Sanctuary

The concept of sanctuary dates back thousands of years. Sanctuary was usually in the context of a religious organization providing a place of safe refuge for someone accused of some type of crime. Throughout the years, the legal significance of sanctuary within the walls of a place of worship diminished, however the concept mutated to political jurisdictions where sanctuary is granted against allegedly unjust laws. As you might expect, you can only support sanctuary for a politically correct cause, otherwise you’re just a criminal.   

Sanctuary cities in the United States got their start in San Francisco, California in 1985 with the “City of Refuge” resolution. It was followed by an ordinance prohibiting the use of city resources to assist federal immigration enforcement.  In the eyes of supporters, so-called sanctuary cities are better off when residents are not in fear of being deported. There are now more then 500 such sanctuaries across the United States.

While there is some logic to the argument, the contention that these individuals haven’t broken any laws is completely invalid. Federal immigration laws exist for many reasons. Less the Native American peoples, we are a nation of immigrants and millions upon millions have jumped through the proper legal hoops to join our nation. 

The federal government, who is responsible for the security of the nation and to oversee immigration, is obviously not supportive of these sanctuary cities. Efforts to force them to comply with federal law have been mixed. Threats of withholding federal grants and funds to sanctuary cities have been met with lawsuits and injunctions, which are still winding their way through the courts. The cities and states that support immigration sanctuary call the federal government racists, the laws unjust and say they have the moral obligation to provide refuge. 

But what happens when a jurisdiction within a sanctuary state says they do not agree and decline to be a sanctuary area? You then see the state threatening to withhold state funds and grants, or those involved face prosecution if they do not comply. If this sounds a lot like the same ‘evil tactics’ the federal government is being accused of, you’re right. The only difference is it is the state imposing its will on the cities and counties. In other words, if you support the politically correct cause, you are okay. If you don’t, you’re a criminal. 

Left wing politicians call the supporters of sanctuary cities and counties in non-sanctuary states heroes for doing what is right for their counties and say the state should stay out of the way of these localities. 

Fast forward a bit and you now have gun control zealots in charge of many state legislatures. Their so-called “common sense public safety measures” tend to trample the Second Amendment to death. But, since they do this in the name of public safety, activist/politician judges have ruled these infringements acceptable and provide the legal stamp of approval.  This has given rise to a new type of sanctuary, the Second Amendment Sanctuary City/County/State.

Second Amendment sanctuaries have adopted resolutions prohibiting the use of city, country or state resources to enforce gun control measures that violate the Second Amendment. Much in the same way immigration sanctuary cities are refusing to cooperate with laws they see as unjust, Second Amendment sanctuary areas are refusing to cooperate with laws they see as unjust. And the movement is spreading. At last count, three states and many jurisdictions within 11 more have declared themselves as Second Amendment sanctuaries. 

As you might expect, the reaction within gun control states has not been favorable. Threats of withholding state funds and grants as well as prosecution for not following state laws are leveled at those responsible for declaring themselves a Second Amendment sanctuary. 

Left wing politicians call the supporters of Second Amendment sanctuary cities and counties in non-Second Amendment sanctuary states rogue politicians, sheriffs and police chiefs who are out of touch with their communities and the call for the state to force them from office or prosecute them for disobeying state laws. 

A little hypocritical? You betcha! 

On one hand, you have supporters of immigration sanctuary openly defying federal immigration laws they believe are unjust. They call the efforts of the federal government to deny them federal dollars illegal and immoral. 

At the same time, and most often the very same group of people, say there is no justification for Second Amendment sanctuary against the gun control laws THEY enacted and vow to withhold state dollars, as well as threaten Second Amendment sanctuary supporters with prosecution for defying them. 

To me this boils down to a single key concept: the lack of respect for the rule of law. 

Despite what many believe, this nation is a republic, a nation of laws. If we were a pure democracy, 51% of the population could vote to take away the rights of the minority 49% and it would become the law of the land. But our republic says you have to obey certain basic rights principles – the Constitution – from which our entire system is built. Even if 99% of the population votes to take away the rights of the remaining 1%, the 1% would be protected, as the law must still pass Constitutional muster. 

The Constitution and Bill of Rights aren’t optional documents. You don’t get to pick and choose the rights and laws you like, while ignoring the ones you don’t. You don’t get to implement your own interpretation of other people’s rights just because it better fits your social agenda.  And lastly, we seem to have forgotten the concept that nobody is above the law. If the law applies to one person, it applies to every person. Yea, I’m looking at you US Congress.  

I admire people who see an injustice and want to correct it. But you don’t get to do that by making up your own laws to follow, and then punish those who do the very same thing with the laws you are unjustly imposing on them. 

Perhaps we should choose our representatives a little bit more carefully. 

Bob

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