you care to see for yourself that the video was removed.

Thanks for reading along,

Pastor Troy Skinner