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Every denomination needs one of these...

Demonstrators Return to UCC Simi Valley

Monday, October 22, 2007

By Pastor Ted Weis, Congregational Church, Little River, KS

Once again, an anti-illegal immigration group stood in front of the United Church of Christ of Simi Valley and called on the church to quit providing sanctuary for an undocumented Mexican.

The second protest took place October 14, reports the Simi Valley Acorn, while the church was conducting its Sunday morning worship service. UCC Simi Valley is part of the New Sanctuary Movement, which provides shelter for illegals and seeks change to government immigration policies.

While the first demonstration on September 16, by a group called "Save Our State," caused quite a scuffle with about 125 protesters and counter-protesters-- and led the city of Simi Valley to bill the church for over $39,000 in overtime police expenses because, in their view, the church provoked protest by publicly announcing its decision to house an illegal-- Sunday's three hour event brought out only 35.

"We anticipated a larger crowd based on website chatter," Simi Valley police captain John McGinty said. "It was generally a very well-behaved crowd."

Apparently though, the protesters are not very well-behaved with their words. After the second protest, the church declared in an official statement:
Those who disagree with us have every right to do so. However, the actions of those who gather outside our church on Sunday mornings are instructive: They choose intimidation over conversation and belligerence over peace. They have also begun to use hate speech towards our members. Clearly, they do not represent the good citizens of Simi Valley, who continue to respect our communities values.
Rev. June Goudey of UCC Simi Valley told the Acorn:
"The situation with the protesters who shout anti-gay slurs at our members and interrupt our worship service remains a concern for us, but we are not intimidated by their tactics," Goudey said.

"The real issue is immigration reform and how we can all work together to address the many iniquities in our current system," she said.
The larger issue in this story is boundary lines-- getting crossed and getting changed.

A church draws a firm "line" around their property, daringly crosses a legal boundary by housing an illegal alien, and advocates proper "boundaries" of justice-- all in the hope of changing "lines" about U.S. immigration. In response, a protest group calls on the church to uphold the "line" of immigration laws. They do so by standing near church property-- invading the "comfort zone" of church goers. They disturb the "line" of peace to the point that police presence is necessary. And then, they cross the boundary line of common decency by disrupting Sunday worship services and hurling insults.

Changing boundaries and crossing boundary lines? That's the messy result of protesting.
posted by Living the Biblios, Monday, October 22, 2007


The UCC church had "no trespassing" signs
and the protesters did not break in and eat any church donuts.Saveourstate.org did not cross the line. They used the first amendment right to protest a law breaking church.
Liliana was already deported once! But now she is back and the church believes in her "cause". The church should not put itself in the position of losing its tax-exempt status.
And law abiding citizens should not have to skip their church services to stand outside another to protest.
commented by Blogger Alexander, 5:36 PM  
Maybe they should have taken a page from John Thomas's book of martyrdom, and crossed the line so they could get arrested.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 10:45 AM  

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