Christians Who Support Sanctuary Policies: Where’s Your Compassion?

Quoting a story from Buzzfeed that fretted how immigration enforcement would continue regardless of sanctuary city policies, Christian activist Shane Claiborne recently tweeted,

“Can they put our whole city in jail? Philadelphia will stand by our immigrant families. #CityofLove”

While I understand that there are many who support sanctuary city policies, what makes Claiborne’s stance so concerning is that he does it in the name of Jesus.

There’s no question that Jesus spent His time on earth with those on the fringe of society.  But I have significant Biblical concerns in using that reality as a basis to advocate for civil disobedience against the nation’s laws for immigration and refugee resettlement.  Remember, sanctuary city policies are not designed to help the immigrant or outsider. They are specifically written to shield those who have broken the laws pertaining to immigration.

Simply put, I can’t find a time in Scripture when Jesus’ outreach to the lost involved shielding them from the worldly consequences of their conduct.

For instance, Jesus offered the thief on the cross paradise, but He didn’t excuse him from the earthly punishment he was enduring for his crimes.  Even the woman caught in adultery that the teachers of the law were ready to stone didn’t cause Jesus to excuse her of her wrongdoing.

He simply warned the Pharisees away from committing their act of vigilantism:

  • The Law of Moses required there to be two witnesses for such an accusation. There were no witnesses.
  • The Law demanded that the man who committed the crime with her to be punished as well. There was no man being accused.
  • And perhaps most significantly, the laws necessitated that only the civil authorities authorize death sentences.

Jesus recognized what was happening on that dusty road was not a civil trial, but a trumped-up charge meant to entrap Him.  In response, what Jesus offered was not an escape from justice for the woman, but an appeal to it.

So then, I would ask Shane Claiborne, precisely what example of Jesus are we following if we work to allow those who have broken the law to avoid their punishment?  We can show compassion and grace while still respecting the law, can we not?

If we Christians believe that the nation’s immigration/deportation laws are too rigid or strict, we can certainly work to change them.  But to harbor, protect, and shield those who broke (and are breaking) those laws in the name of compassion borders on an abuse of compassion, and runs very close to violating our Biblical command to respect the governing authorities.

Further, regarding compassion, I tweeted back to Shane Claiborne a question he unsurprisingly ignored:

The influx of illegal immigration disproportionately harms inner city poor. Is your position loving to them, Shane?

Social Justice Warriors like Claiborne pretend that they are combating unfairness, inequity, and poverty, when often times the policies they support result in exactly the opposite for the communities they claim to love.

Peter Krsanow is a member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. He recently explained to Tucker Carlson the devastating truth of what Claiborne’s cause has done to the poor in America’s cities:

“When you have an oversupply of labor, the price of labor is going to be depressed,” Kirsanow said, adding that there’s a striking oversupply of low-skill labor.


He noted that this doesn’t affect just black males, but all low-skilled American workers.


He said that black males, however, are disproportionately concentrated in low-skill labor markets, which is also where the bulk of legal and illegal immigrants over the past 20 years are concentrated.


“We’re talking about, at the very low end, hundreds of thousands of blacks losing jobs, probably if you do the math, up to 1.2 million blacks losing jobs,” Kirsanow said. “This has significant, obviously, impacts on the black community.”

Shane Claiborne and others who join his cause need to explain how, in the name of Jesus, they can be supportive of such inequity and injustice.

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Peter Heck

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