Five Theses on the Political-Theological Foundation of Church Asylum

Five Theses on the Political-Theological Foundation of Church Asylum
by Benedikt Kern

Human rights did not just fall from the sky, but had to and must be fought for by those who are not granted them…This includes the unwritten human right to global freedom of movement. Solidarity is directed primarily at those who are enslaved and/or who, in the struggle for liberation, are working to overcome unjust social conditions.

The right to freedom of movement can be justified on the basis of universal dignity and an egalitarian view of humanity. Paul makes it clear that there is no longer “Jew, nor Greek, neither servant nor free, neither man nor woman” (Gal 3:28), but that there are common rights and autonomy for all. To grant or deny access to a territory according to nationality thus contradicts the biblical understanding of man as part of a “common house” (Pope Francis).thesis: Every deportation is an encroachment on the legitimate autonomy of people, especially those who are threatened with particular hardships in certain places. For this reason, church asylum is a necessary human rights practice that takes its own exodutical tradition seriously and already anticipates in an exemplary way that people can, for good reasons, independently determine their whereabouts, since this would also affect their humanity.

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2 Responses to Five Theses on the Political-Theological Foundation of Church Asylum

  1. Marc says:

    Video: Faith and Politics, Sept 24, 2020, 1 hr ZOOM discussion

    Faith and Politics: Justice, Mercy, and the State

    Meet Shadi Hamid, Ross Douthat, Jacqueline Rivers, John Huleatt and Peter Mommsen.
    Questions of justice should matter deeply to all people of faith. But what is the relationship between divine law and human laws, and what role, if any, does the state have in these questions? Join our online panel discussion with Shadi Hamid, senior fellow at The Brookings Institution; New York Times columnist Ross Douthat; Jacqueline Rivers, executive director of the Seymour Institute; and John Huleatt, general counsel of the Bruderhof. Plough’s editor-in-chief, Peter Mommsen, will moderate. We’ll be discussing Plough Quarterly’s Spring issue, Faith and Politics, an online and print foray into the bigger questions we need to ask ourselves in a contentious election year.

  2. Marc says:

    Dear Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler,
    Give your support to Sarah or Dan! Public spirit will surge with the new ideas and SROs in response to the multiplying crisis of the homeless! Both Sarah and Dan Ryan could provide the new spirit and dynamic leadership needed by Portland. The poor and the homeless seem to be ignored and made invisible as if the propertied were the only ones with enforceable rights. After many luxury hotels and condominiums were built in the last 12 months in Portland, there should be villages of SROs as a balance and sign of solidarity. Portland seems to be following the SF/condo model as if there were no alternatives.

    The Vienna Housing Fund buys potential development property and prevents speculation. For that reason, Vienna rents are much lower than Munich rents. Portland could be a leader and showcase inexpensive subsidized rents. Instead, there is socialism for the rich and merciless competition for everyone else. Affordable hnousing should be a human right and a priority. Instead, housing has become a speculative pot of gold and the state has become a self-service store for the super-rich.

    Cities and states should have been condemning the cuts of billions to HUD, Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, WIC, the Legal Corporation and Pell grants. American taxpayers spent $107 billion more on the police than on public housing. When will be correct our priorities and avert exploding inequality and plutocracy? Now the Post Office and voting by mail are under attack by the foul-mouthed, fear-mongering, scapegoating and namecalling chaos president. The welfare state is the human future and isn’t a Bolshevic project! Concentration of wealth has made us a shallow and insular people afraid of the new and closed to intercultural learning. The films “Wag the Dog,” “The Russians are coming!,” and “Super Amigo” reveal our paradoxical and scandalous situation: rich in things and poor in soul.

    “When the state trusts citizens, citizens trust the state,” said Justin Trudeau. When the US abandons its fear, hate and horror and becomes more human and more social, Canada hopefully will open its border. There is so much we could learn from O Canada in social evolution, universal health care, computerized light-rail and community centers with their multiplier and cushioning effects. In 2014, Vancouver built a Refugee Welcoming Center, a three-building structure with 200 beds and language and cultural classes.
    Marc Batko
    Portland OR

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