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For the past several days, news reports have been circulating throughout the mainstream media regarding the decision by several churches to provide "sanctuary" to illegal aliens. For example, a Fox News report dated May 9, 2007 said, "Two churches intend to give sanctuary to illegal immigrants to protect them from deportation and pressure lawmakers to provide a chance at U.S. citizenship.
"Beginning Wednesday afternoon, a Catholic church in downtown Los Angeles and a Lutheran church in North Hollywood each intend to shelter one person as part of the 'New Sanctuary Movement.'
"A handful of churches in other U.S. cities plan similar efforts in the months ahead to spotlight the plight of illegal immigrants."
The report continued by saying, "In New York, religious leaders gathered at the Roman Catholic Church of St. Paul the Apostle and said their promise of sanctuary could include financial assistance, legal help and physical protection, if necessary.
"'For us, sanctuary is an act of radical hospitality, the welcoming of the stranger who is like ourselves, the stranger in our midst, our neighbors, our friends,' said Rabbi Michael Feinberg of the Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition."
However, as a veteran pastor with more than thirty years of experience who oversees a vibrant and growing congregation of faithful and dedicated believers, I can state unequivocally that our church will definitely not be participating in the "New Sanctuary Movement."
Furthermore, it is more than troubling to learn that some of my Christian brethren seem to be so undiscerning as to be willing to facilitate lawlessness and even potential terrorism by assisting those who have no respect for our nation's laws or national borders.
Make no mistake about it: illegal aliens are no more our "neighbors" and "friends" than are other criminals. They knowingly and deliberately violate our nation's immigration laws and then have the audacity to demand that we accept and even protect them? I don't think so.
And lest someone accuse me of being uncompassionate, think again. You should know that my church congregation is composed of several immigrants from many nationalities and ethnicities. And they all have one thing in common: they were willing to immigrate to America lawfully. They played by the rules. They stood in line. And they have found nothing but love and friendship from those of us privileged to be born in this great country.
Critics should also know that my Chief of Staff, my right-hand man, is an immigrant from Zimbabwe, Africa. So, I don't want to hear how uncaring and bigoted I am because I believe that people should play by the rules and be honest with their fellow man.
Besides, our Lord has already settled the question of how to define illegal aliens. In John 10:1, Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber."
Yes, I realize that Jesus was referring to the fact that He alone is the door to heaven; however, the analogy is well taken. There is a right way and a wrong way to enter into anything, whether it is a sheepfold, a house, or a country. And anyone who attempts to circumvent the door and break through another way is a crook, plain and simple.
Should Christians share the Gospel with everyone they can, including illegal aliens? Of course, we should. However, we should also insist that people obey the law and do what is right. Remember, God is not only a God of love, He is also a God of law. And, historically, the United States of America has always been first and foremost a nation of laws, not men.
Furthermore, since when is accommodating and facilitating acts of criminality a mark of compassion? It's not.
During more than three decades of ministry, I have had occasion to counsel those who have broken the law and then experienced repentance and forgiveness in Christ. Does my compassion mean that I would not encourage them to do the honest thing and surrender to authorities and face their crimes? Of course not. That is exactly what I encouraged, and sometimes even helped, them to do.
Beyond that, I've always found that a person who is truly repentant and honest is more than willing to make things right with the law and to take his punishment like a man. Honest people don't demand or expect shortcuts and exemptions.
Of course, not only is our national character and culture at risk, so is our security and survival. The current invasion of illegal aliens threatens not only our way of life, but also our very safety.
As has already been reported, illegal aliens murder an average of twelve Americans every day. This translates to more Americans being killed by illegal aliens each year than have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan to date.
Yet, the threat of terrorism is even more problematic than individual acts of violence. With millions of illegal aliens pouring over our borders from scores of nations that are hostile to the United States, we risk the threat of major acts of terrorism.
I'm afraid that the policies of President George W. Bush and Senators Ted Kennedy, John McCain, et al., and now those of misguided churchmen, only serve to fuel the evil machinations of those who seek our harm.
Instead of encouraging criminal activity (illegal immigration), Christians and churches should be promoting truth and adherence to law.