The poor and unlucky, the weak and the odd

The poor and unlucky, the weak and the odd April 4, 2019

• “A Seattle Church Offered an Undocumented Man Sanctuary. Will That Protect Him?” Massoud Hayoun examines the nebulous custom of “sanctuary” in houses of worship:

While there is no law prohibiting Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from entering churches, the department has historically avoided doing so. …

ICE acknowledges the existence of a policy—not to be confused with a law—discouraging certain types of enforcement at “sensitive locations.” The agency notes, however, that the policy is not binding. “Current ICE guidance directs agency personnel to avoid conducting enforcement activities at sensitive locations unless they have prior approval from an appropriate supervisory official or in the event of exigent circumstances,” the ICE official says. “The locations specified in the guidance include schools, places of worship, and hospitals.”

Father Bryan Pham, a Loyola Marymount University professor of theology and an attorney with the university’s Immigrant Justice Clinic, says that the notion of so-called sensitive locations emerged in the 1980s in memoranda circulated among government officials. Federal policy does not preclude enforcement at those locations—it’s more of a gentleman’s agreement that instructs agents to avoid enforcement there.

“The avoidance is more from a [public relations] perspective. If you’re dragging people out of hospitals or take kids out of school in handcuffs, that would look bad,” Pham says. “Because it’s not written down as a law, more like a guideline, it’s up to the discretion of the local government or also local ICE office as to how they want to enforce it.”

Some thoughts:

  1. Kudos to St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle for getting this right.
  2. The teen-aged agency ICE has never shown itself to be constrained by concerns about “looking bad,” nor about honoring “gentleman’s agreements,” nor about customs or policies — particularly those that predate ICE itself by several decades. And the agency is now being deployed and weaponized by a moral zombie who has never shown himself to be constrained even by black-letter law.
  3. The practice of “sanctuary” is often opposed by the very same people who take every chance to emblazon “In God We Trust” or “Under God” on anything they can. They don’t understand that sanctuary is the ultimate expression of the idea conveyed by those slogans because they don’t understand those slogans. They’re nationalists — “Christian” nationalists, perhaps, but more nationalist than religious in any meaningful way.
  4. This is also why the loudest “pro-family” religious right groups are not on board with St. Mark’s effort to keep a family from being torn apart.
  5. “Sanctuary,” to whatever extent it is recognized, derives part of its moral authority from the idea of sacred spaces. ICE’s PR-focused list of “sensitive locations” doesn’t begin to understand that. I’d love to see more churches and houses of worship offering sanctuary, but I’d also love to see libraries get it on it too.
  6. See earlier: “Sanctuary and ‘civil disobedience’ (part 1)” and “Sanctuary and ‘civil disobedience’ (part 2).”

RIP Nipsey Hussle. I’m not familiar with most of his music (I am an old), but he was someone who genuinely tried to make his world a better place. And I loved his hilarious (NSFW) cameo on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

• Faux-historian David Barton — the biggest promoter of and profiteer from repackaging white nationalism as “Christian” nationalism — has now gone full anti-vaxxer. And for the dumbest, most dishonest of reasons. “No, David Barton, Vaccines Don’t Contain Parts of Aborted Fetuses.”

Say it with me: Satanic baby-killers. 

Elizabeth Nelson writes about the 30th anniversary of Say Anything. I agree with nearly all of this, but also have to note, as always, that Lane Meyer > Lloyd Dobler.

• I admire Francis Collins and generally admire his BioLogos organization’s efforts to combat white evangelical hostility to reality. That’s a Good Thing.

It’s also an extremely well-funded thing thanks to the Templeton Foundation — one of the biggest non-Amway-related sources of funding for a lot of white evangelical institutions. Templeton throws a lot of money in the direction of “discussion” of faith and science. That’s fine, in and of itself, but ever since I learned that Templeton also put a lot of resources into promoting Gamergate, I’ve come to view everything it touches with a newfound suspicion.

• Since I used a Disney Hunchback .gif above, here’s my favorite Alan Mencken/Stephen Schwartz song from that movie, sung here by Dan’yelle Williamson. I’m still a sucker for this one. It’s right on the edge of treacly, but then it takes that Syro-Phoenician-widow turn of throwing it back in God’s face at the end and that still gets me.


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