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The El Paso massacre couldn’t stop this Texas church from becoming a sanctuary for immigrants

Less than four days after the anti-immigrant El Paso Texas massacre, a church in a very conservative Texas town made themselves a sanctuary for immigrants. And they are ready for any repercussions that may come.

Charlie Lindahl, a fellow activist, called me a few weeks ago as I prepped for Politics Done Right. He said he had a secret he wanted me to hold on to until it was all official. The Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Church in Woodlands, Texas, where he was a member, voted by a huge majority to become a sanctuary church.

Last Thursday Charlie called again. “We are ready to go public,” he said. “I want you to cover it.” It was exciting this church in an area so conservative had the courage to do it.

Then there was Saturday. Will the church get cold feet? The expected outcome of a racist president had become real. A domestic white national terrorist drove hundreds of miles from the Dallas area to murder Latinxs indiscriminately in El Paso, Texas. The murderer even had a manifesto that pretty much had immigrants in his crosshairs. How many more of these sane haters are out there seeking targets?

About an hour before the event Charlie called. I was already getting ready to head out to the church. “Are you coming?” he asked. “We have special parking for the media. Just get out there and they will direct you. We will have security there as well.”

I must be honest. I had two thoughts. The first was whether the church was going to go through with it. But the second thought concerned me. Even before Charlie mentioned security, I was concerned. The church had sent out a press release. Would it trigger a copycat? That is what terrorism does; It establishes a fear that ordinarily would not be there. It tends to change behavior, its ulterior motive. It did not matter. I was going anyway.

I got there about half an hour early. There was hardly anyone there. One had to be concerned about whether people were fearful to show up. But lo and behold, it went from a trickle to a pouring in of people. And the local TV stations and a Houston major newspaper along with other outlets showed up.

This was a dream-come-through for Greg McDonell, the sanctuary project coordinator. His brainchild materialized with the help of countless members of this small progressive church embedded in a very conservative community. This is Rep. Kevin Brady's territory.

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