Did you know that in 1966 the Congress of the United States passed Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA)? They did and it passed with support from both political parties. Did you know, the IRRIRA requires local governments to cooperate with federal officials in apprehending illegal immigrants?
Sanctuary involves religious congregations declaring themselves official “sanctuaries”. That means they are committed to providing support to refugees. Refugees are persons who flee to a foreign country or in order to escape danger or persecution. Various religious denominations historically have participated. Movement members act in defiance of federal laws they oppose and they uphold laws, usually religious laws, they believe their government violates.
Some religious history
The historical roots of the movement derive from the “right of sanctuary” in medieval law as well as Jewish and Christian social teachings. In the Old Testament of the Bible and the Torah sanctuary is rooted in the Law given at Mt. Sinai. Exodus 21:12-14 goes as follows: “Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death. However, if he does not do it intentionally, but God lets it happen, he is to flee to a place I will designate. But if a man schemes and kills another man deliberately, take him away from my altar and put him to death.”
This passage shows several things. Murder was a capital offense. The Bible made no distinction between premeditated murder and accidental death or manslaughter and negligent homicide. One who kills accidentally can flee to sanctuary. One who commits premeditated murder cannot. Sanctuary is offered to facilitate getting a hearing for one who has killed without intent so that the avenger does not carry out an incorrect punishment.
The point being that sanctuary followed the law of the place and the people at the time. Sanctuary was never intended to provide a place to avoid the law. It was intended as a place to avoid administration of penalty of the law before the law took its proper course. It was to avoid retaliation when it was not called for. American cities and churches who offer sanctuary for illegal immigrants cannot claim to be following the bible. If they do not follow the bible and they do not honor the rule of law then what are they doing?
The latest iteration of Sanctuary movement was a religious organization. It has morphed into a political campaign. It began in the early 1980’s. The original idea of this iteration of sanctuary was to provide safe haven for Central American refugees fleeing civil conflict. The movement developed in response to federal immigration policies that made obtaining asylum difficult for Central Americans. There was political violence in Central America then, there is none now.
The rule of law
The rule of law is the authority and influence of law in society. It is a constraint on individual and institutional behavior. The rule of law is the principle whereby all members of a society, including those in government, are considered equally subject to publicly disclosed legal codes and processes. The phrase refers to a political situation, not to a specific legal rule.
The principle, if not the phrase itself, was recognized by ancient thinkers such as Aristotle who wrote something to the effect that: It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens. The Scottish theologian Samuel Rutherford employed it in arguing against the divine right of kings. John Locke wrote that freedom in society means being subject only to laws made by a legislature that apply to everyone…
The rule of law implies that every person is subject to the law, including people who are lawmakers, law enforcement officials, and judges. It stands in contrast to anarchy where there is no law and to tyranny where the rulers are held above the law. Because of neglect or ignorance of the law the rule of law is more apt to decay if a government has insufficient corrective mechanisms for restoring it.
The New Hampshire Legislature has refused to take up this issue of the day. In a complete lack of courage to deal with an issue of the day it killed the House version of the bill and it rewrote and then tabled the Senate version of the bill. That is what passes as leadership in the Democrat controlled legislature. There is no respect for the rule of law; not Gods law, not the law of man.
“The Immigration Crisis” James K. Hoffmeir, Crossway Books
“Lex, Rex” Samuel Rutherford
“Rule of Law” Thomas Bingham
“A World History of Ancient Political Thought” Black, Anthony, Oxford University Press
“Second Treatise of Civil Government” John Locke
“Sanctuary, Sovereignty, Sacrifice: Canadian Sanctuary Incidents, Power and Law” Randy K Lippert
“The Sanctuaries and Sanctuary Seekers of Medieval England” Charles Cox
“Crime and Public Order in England in the Later Middle Ages” John Bellamy
“Right of asylum” Richard Kaeuper Dictionary of the Middle Ages
“Bast” Jean Calmard
Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996