What's known as the modern sanctuary movement has been around for decades. Mostly it was focused on providing a safe haven for undocumented immigrants from Central and South America. Churches in places like Tucson, Ariz., were at the forefront of the movement.
But there's been an odd twist to all of this recently -- odd, ironic and sad.
A mosque in Cincinnati offered to be a sanctuary for refugees or others in need, but now has felt moved to withdraw part of that offer because, this Atlantic story reports, people in need of sanctuary said they wouldn't feel safe in the mosque. Why? Well, after it made its sanctuary announcement it received more than 40 threats to burn down the mosque and the mosque's leader got death threats.
In the debate about national security and immigration, there is lots of room for different opinions about how best to proceed. There should be, in fact, a vigorous national conversation about all of this.
What there should be no room for, however, is violence and the threat of violence.
Imam Ismaeel Chartier, the leader of the Cincinnati congregation that had offered its space for sanctuary, was both appalled and troubled by some of the response:
Leaders from the mosque, he said, met with local Latino community members: “They let us know that it was a beautiful stance on our part, but they just wouldn’t feel safe inside the mosque. They’d never stay with us, because we’re just as marginalized as undocumented people are.”
Imagine that. Well, you don't have to imagine it. It's a fact -- and not one of those alternative facts that have received so much attention in the last few weeks.
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WHAT SHOULD BE TROUBLING ABOUT TRUMP
Religion scholar Mark Silk, never shy about describing what he sees, says religious conservatives should be standing against much of what they're seeing from the new president. Whether they will find their moral compass and use their prophetic voices, however, is so far unclear.