Saturday, December 01, 2007

Leave it to the Christianists: How Sanctuary Became A Dirty Word

I came across a blog debate on the Washington Post blog site ( and it poses a very interesting issue: how those who claim to be the most Christian among political presidential candidates seek to be the most heartless and ruthless in their treatment of illegal aliens. Do not misunderstand me. I am not supporting or advocating for illegal immigration - I merely oppose alleged Christians acting harshly and cruelly towards often hapless illegal immigrants who end up being depicted as something less than fully human. In my view, this is but one example of how Christianity is being perverted into something horrible by the wingnut Christianists. Here are some telling quotes:

Does anyone find it ironic many ostensibly religious candidates are vying with one another to prove how meanly they can treat illegal immigrants?

The concept of offering sanctuary to criminals, or to people accused of a crime, is an ancient one and exists in nearly every culture. In biblical Israel, it was forbidden to kill a “manslayer”—or accused manslayer—within certain cities of refuge. Throughout the Middle Ages, seeking sanctuary in a church was a tactic more commonly used by people whose crimes consisted of being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time—for example, behind the constantly shifting battle lines of endless wars between city-states and political factions. The “crime” of being an illegal immigrant seems to me to resemble the crime of being caught behind battle lines more than it does conventional criminality. Most of these people are guilty of nothing more than being poor and desperate for work. Why is it now socially and politically acceptable to talk about people who come here to work—illegally, to be sure—as if they were murderers, rapists and thieves?

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