Skip to comments.The Evolving Concept of Sanctuary: From Yesterday's Altars to Today's Refugees
Posted on 09/14/2019 7:15:44 PM PDT by jfd1776
Long, long ago in the early middle ages in fact the English monarchy established the concept of sanctuary in English law.
In those days, if an accused criminal was being chased down by the police, he could run into the first church he could find, grab hold of one corner of the altar, and claim sanctuary, gaining protection from the law for an extensive period of time.
Other countries have had variations on the concept, but this English method is the best known. For over a thousand years, up until the English Civil War in fact, this was the law in Great Britain: police in hot pursuit had to stand down if their quarry made it to a church altar.
The idea has had its permutations in the modern era, and today, there are provisions in international law to grant international refugees sanctuary, when they find it necessary to flee their homelands for another country due to some form of persecution.
International law has left out the involvement of churches, but has left in the concept that the refugee claiming sanctuary must stop and apply for it in the first country the refugee enters after fleeing his own. For the most part, this means that a persons logical sanctuary will usually be the neighboring country, a place where he will most likely be able to fit in, culturally at least.
A Realistic View
The political challenges of todays sanctuary issue have primarily arisen from a collective loss of historical context. If people do not know the historical roots of a practice, how can we expect them to understand the philosophical underpinnings that the practice holds today?
We see Venezuelans, Hondurans and Nicaraguans, trudging all through Central America, being bused or driven through the long, dangerous country of Mexico, then arriving in the United States, after having passed through three, four, five, or even six other countries first, then claiming sanctuary upon their arrival in Texas, Arizona or California.
Does this make sense?
Any sense at all?
To illustrate the absurdity, let us consider what this means in the context of the original, limited, sensible concept of sanctuary:
An accused criminal is being chased, and he runs into a church, but immediately realizes it is a Baptist church, and he doesnt like Baptist theology, so he keeps on running, right down the aisle and through the other door.
The very next building he encounters is a Presbyterian Church. Unfortunately, he doesnt like their sermons, so he runs right down that aisle as well, zips past the altar, and heads out the door of that church too.
The next building over is a synagogue, but he was raised to be an anti-semite, so he keeps running through there too. He zips right through the synagogue out the back door.
The next building is a Lutheran Church, Wisconsin Synod. He runs down that center aisle too, aiming for the altar, but then remembers having once been told that Wisconsin Synod Lutherans dont approve of dancing or bingo, so he thinks better of it, and runs across the altar, through the back door, and right out into the parking lot
The next building is a Catholic Church. Built originally as a gorgeous Gothic structure, it was gutted a few years ago by a socialist pastor and parish council, who replaced all the pews with alternating futons and beanbags, added non-liturgical dances and other performances to their services, and replaced all the hymns with seemingly endless hippie guitar riffs. And best of all, this church has bingo in the basement, and our accused criminal happened to arrive during the big potluck luncheon following a funeral.
The accused criminal likes this one, so he helps himself to a couple of generous plates of food from the mourners luncheon, sits down at a bingo table, and claims sanctuary here at last.
Now, honestly, does this make sense?
The idea of sanctuary is sound, and it has two millennia worth of examples of both its formal rules and its successful use. A case can certainly be made that decent neighbors should make a reasonable effort to allow in some reasonable number of refugees from war-torn or otherwise nightmarish conditions, for humanitarian purposes.
But there have to be rules around it, too. There are seven billion people on earth, six billion of whom would likely rather live in the United States than anywhere else. We HAVE to enforce the rules, or we shall be overrun, and the golden goose will be cooked in no time flat.
These rules include - among other things that the refugee must come from a country where he really did suffer persecution, that the refugee be honest about all the data on his application, and that he claim his sanctuary in the very first country he arrives in.
The American left opposes such rules, as their goal is to overrun the American electorate with foreign-born voters who have no understanding of our political system, and are therefore far more likely to fall for their welfare-state pitches and interest group politics. For that goal, an unlimited stream of immigrants from a variety of countries is surely the best route.
The current administration thwarts the left's plans, by insisting that these rules be followed. Its a simple enough matter; if you flee a country, stop in the first country you land in.
Refugees cannot just pass through nations and country-shop for the one with the most generous banquet and the most fun games.
The Supreme Court took a while to address the issue, but now they have. And they have done it the right way the only way they could: SCOTUS sided with the current administration, finally recognizing that the USA is right to enforce the rules. Refugees must claim sanctuary in the first country; they cannot trek through country after country, waiting to arrive in the one that offers them the most treats.
It is all as clear as crystal: once again, the Trump Administration is the one obeying and enforcing international law. We have to admit, yet again, that the Trump Administration is indeed obeying and enforcing the law far more rigorously than the current US House majority would ever dream of.
There's just nothing the modern American left hates as much as seeing reasonable laws enforced correctly.
Copyright 2019 John F Di Leo
John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based international transportation trainer, writer and actor.
He will next be seen as Herr Winkelkopf in the Kirk Players production of the Oscar Wilde classic, Lord Arthur Savilles Crime, the weekend of October 4 in Mundelein, Illinois.
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