Even though regressives borrowed the concept from the Bible, today’s sanctuary cities are not anything like God’s sanctuary cities. In fact, they are the exact opposite.
God’s “sanctuary cities” were designed to enforce the law. Democrats’ “sanctuary cities” are designed to evade the law.
The biblical version of sanctuary cities was called “cities of refuge.” They consisted of six cities in the Land of Promise, three on either side of the Jordan (Numbers 35:11-28), and were designed to hold over for trial a man who had killed somebody, even accidentally.
Under the system of justice instituted by God for the new nation of Israel, if a man died at the hands of another, the man who had killed his neighbor was safe from immediate retribution at the hands of the avenger of blood (the oldest male relative) as long as he fled to a city of refuge. He would be kept safe in protective custody as long as he stayed there until his trial date arrived. But when his trial date arrived, the city of refuge was required to turn him over to the legal system for trial and punishment.
The purpose of the trial was to determine whether he was guilty of an accidental homicide (manslaughter), or murder. If he was found guilty of murder, he was immediately executed. If it was determined that the death was accidental and no negligence was involved, he was returned to the city of refuge and could eventually return home as a free and innocent man.
But he was not free to return home until the current high priest died. This would serve as a deterrent to those inclined to game the system by making a murder look like an accident, would serve as a strong incentive to prevent accidents in the workplace, and would be a sober reminder of the value God places on human life.
If the offender left the city of refuge before his trial, he forfeited all his legal protection from the avenger of blood (the oldest male relative), and was fair game if the avenger found him running loose. In sum, the city of refuge policy made sure that justice was done and the spirit of vengeance was checked.
The cities of refuge had a solemn responsibility to protect the accused until trial but had the solemn responsibility to hand the accused over for trial when the authorities showed up. To fail in this latter duty would create legal jeopardy for the city.
A biblical city of refuge was thus the utter and complete opposite of the Democrat version, which is nothing more than a pseudo-compassionate system of returning convicted criminals to the streets where they can rape, murder, and drive drunk again.
President Trump won a major victory in court this week when the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Trump administration can quite legitimately withhold grant money from sanctuary jurisdictions that refuse to comply with federal law by honoring detainer requests and handing over illegal aliens to federal authorities when they show up.
Said the DOJ, “Today’s decision rightfully recognizes the lawful authority of the Attorney General to ensure that Department of Justice grant recipients are not at the same time thwarting federal law enforcement priorities. The grant conditions here require states and cities that receive DOJ grants to share information about criminals in custody. The federal government uses this information to enforce national immigration laws--policies supported by successive Democrat and Republican administrations.”
As James K. Hoffmeier, professor of Old Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, writes, “American cities, counties, and universities that offer sanctuary for foreigners who have broken American laws regulating entry to our country cannot claim to be following the practice described in the Bible. Rather, they are twisting biblical statutes to political ends and subverting federal law.”
Today’s ruling is consistent with Scripture, the rule of law, sound immigration policy, and the safety of American cities. That’s a lot to like.
The author may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org