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VIDEO: Speaker at a Christian University tells students to hide illegal aliens in churches because 'ICE will not raid a church'


'Our churches ... could be sanctuary sanctuaries'

Image Source: Campus Reform YouTube

A guest speaker at Andrews University, a Seventh-day Adventist school in Michigan, urged students to harbor illegal aliens in their churches because U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement does not usually raid churches, Campus Reform reported.

"People are being hurt right now across this country," James Standish, the event's speaker, said. "Many of them are our brothers and they're our sisters. And we stand by with our churches empty when they could be sanctuary sanctuaries."

"This is my challenge to you: Why not open up your church as a sanctuary?" Standish pleaded with the students.

Standish was speaking at a semi-required "University Forum" event that is part of the co-curricular requirements for students at the school. While the specific event was not mandatory, it was part of a series of events that count towards fulfilling the requirement.

Speaker at Christian University tells students to use churches to hide illegals

Does ICE really not raid churches?

During the speech, Standish claimed that a church entity asked him to research ICE policy after some of their members were deported, and in his research, he discovered that that "except in unusual circumstances, ICE will not raid a church."

The policy he is referring to was a created in 2011 under the Obama administration — and still remains under the Trump administration — that classifies certain areas, such as schools and churches, as "sensitive locations." In these locations, barring exigent circumstances, ICE will not conduct "arrests, interviews, searches, or surveillance."

While there is no law that stops ICE from arresting illegal aliens who take refuge in churches, the policy memo outlines that ICE officials will generally not raid churches.

"And it's actually a policy drawn from the Bible, believe it or not!" Standish exclaimed. "You see, in the Bible there was something called sanctuary cities."

Does the Bible really advocate sanctuary churches?

Standish is arguing that the "cities of refuge" described in Joshua 20 are part of what informs ICE's policy. This claim is at best a gigantic reach and at worst a blatant and purposeful mischaracterization of the Bible.

Here are the portions from Joshua 20 that Standish is referring to:

"Appoint the cities of refuge ... that the manslayer who strikes any person without intent or unknowingly may flee there. They shall be for you a refuge from the avenger of blood ... and if the avenger of blood pursues him, they shall not give up the manslayer into his hand ... and he shall remain in that city until he has stood before the congregation for judgment." (Josh. 20:2-6, ESV)

Even a cursory reading seems to indicate that the cities of refuge were not for criminals to forever enjoy immunity from punishment for their crimes, but were for those accused of manslaughter to wait in safety from avengers until he could stand a proper trial.

Harboring illegals just like the Underground Railroad and hiding Jews in Nazi Germany

At the close of his speech, Standish then urged the students by drawing ethical parallels between America's current immigration policy and oppressive, immoral government policies from history.

"Many of us look back on history and we say that if we were alive during the time of the slaves that we would be part of the Underground Railroad. Really? Would you?" he asked. "I mean you could lose your house. You could go to jail. Are you serious? Would you do that? John Byington, the first [Seventh-day Adventist] General Conference president did it. But would you?"

"People say 'Hey, but during the Nazis, I would have been [rescuing Jews]," he continued. "And risk getting pulled out by the gestapo, sent to a concentration camp yourself? Would you do it?"

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