Immigration Enforcement: Can I Get an Amen?

The CBS news program 60 Minutes recently ran a segment titled “Sanctuary,” discussing the move by many U.S. churches to offer aliens facing deportation protection from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The piece purports to document a “silent rebellion” against immigration law where churches are “daring ICE agents to step through their stained glass doors.”

As part of the story, 60 Minutes host Scott Pelley interviews Reverend Robin Hynicka, pastor of Philadelphia’s Arch Street United Methodist Church. The good reverend very piously tells Pelley that his baptismal covenant obliges him “to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they show themselves.” The “evil” he has chosen to resist: the enforcement of constitutionally valid laws by the freest government in the world.

This is a typical bit of selective theology. It is an old axiom that religious doctrine bereft of context can serve as a pretext for just about anything. While Christians are clearly obligated to fight evil and injustice, they’re not entitled to disobey the law whenever they subjectively deem something to be unjust. In fact, Romans 13:1-2 clearly states:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God. So the person who resists such authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will incur judgment.

Of course, it is beyond the purview of the American courts to determine whether an individual is in compliance with God’s law. And that is exactly why Reverend Hynicka, is the worst kind of hypocrite. While he hides behind the cloak of church/state separation, he’s leading his flock in open insurrection against the government of the United States.

It’s shocking enough to hear a churchman tell the citizens of the United States that they have fallen afoul of God’s law because they want their borders secure and their streets free of alien criminals. It is even more shocking to see the mainstream media gleefully cheering them on. Keep in mind that this is the same media that catches a crippling case of the vapors any time a public high school sports coach leads a pre-game prayer or a photographer refuses to take pictures at a same-sex wedding. Yet, they’re ok with selective obedience to any law that applies to illegal aliens.

The icing on the cake, however, is the fact that two of the major institutions in American civic life can be so completely deaf to moral discourse in the United States. One gets the distinct impression that both Mr. Pelley and Rev. Hynicka missed all of the debates leading up to the last presidential election. Donald Trump may not have been the candidate sent by the angels, but his vision of a just immigration system as one that is fair to Americans, as well as aliens, clearly struck a chord with Christian voters. One can safely assume that those who self-identify as “Christian voters,” were most concerned with casting a vote consistent with their conscience, rather than loyalty to a particular party. Clearly, they see an immigration policy based on the rule-of-law as a necessary precursor to restoring ethical principles to American politics.

Maybe the leaders of the silent rebellion should stop punching holes in the barrier that separates church and state and go back to saving souls. The Anglo-American common law hasn’t recognized sanctuary as a valid legal concept in at least five hundred years. But illegal aliens get more than enough justice in the courts of the United States.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar
    Stewinarizona on

    I would really like to see this clergyman take in an illegal immigrant violent felon who had just murdered the clergyman’s entire family, put his daughter and wife out for prostitution and got his son killed with heroine/fentanyl.
    How do these morons not understand the difference between violent illegal immigrant and someone who obeys the laws and doesn’t need sanctuary.
    We allowed AND EXPECTED non-violent aliens to come to the USA – Yes, We opened the door and they come.,
    We should not persecute those we let in who do not do violent acts against family and society.
    We SHOULD get the violent scum sucking criminals OUT of the USA and OUT of our places of worship.

    • avatar

      Actually it appears your boyfriend must be an illegal that is a criminal like that n probably that happened to you n you like that to wish that to other people …how of a lowlife are you to wish such a tragedy?…..

      I can tell you know nothing about priests that you go to Amateur churches that define your amateur below average life style. .FYI…. priests have no wives not daughter s idiot……n the ones they are probably defending r families if innocent people you eat you restaurant good etc. …

      The real criminal s don’t need sanctuary cities you moron!!!!

  2. avatar

    Churches are tax exempt and are to stay out of politics.If they want o play politics they should loose their tax exemption.Its an I.R.S. rule>>>

    • avatar

      Douay-Rheims Bible Proverbs 22 Pass not beyond the ancient bounds which thy fathers have set
      And in some Bible translations this verse is written: : Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your ancestors.

      God authored nations and boundaries for his Holy purposes . Vice practiced and accepted by any religious organization or nation will never lead to any solution or peace or freedom .

      The Christian Church from its founder is in the business of saving souls from hell & preaching & teaching the Holy Gospel to a fallen world .

      When those authorities in those Churches leave their first Love , their founder Hosea 8:7 “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”

    • avatar
      Cecilia gast on

      I’m with you, big time. Moreover, all participants should be arrested for harboring fugitives.

  3. avatar

    Since they are violating Federal Law, also part of the Constitution regarding immigration, they should have their Tax Exempt status removed. Clearly for cause.

  4. avatar

    Swe show me where I blame you said I blame??? Hahahaha!!! Just a piece of human history wisdom…….the closest you see of an ally is Canada, EU, half if Israel against Netayamu…….n you me n the People…..the rest are for themselves

  5. avatar

    Churches are another group that are very good at spending other people’s money. They bring in so called refugees, pay their expenses for a couple months, and them dump them on the taxpayers with years of welfare dependence. Know why so many Somalis went to Maine? No, not because they love cold weather, but at the time Maine had very generous welfare benefits. When the state cut back, it was, naturally, declared to be racism.

    I saw a report a couple days ago about a huge measles outbreak in Minnesota. Not once did the reporter mention that a lot of it is happening because the Somalis there are not vaccinating their children. When the Democrats were picking their party chairman a couple months ago, they elected Keith Ellison as deputy chair. The spin on him was that he would appeal to the mid-western grass roots American middle class. The media totally ignored that he is a Muslim who represents a large number of Somalis in his Minneapolis district and was a long time adherent of Nation of Islam fanatic Louis Farrakhan.

    Notice how the “sensitive information” supposedly revealed by Trump has actually been revealed by the NY Times or Washington Post. So much for sensitive. The media has been in one breathless moment to the next since his election. In his first couple weeks in office, there were reports every day about a “Russian spy ship” off our east coast, as if he were allowing something never done before. Never mind that has been the case since the 50s. 12 miles out is international waters. Joe McCarthy had nothing on these people.

    • avatar

      Very weak comparison……….forget about Obama the repubs are also at fault…you are an irresponsible voter…..

        • avatar

          Leland you should go n live in Russia where your feedback belongs as a way if life n identifies you as a loyal Russian citizen…..

          I will teach you a few things….in this country the president does not do things on his)hr own if so Congress can overturn it….but not in Russia Putin, your idol rules…..

          So if Congress that represents The People dies not vote against means for got t!!!!?

          • avatar

            Peter, Stop Blaming ISIS and Immigration Terror

            On America or Trump Hatred MSM Lies.

            Join the world on Trump’s fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism; this fight hosted by a Muslim nation, Saudi Arabia. Its our only hope against more Manchesters happening.

            BTW, ISIS beheads and hates Russians too…

          • avatar

            Retirement is not fitting you well……:)

            Swe show me where I blame you said I blame??? Hahahaha!!! Just a piece of human history wisdom…….the closest you see of an ally is Canada, EU, half if Israel against Netayamu…….n you me n the People…..the rest are for themselves