The Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder will provide living space to illegal aliens as part of its religious duties, an undertaking that has sparked anger among parents whose children attended preschool there.
The operators of the Active Boulder Kids Preschool rented space from the church but said they were no longer going to be able to operate because angered parents started pulling their kids from the facility in response to the church’s sanctuary decision.
The preschool will be forced to shut down at the end of this month after more than half of the 22 children who attended it were withdrawn.
“Because the church made the decision, parents were uncomfortable,” said Tina Davis, director at Active Boulder Kids.
According to Rev. Kelly Dignan, in late October, the congregation voted 90 percent in favor of becoming a sanctuary.
“This is a key part of our religious exercise. It’s a really important religious duty, and we feel like deportations are tearing families apart, creating trauma in our community, and so it’s part of our religious duty to be part of the solution,” Dignan said.
According to the Washington Times, the church will now undergo renovations to install plumbing for a shower and new locks in order to become a sanctuary. While they have not been petitioned for sanctuary by a particular migrant or family, they are “working with a Denver-based group that will recommend someone.”
Dignan was assured that the group “only works with nonviolent migrants,” but she doesn’t know what other criminal charges a person might have faced while still qualifying.
Dignan plans to tell U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) once it has an illegal migrant living there, for transparency. Under current policies, ICE deportation officers do not generally arrest people at churches or schools.
“It put us out of business,” said Active Boulder Kids owner Kristen Argow Heaton.
She said parents had expressed safety concerns to the church ahead of the vote, but that those concerns were not addressed.
“They were not concerned about the person going into sanctuary,” she said. “They were concerned about people against the idea of sanctuary doing something to the location. It was more outside concern.”
Davis said that the parents were very unhappy about the way the decision was made. “It was the way it was handled and how quickly it was thrown against them and not having their voices heard,” Davis said. “A lot of the parents wanted the church to give us more notice than they gave so we could finish off the year.”
Davis said they’re not sure if the preschool will look for another location.
A review of social media revealed that the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder has also shown sympathy for other causes, aside from immigration, including the Black Lives Matter movement. They’ve also hosted an “Islam 101” class.
“It put us out of business,” said Active Boulder Kids owner Kristen Argow Heaton. https://t.co/04xm3xXz5j
— The Denver Post (@denverpost) November 11, 2017
— Alex Burness (@alex_burness) May 2, 2015
Islam 101 class at Universalist Unitarian Church of Boulder. pic.twitter.com/qlU7HQwC5F
— Mosaic Foundation (@mosaicMMF) April 30, 2017