Sanctuary Cities Revisited

The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia or any form of intolerance.

– US Commission on Civil Rights Chairman, Martin Castro

There it is, folks — the official position of an official agency of the federal government, not an LGBT activist group. Actually, it appears that the Commission on Civil Rights is now, in fact, an LGBT activist group.

For those paying attention to the assault on life, faith, and family-really on every natural and traditional institution in the nation — the September 7 report from the US Commission on Civil Rights is not so much shocking as it is another chance for people to wake up to how far our nation has fallen.

The report from the now-ironically-named commission was called “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Non-Discrimination Principles with Religious Liberties.” Honorably, two of the commission’s own members spoke up in protest, their opinions having been excluded from the document itself.

Those who think the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights still hold in this nation need to face reality. The religious freedom “guaranteed” by the First Amendment is now declared subordinate to the wishes of the powerful cabal of sexual revolutionaries that have power in our government.

Our current president barely pretends to care about any limitation on his executive power, defending and executing laws based not on his responsibilities but on his whims. The Supreme Court continues to find emanations and penumbras floating from the nation’s founding document, upon which they pin the most tenuous tethers of the sexual revolution, giving them the effect of law. The only federal body that holds any representatives who share our values has slowly chosen irrelevance as its powers are taken over by an executive branch that is out of control and a Court that is allowed create law out of whole cloth.

Yes, the nation is coming apart, and the middle ground is dropping away. The numbers of those who understand the signs of the times are few, but we still have options, and we still have each other. Most importantly, we still worship the God who made heaven and earth, who when He wills it will deliver us from the collapse we see around us. In the meantime, we fight with everything we have to protect our families and the most innocent and vulnerable.

A few weeks ago we published an article calling for Christians to start thinking about how to secure our rights at local political levels, where we can still hold politicians accountable even as the federal government draws further and further from the rule of law and accountability to its citizens. We received a lot of feedback, for which we are grateful, and the Commission on Civil Rights’ assault on its own mandate may be the occasion to address some of the questions.

The idea for Christian sanctuary cities is based in Catholic moral and social doctrine: In an effort of solidarity and subsidiarity, those Christians of orthodox belief need to do what is necessary to defend their families and communities, to uphold collaborative institutions that help us take care of one another. That is, we have to strive for the common good, in which all participate in freedom and virtue with the good of the whole person and every person in mind.

If we band together we can create sanctuary cities for Christians where local leaders of courage will follow the precedent set by “progressive” cities that ignore federal immigration reporting laws. At this more local level, or even perhaps at the state level if enough politicians have the courage and foresight, families and life may be defended in law and policy.

Some of our respondents seemed to think we were calling for a new city built up from the ground, perhaps in another nation. Truth be told, we have supporters who now contact us from abroad, having expatriated rather than pay taxes to a government that facilitates the death of untold millions of unborn children. We understand this inclination, and we frequently share news of meaningful victories in nations where politicians are still accountable to citizens, and they still hold more or less the same values that naturally lead to human flourishing, beginning with a proper respect for life, faith, and family.

Yet these nations are under assault as well, even though several have fought off their “Roe v. Wade” moment to date. We have to get over the idea that there is a truly “safe” place within this vale of tears. We also cannot let fear be what guides us, or make drastic decisions that are hard to come back from. We still need the virtues of prudence, courage, and strength as much as we need faith, hope, and love.

The point is not to run and hide, but to make a strategic and prudent retreat to places where community and family have the best chance of flourishing. If you have taken your children out of public school and are homeschooling or placed them in private schools or co-ops, you have already begun to think this way. If you have sacrificed professional and financial opportunities to live in a place where you have a strong community, you’re already on your way. I’ve even met some folks living boldly and faithfully in large cities, homeschooling and building community around strong Church parishes.

So many of you have already gotten rid of the television, or at least the daily drip of cable-delivered poison that people used to think they had to swallow. There is already a renewal of the Church and faithful religious orders that are doing very well. See the dioceses where the bishop embraces his mandate as a shepherd of souls and patterns his life after Christ the Good Shepherd. These bishops are truly leaders, and young men want to follow them into the priesthood. Finding dioceses like this makes great sense right now.

But act out of love, not fear. Build and serve community first. With these things in place, you can select those who can become political leaders or creatively build relationships of trust and accountability with your local and state leaders.

Importantly, I think, the growing number of creative Christian legal defense organizations would do well to start thinking about how to draft laws that would support those cities and states who see the need to protect their neighbors from the federal government’s corruption. Indeed, this is happening already with state-level legal battles such as those in North Carolina and Indiana. But we need to be proactive as well in seeing how we can get cities to declare the rights of life, faith and family to be secure. At the same time, we need to be ready to sacrifice as well, to not blink when doing the right thing means losing a major sporting event or businesses that have already been corrupted by radical sexual ideology.

It will be a battle fought in high places and low, and we’re already entering into it. It will not be easy, and there will be no place to hide, nor should we really seek to hide.

You were born into this time, in this place. God knows well where you are, and is asking you today to use your gifts for His glory. Have courage and strength, my friends. Be awake, and don’t be afraid. God wins, and those who remain faithful, who love and support one another for love of Him, will as well. It is a great time to be a Christian!

About Fr. Shenan J. Boquet

Fr. Shenan J. Boquet has served as president of Human Life International since 2011. He was ordained in 1993 as a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana. As HLI’s president, Fr. Boquet collaborates with fellow laborers in the pro-life and family movement in over 80 countries, offering the Sacraments, giving seminars and trainings, appearing on numerous media outlets, and encouraging people of all walks of life to live as faithful advocates for a Culture of Life and Love. He is available for interviews and bookings on behalf of HLI by emailing


  1. Mary Crum on September 18, 2016 at 2:00 PM

    Most of our priests do not talk about this. Why? People need to hear and grasp what is really going on. Too many priest seem politically correct and that is damaging people.

  2. Mary on September 20, 2016 at 7:28 PM

    Thank you for this reality check… I wish more Catholics hear this.

  3. Nan Wagner on October 10, 2016 at 10:55 PM

    Perhaps Pope Francis could pay more attention to what is actually happening in our nation, as opposed to what his advisors are telling him. One major party candidate for POTUS supports this nonsense. The other major party candidate does not.

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