America’s holier than thou Attorney General Jeff Sessions is now using Biblical scripture to justify the Trump administration hardline policies on immigration, especially the abhorrent practice of separating parents from minor children who are then housed by the thousands in a kind of prison.
In one case this week, U.S. Immigration agents ripped a baby from a mother as she was nursing the child and then charged her for interfering with them.
While Christian Evangelicals have long given President Trump a free pass in return for his support of anti-abortion laws, allowing them to speak out on politics and other perks, some religious leaders are finally fighting back about the Trump administration’s inhumane immigration policies.
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Sessions went too far for some religious leaders when in a speech today he cited Saint Paul from the Christian New Testament as proof of the righteousness of what Trump is doing.
Speaking to law enforcement officials in Indiana today, Sessions blamed the immigrants who cross the border illegally for forcing the government to take their children and said criticism by “our church friends” is not “fair or logical.”
“People who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution,” said Sessions. “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders peddled the same line to reporters this afternoon, claiming it is “very biblical to enforce the law.”
@PressSec Quote:: Disgraceful Do not use St. Paul 2 justify unjust laws & acts of cruelty St. Paul was an apostle not of laws (we are not justified by laws, he says in Romans) but an apostle of a person: Jesus Christ. The 1 who said, "I was a stranger & U did not welcome me"
— nemack (@nemack007) June 14, 2018
One of those taking issue with that biblical interpretation is a Catholic Jesuit Priest, James Martin, who called the use of St. Paul to justify Trump policies “disgraceful.”
It is not biblical to treat migrants and refugees like animals.
It is not biblical to take children away from their parents.
It is not biblical to ignore the needs of the stranger.
It is not biblical to enforce unjust laws.
Do not use the Bible to justify sin. https://t.co/oApfyC9wJV
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) June 14, 2018
Father Martin didn’t stop there.
Disgraceful. Do not use St. Paul to justify unjust laws and acts of cruelty. St. Paul was an apostle not of laws (we are not justified by laws, he says in Romans), but an apostle of a person: Jesus Christ. The one who said, "I was a stranger and you did not welcome me" (Mt. 25). https://t.co/jf8PQSzUw2
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) June 14, 2018
And finally, Father Martin is not alone.
Rev. Franklin Graham, who has been an outspoken supporter of President Trump, even making excuses for his coarse behavior and adultery, said this week that the policies which lead to families being “ripped apart” are “disgraceful.”
Even some evangelical groups are finally speaking out.
Several groups saying they represent “tens of thousands of local churches, campus communities, and ministries” on June 1 sent a letter to the White House asking Trump to protect families at the border who are fleeing violence.
“As evangelical Christians guided by the Bible,” they wrote, “one of our core convictions is that God has established the family as the fundamental building block of society. The state should separate families only in the rarest of instances.”
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), who is an evangelical pastor, tweeted as well.
Sometimes I have time to answer constituent phonecalls in my office. This time, I talked to Tim from Purcell about the separation of families at the border. I let him know that I am asking the White House to keep families together as much as we can. pic.twitter.com/8T0FRBJglD
— Sen. James Lankford (@SenatorLankford) June 14, 2018
So far none of this has changed Sessions’ mind or, for that matter, Trump’s, as they claim they are just enforcing the laws.
Sessions went so far today as to ask the church to help send a message to would-be immigrants not to cross the border illegally.
“I am not going to apologize for carrying out our laws,” sniffed Sessions indignantly.
The truth is that the very laws Sessions and Trump say they are enforcing have been interpreted in much more humane ways in the past, when officials saw no need to separate families and when America was open to taking in the repressed and abused from other countries.
What is going on now, in the name of religion and the rule of law, is a horror that the U.S. should not be carrying out.
Putting thousands of children in tent city prisons in the summer sun is not the way to make America great now or ever.