Fuller Theological Seminary Students, Faculty, and Alumni Urge Administrators to Make It a Sanctuary Campus


Fuller is an evangelical seminary in Pasadena, California.  (Check out George Marsden’s excellent history of Fuller, Reforming Fundamentalism).  

This letter to the administration was signed by hundreds of students, faculty, and alumni.

Here it is:

21 November 2016
Dr. Mark Labberton, President
Dr. Joel Green, Provost
Dr. Steve Yamaguchi, Dean of Students

Re: Fuller Theological Seminary Sanctuary for Undocumented Immigrants

Dear President Labberton, Provost Green, and Dean Yamaguchi:

We the undersigned students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Fuller Theological Seminary write in response to Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States to express our commitment to the safety and dignity of all students and workers in our seminary community. We request that Fuller begins the necessary process to declare every campus a sanctuary for undocumented students and workers.

We, like Dr. Labberton, are dismayed and disoriented concerning this election. Moreover, we are fearful of the hatred that has spread across the country such as xenophobic chants directed at Latina/o youth, bullying of Muslim and LGBT individuals, incendiary graffiti and vandalism. As you know, our own Pasadena campus and its students of color have not been exempt from the hostility that this election season has provoked.

President Elect Trump proclaimed his intention to deport undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States as well as repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—which provides relief from deportation and work benefits to hundreds of thousands of young people in the United States, including Fuller students and staff. If these policies are enacted they will prove devastating, subjecting students and workers who are integral to our community to punitive measures, and in contrast to Fuller’s stated commitment to “work for the good of human society.”

Jesus Christ commanded us to love God and neighbor—thus as Christians we are called to seek the wellbeing of all people, particularly those who are poor, marginalized, discriminated against, and mistreated. Furthermore, Jesus tells us in Matthew 25 that however we treat the least of these among us, we have treated him.

In light of our Christian convictions and the very real and immediate threats faced by members of our community, we ask the seminary take the following steps immediately, if it has not taken them already:

1. We ask for an unequivocal, public declaration of Fuller’s support for and protection of undocumented students, staff, and their families on our campus.
2. We ask that Fuller guarantee privacy by refusing to release information regarding the immigration status of students and staff.
3. We ask that Fuller refuse to comply with immigration authorities regarding deportations or raids.
4. We ask that Fuller publicly reaffirm the admission and financial aid policies toward undocumented students.
5. We ask Fuller to educate members of the Fuller community, including faculty, staff, and students, on the potential implications of immigration policies on our community.

This past week Dr. Labberton and Dr. Mouw wrote of Fuller Seminary’s non-negotiable commitment to the evangel, the gospel, which calls us to faithfully enact God’s good news of love, justice, and mercy. This is not a time to wait and see how federal policies develop. To the contrary, it is a time to courageously affirm our Christian convictions and proactively work to safeguard the wellbeing of our community. We ask that Fuller act now to fulfill its mission “to put our biblical convictions into practice, even when the price is high.”

Awaiting Your Action,
In Christ The Undersigned:

4 thoughts on “Fuller Theological Seminary Students, Faculty, and Alumni Urge Administrators to Make It a Sanctuary Campus

  1. Tom, it is very presumptuous of you to state that the signers are invoking the name of Jesus Christ in behalf of their politics. The letter is closed with “In Christ”. The closing of a letter very rarely correlates directly to its content. If it did, then we could say that every letter that doesn’t close with “Sincerely” is insincere.

    When thinking about political issues — or any issue, for that matter — it is necessary for the Christian to start with the Bible and then let the chips fall where they may. This year, we saw Exhibit A on how *not* to do this, as support for Trump often started with a party/ideology and then crowbarred (or in many cases, outright denied) the faith to make things fit and/or justify one’s opinion.

    I don’t know the signers’ hearts to be able to tell which approach they are using (though I suspect that it’s the former for many of them). But just as I can’t speak for them, neither can you.


  2. Awaiting Your Action,
    In Christ The Undersigned:

    Invoking the name of Jesus Christ in behalf of one’s politics is objectionable in many eyes.

    I meself have a politics, that although guided by my understanding of the Bible and prayer that my understanding is sincere, does not invoke Christ Himself in support of them.

    I don’t purport to speak for Him, or claim His endorsement. I would never presume to write “In Christ” in support of my politics, John. I’m among your most faithful of readers, and by your own lights, this is totally unacceptable.


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