Film often provides for us not only fresh perspective on things, it can conjure up quotes that live on. Remember, “You do know how to whistle, don’t you? You just put your lips together and blow.”

Then there’s the Claude Rains about there being “no gambling in Morocco.” Of course, that film (Casablanca) also gave us the memorable song, “As Time Goes By.” The song title gave rise to a wonderful, and long-lived British TV show with Dame Judi Dench. Her title, then, leads the mind to wander, in show biz terms, to a film where it was appropriate to call women “dames” rather than ladies. Remember it? Starred Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons.

Flash back to Charles Laughton and the 1939 film, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” What is the line that stands out now and has gained new relevance? He yells out “Sanctuary, sanctuary.” Tradition held that, once someone was safely in a church, the authorities couldn’t touch them until they came out. We see offers of sanctuary now as we’ve not seen them before.

In the United States, there is a movement to deport persons and families who came into the country “illegally.” This action has led to factions calling for immediate removal to parts unknown as long as it’s not the United States. Churches have responded with the time-honored traditional refuge of sanctuary to aid these individuals in their time of crisis.

The hunchback’s words come again in a context, seemingly, millennia away and yet still as relevant when someone is in need of aid. How will our authorities react and will churches become involved in legal battles? No one knows until the test comes about and when, and if it comes, who will stand on which side?

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Dr. Farrell is a psychologist, WebMD consultant, SAG/AFTRA member, author, interested in film, writing & health. Website:

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