Sanctuary Cities: A Religious Perspective

Asking people to follow the law is not at all unchristian

A few mayors around the country have declared their cities will remain sanctuary cities — and have vowed to protect undocumented citizens from deportation under Donald Trump’s new immigration plan.

As I read these headlines, I can’t help but think of the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. Now, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t say that New York City, Chicago, or San Francisco compare to those ill-fated cities in the Bible — mainly because, by the grace of God, there are still some righteous people in those places.

“I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

But I would suggest that the motive of the mayors in these cities is likely one of political correctness, progressive ideology, and the building of a like-minded voter base. After all, a policy like this will gain some love from a few people — namely illegal immigrants, some viewers of mainstream media, and a few misguided teenage protesters.

Some believe that the same kind of attitude of these mayors will begin to shape America, city by city, county by county, state by state, to the progressive ideology of the Left. These politicians are sworn to uphold the laws of the land and cannot be allowed to dismiss the word “illegal” from their narrative. This is a culture of unrighteousness, a culture of ungodliness, and a culture that mocks the very nature of God — and I suspect this culture will continue to breed sin, just like in the days of Genesis 18:21: “I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know” (NIV).

This, of course, was God’s poetic way of speaking to Abraham about His omniscience and His all-embracing knowledge. There is nothing that God does not know, as Psalm 113:4 reminds us: “The LORD is exalted over all the nations, His glory above the heavens.”

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I suspect the “outcry” against these cities will come to the heart of the Lord one day. Unlike the manmade gods of today, which those at the altar of political correctness worship, the Lord of Lords has no limitations or territorial boundaries. Nor will He be bound by the courts of man. He is sovereign over all; He is the most high, and as depravity grows, those who disobey Him will draw His wrath at some point.

I used a line on my daughters as they were growing up — particularly during those teen years. It was by Chuck Colson: “The will of the majority is not necessarily the will of God.” This, of course, is of little significance if God is nothing more than a politically incorrect deity to be mocked and marginalized.

But there is a completely different angle of sanctuary cities. (Put on your sarcasm-sensing hat now.) In the long run, these cities will realize how their policies will have a positive impact on our economy and the budget of the United States. After all, they will now make certain that they receive no federal funding or federal protection — leading to billions of dollars in government savings, right? We should be thankful to these mayors for taking on the extra expense associated with protecting those who are in this country illegally and furthering the call to rein in federal deficits.

But I must admit, I do feel sorry for people living in these cities who actually elected these leftist ideologues who are willing to risk losing federal funding and put their citizens’ safety and economic future in jeopardy. At the same time, however, I can’t help but feel excitement and hope that the odds of their being re-elected and their agendas being embraced in the future are slim. But, then again, they will have the support and the following of many illegal immigrants.

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Obviously, I believe it’s important to continue to see Donald Trump fulfill his campaign promises, which call for violators of the law to be processed and deported. I am a product of legal immigration, and growing up, I heard about “the land of opportunity” in America and learned about the neighborhoods in and around Philadelphia — German, Polish, Jewish, Italian, Irish — which seemed to come together to maintain their traditions and customs. There was unity from community to community and a common desire to succeed and assimilate in America. This is certainly what made America great.

Every day, I talk to legal immigrants who are grateful for the stance Donald Trump is taking and grateful that they had an opportunity, through the legal process, to become American citizens. Many of them called into my “Financial Issues” program to tell me this was the first election in which they could vote as a legal citizen — and they were so excited to be able to participate in the process.

I am a believer, as I’ve indicated before, that the growth model of a Trump administration will require the country to continue to open its arms to legal immigrants, who will play a significant role in our growth moving forward. One hopes our nation will then be in a place where we will not only welcome these workers, but need them to continue to grow our economy. These are the workers who will help leave a better America to the next generation; participate in growing the manufacturing, technology, medical research, and construction industries; and refuel small-business growth.

“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap.”

And I hate to break it to the Left, but these are also the people who will become the future of the conservative movement in America. More importantly, the Left will be unlikely to win them back because a liberal ideology does not align with immigrants who have a love for family, God, and a work ethic that allows them to get ahead in a country that offers great opportunity and freedom.

If President Obama has taught us one thing, it’s that the Left has little concern for the working segment of our population. It is instead consumed with bigger government, more social control, and power — some of the very things legal immigrants are fleeing. When our economy is restored to greatness, prosperity will certainly be shared by legal immigrants searching for opportunity right here in America.

Psalm 113:7-9 says, “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; He seats them with princes, with the princes of His people. He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord!” That is a just and biblical American legal immigration program in the land of opportunity.

Dan Celia is president and CEO of Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries Inc., and host of the nationally syndicated radio and television program “Financial Issues,” heard daily on more than 600 stations across the country and reaching millions of households on the National Religious Broadcasters Network, BizTV, and Dove-TV. 

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