Derek Burnett writes frequently about national affairs, travel, and adventure. His work has appeared in Reader’s Digest, Discovery Channel Magazine, and numerous other publications, and has taken him from Brazil to Burma, Jamaica to Jammu.

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Is a Global Sanctuary Movement an Answer to the Refugee Crisis?

by Derek Burnett 05-06-2018

Illustrations by J.D. Reeves

In today’s model, sanctuary functions as a safety valve, a moral check on the state’s pursuit of its own narrow economic and political interests. An increasingly secular state is therefore a driving force behind the practice of sanctuary. Yet the Catch-22 is that a too-secular society will no longer honor the sanctity of the house of worship. Effective church sanctuary, then, rests on a knife’s edge: It requires a Goldilocks zone in which a society is just inhumane enough to ignore the suffering of vulnerable strangers, rendering sanctuary necessary, but just humane enough to refrain from violating the sanctity of its faith communities, rendering sanctuary ineffectual. Not every country in the world exists in that Goldilocks zone.