Sessions Cites Bible in Defense of Separating Families

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By the Web Editors 6-14-2018
Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Washington, D.C., on June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday doubled down on his policy of separating parents from their children upon entering the United States seeking asylum — by quoting Scripture. 

"Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. 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," Sessions said. "Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful."

A number of faith leaders have spoken out about the administration's policy, including the Catholic bishops — and President Trump supporter Franklin Graham, who on Tuesday called the policy "disgraceful," while laying the blame on politicians over the past few decades who have let the situation escalate. 

In a 2008 piece in Sojourners on Romans 13 and immigration, Dr. M. Daniel Carroll Rodas pointed out: 

"... to point to Romans 13 and adherence to the law in debates on immigration, without nuance or biblical and historical depth, simply will not do. Christians should search all of the scriptures for guidance in evaluating the development of immigration policy and engaging its challenges. From that foundation, Christians can begin to move forward to the legal issues. In other words, discussion on legality cannot be limited just to questions about complying with current laws, laws that all know are impractical and will soon be replaced. If these laws are problematic-theologically, humanely, and pragmatically-and if all sides agree that reform is needful, the call to submit to the authorities in Romans 13 should be rethought in fresh and constructive ways. Respect for the nation's present laws can be coupled with and informed by the move toward a new set of laws. Ideally, laws should embody the best moral principles of a nation. Clearly, immigration legislation does not measure up."

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