The American Civil Liberties Union is making a valid point in complaining about US government tactics in its case against the church sanctuary movement in Arizona. The ACLU is contending that government agents' infiltration of churches violates basic constitutional principles. Appealing to a number of judicial precedents, the ACLU is asking a federal court to suppress evidence obtained by government informers without any judicial approval.
One does not have to agree with either the objectives or the tactics of the sanctuary movement to see the ACLU's point in this matter. The immigration movement from Central America into the United States is an overwhelming problem. The sanctuary movement, perhaps well-intentioned in its humanitarian emphasis, has oversimplified the problem and made little contribution to a long-run solution.
But the answer does not lie in government agents or informers infiltrating churches, especially without any judicially-approved court order.
Government infiltration of churches strikes a clear blow at the First Amendment provision for freedom of religion. The ACLU is correct in condemning these un-American tactics in response to the sanctuary movement.