A few weeks ago, we wrote about the New Sanctuary Movement coming to faith communities around the country. Well, we want to keep the momentum going- so here is an update on the movement- let us know if you are working with a sanctuary movement in your own area- share your stories here!
Evangelicals Launch Immigration Initiative
New Sanctuary Movement Will Protect Some Illegal Immigrants
POSTED: 11:31 am PDT May 8, 2007
UPDATED: 3:01 pm PDT May 8, 2007
WASHINGTON — Days before launching a nationwide advertising campaign, a coalition of evangelicals said that churches across America are preparing to offer sanctuary to illegal immigrants whose deportation would separate them from their families.
Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform’s members include more than 100 evangelical, mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic and social-service groups and activists. It is already running adds in Washington, D.C., political newspapers Roll Call and Congress Daily.
“Enact policies that guarantee humanitarian border enforcement, family-reunification efforts, opportunities for employment and an earned path to citizenship,” the ads say.
The Senate could take up a new version of stalled immigration legislation as early as Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said.
The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who heads the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said some evasngelical churches will protect immigrants facing deportation from what he calls “egregious actions against their welfare and families.”
Adam Taylor, an organizer for the liberal evangelical group Sojourners/Call To Renewal, said the New Sanctuary Movement will show the human cost of enforcing existing immigration laws. He doesn’t believe that participating churches will be doing anything illegal, he said.
Sojourners’ president, the Rev. Jim Wallis, says Christians should follow the Bible’s mandate to treat “the stranger” like a citizen, or like they would treat Jesus himself.
The group’s Web site states:
“We believe that all people, regardless of national origin, are made in the “image of God” and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect (Genesis 1:26-27, 9:6).
“We believe there is an undeniable biblical responsibility to love and show compassion for the stranger among us (Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Leviticus 19:33-34, Matthew 25:31-46).
“We believe that immigrants are our neighbors, both literally and figuratively, and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and show mercy to neighbors in need (Leviticus 19:18, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:25-37).
“We believe in the rule of law, but we also believe that we are to oppose unjust laws and systems that harm and oppress people made in God’s image, especially the vulnerable (Isaiah 10:1-4, Jeremiah 7:1-7, Acts 5:29, Romans 13:1-7).
“Immigration is for us a religious issue,” Wallis said.