AuthorClark, Jeanne Ellen.
KeywordsSanctuary movement -- Arizona -- Tucson.
Church and social problems -- Arizona -- Tucson.
Christianity and politics.
AdvisorEwbank, Henry L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThroughout history, religion and politics have approached each other with a wary appreciation of mutual power. One of the latest offspring of this uneasy relationship is the Sanctuary movement. On 24 March 1982, Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona and five churches in Berkeley, California publicly proclaimed their status as sanctuaries for Central American refugees. Three years later there were 214 churches involved and eleven church workers were about to be tried in Tucson. This study is an analysis of the rhetoric used by the movement as it sought to extend its mantle of authority and thus move from the social periphery to the center of society evoking a new public vision of reality. The rhetoric of religious critique of the governmental and social order has been designated "prophetic rhetoric" after the often modeled discourse of the Old Testament prophets. Such discourse can be sectarian and polarizing in tone and impact, but to achieve social transformation the prophet needs some central acceptance. This study examines the potential of prophetic rhetoric within the Sanctuary movement in southern Arizona. It explores how Sanctuary rhetoric draws on the prophetic tradition; how that rhetoric expands or leaves the tradition; and how the rhetoric employs prophetic themes, authority claims, and emotional imagery. The letters and statements of Jim Corbett introduce major Sanctuary themes of the God/Love-Money/Government conflict, prophetic action, civil initiative, and the WWII parallel. The predominantly in-group rhetoric of Southside Presbyterian develops religious justification arguments, while ecumenical Sanctuary services use varied texts, church authority figures, and bonding rituals to build prophetic community across denominational lines. In public debate, religious argument is deemphasized as Sanctuary speakers focus on legal justification and assertion of general social values through image manipulation. Sentencing statements of eight Sanctuary workers vary as some are harshly polarizing, others focus on secular images and legal values, and still others deftly interweave religious and secular justification. Sanctuary speakers use prophetic discourse to critique, without falling into the trap of purely secular political campaigning. A tiny core of dissenters, viewed as extremists, grew into a movement with worldwide support. The justifying message adapted and was at times diluted, but it did not lose prophetic essence.