I celebrate the ELCA’s sanctuary decision. I’m convinced sanctuary means offering shelter, protection, and dignity to migrants and refugees. Sanctuary is what I found in the Lutheran church. Haven't you?
People risk the dangerous journey of migration because of crises of violence, corruption, and need in their home countries. Walls, mass deportation, dehumanization, family separation, denying asylum, and deprivation won’t stop migration, because they don’t address root causes.
Nothing better symbolizes resistance to the flow of God’s love than a wall. Our nation is stuck in either-or, all-or-nothing thinking, ignoring scripture’s calls for hospitality, feeding our fears and angers, while suffering people suffer more and die and a broken system stays broken.
Meanwhile, the ELCA works in Central American countries with young people deported from the U.S., providing psychological care, job training, and seed money. Roughly 90% remain in their home countries and don’t try to return to the U.S. May this kind of loving imagination take hold among all U.S. Christians and our civic leaders.
Becoming a sanctuary denomination is an invitation (never a demand) to refocus on reality and morality and to save our souls by giving away our lives.
Saint Paul Lutheran Church
715 South Third Street
Clinton, IA 52732
(at the foot of the south bridge)