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Old 11-12-2004, 04:43 PM   #1
99 44/100% pure
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Baltimore metro area
Posts: 324
Churches as legal sanctuaries -- I need info!

In the wake of Israeli Special Forces' rousting of Mordechai Vanunu from the grounds of St. George's Anglican Cathedral in Jerusalem, I got into a heated discussion with a friend about the doctrine of churches providing sanctuary to alleged criminals.

My friend, who is Episcopalian, shares Anglican Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal's outrage that 'sacred' space would be so indelicately violated in the effort to arrest Vanunu. Vanunu, a Christian convert, has been living in the cathedral's guest house since his release from prison in April after serving an 18-year sentence for disclosing Israel's nuclear secrets. Vanunu claims that he is now being persecuted by the Israeli government for his religious conversion.

Can anyone direct me to some clear, concise information regarding the history and application of the doctrine of churches (and other religious entities) providing sanctuary to alleged criminals, both in the US and international community? I understand there has been some controversy around this issue in Canada, where some would-be immigrants who have been denied political asylum have sought refuge in churches.

My gut tells me that this doctrine is neither as widespread, nor as broad in application as my friend believes. Otherwise, wouldn't bank robbers and murderers just hole up in churches and refuse to come out?
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