Frank Pastore on Elvira Arellano and the Christian Response
September 3, 2007 2 Comments
I’ve done 3 posts (here, here, and here) on the ‘plight’ of Elvira Arellano and based on what I’ve read regarding her case, it probably does not help undocumented immigrants if this woman is held up as their poster child. I am an immigrant myself, though not undocumented, and hope that she is not held up as some sort of poster child for myself or people like me.
This issue of immigration reform is one which churches throughout the nation struggle with. Why? Because at what point does a church willfully harbor people who are breaking the law? At what point does a church obey the law of the land (as commanded in Scripture) and encourage its members (illegal or not) to follow it?
The fact that many (I would argue, the vast majority) of them are hard-working and want nothing but a better life for their families has nothing to do with the fact that they are breaking the law. Of course, some (like Arellano) take it further and obtain, at flea markets, false Social Security numbers or worse take someone else’s. Thus not only do they violate immigration laws but a host of other laws.
Frank Pastore wrote a column, Christians, Elvira Arellano, and Sanctuary”, in which he addresses this issue from the Christian point of view. In the column, Pastore speaks of 2 callers to his radio show who appeal to emotion rather than reason when addressing this issue. The church who harbored Arellano for almost a year, Pastore claims is in error for doing so and had a flawed view on “sanctuary.”
The operative point here is that for churches to be truly biblical in their approach to sanctuary, the illegals must be awaiting a deportation trial—if a court has already issued a deportation order, then the church needs to comply with the ruling of that court and “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.”
Personally I couldn’t agree more with the above statement and I don’t see any other way for a church to handle a member who is awaiting a deportation hearing. Encouraging him to not show up or hiding him is irreconcilable with what Paul speaks of in Romans 13.
As usual, Pastore’s column offers good analysis devoid of rampant emotionalism.