I recently posted this on the New Buddhist and Methodist Church site. Thought I’d also post it here. Would like to know what you think…
The Quakers sent me a neat poster this week with the words, “Sanctuary Everywhere.” Made me think I wanted to hang it in my window.
Our local Unitarian Church recently offered sanctuary to a local woman – from Peru—whose application for residency had been—has been—held up by government inefficiency and narrow-mindedness, and a deportation order had been issued. I really admire the Unitarians. 98% of the congregation voted to open their Church to such use.
I wish that our whole city would become a sanctuary city, but the mood is not here yet, the understanding, the compassion is not here yet. The independence. The bravery.
I love that California has made significant moves to become the first “sanctuary state.” Refusing to cooperate with Immigration Service goons who demand we turn over our brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, cousins, neighbors, friends, to be sent out of the country. No. We’re not going to do, it.
Here’s why: Most of the people in this country now without papers are not at root outlaws—not “illegals.” God – Allah, Brahma, The Universe—does not make illegals.
Rather, these “undocumented” folks are mostly very upright, very ambitious, very brave and responsible ordinary men, women and children who were victims of an American born economic con job, a bait and switch conspiracy. And especially for the “dreamers”—those whose parents were victims of this same economic trap.
Jim Wallis is one of my heroes. He’s the founder and editor of Sojourners Magazine, a Christian publication which time and time again talks truth to power, takes a stand for human rights, human dignity, human compassion. This week he wrote a beautiful piece, which you can find here, about the need to keep fighting for reasonable, humane immigration policies, and to stop the racist and Islamophobic practices now pervasive in so many of our governmental activities.
In the New Buddhist Methodist Church we follow the early Christian practice—and early Buddhist practice and early Muslim practice and contemporary Taoist and artists’ practice– of meeting in our own homes for “prayer and meditation,” (and an occasional stiff drink and/or poker game.) We do strive to treat our homes as “holy places,” as sanctuaries where the highest ideals and practices can be practiced, as well as simple relaxation and artistic pursuits, of course.
Point being, each of our homes is a “holy sanctuary,” and should have legal status to “shelter” refugees and those without official papers from the long arm of the harsh law. So each of our homes can—dare I say should—be a potential “sanctuary home” for those on the run, just as the private homes of compassionate people were “sanctuaries” for the Jews and other “misfits” in Germany in World War 2.
Can we get legal status to make our homes legal sanctuaries? Probably not. But we will apply for such status, based on our contemporary practice of using our homes as our churches, as our temples, our Mosques.
In the meantime, let us of like mind recognize that this may be the time—these are the times—that such bold actions may be necessary. Just planting a few seeds here, as the immigration hubbub grows horns.
Let us make safe peace in our homes, and open them, when necessary, to those who seek such.