On June 14, 2018, Jeff Sessions, Attorney General of the United States, quoted Romans 13:1, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities,” to justify his inhuman policy of tearing children away from their parents as they flee poverty and violence for a new life here.
The current administration’s policy seems to be this: Don’t come here. If you do, we’ll separate you from your children.
I had an immediate flashback to when I visited the Auschwitz concentration camp and learned the first words the Nazis told Jewish parents when they got off the train: “We’re going to take your children and give them a shower.” They forgot to mention the shower would happen in a deadly gas chamber.
But what really irritated me was the audacity of this professed Christian to use the Bible to justify breaking up families and punishing people who are so destitute that they’ll sacrifice all to escape. (I wonder if he has heard of Ellis Island?) He further darkened the new black eye he gave Jesus by ignoring the preceding words in Romans 12:10–16: “Love one another with mutual affection. . . . Extend hospitality to strangers. . . . Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.” How did he miss that?
Jeff Sessions has certainly shown his true beliefs, which go like this: This country is primarily for white folks like me and we don’t need any more of you dark-skinned, poor folks. If you try to enter this country, I’ll take your children. That’s how “Christian” I am!
To substantiate his sick prejudice, he quotes Romans. Yikes! Quoting Paul, who was executed by the Romans because he didn’t obey the “governing authorities,” is adding insult to injury. Paul is not my Christ. Jesus is and Jesus said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matthew 25:35). I wonder if the attorney general knows that Jesus said that.
Sessions is a shining example of what I see happening over and over in fundamentalism. People take their deep-seated prejudices and hide behind Jesus’s skirts or the Bible to justify their hatreds and insecurities.
That’s how slavery stayed in business so long. Slave owners (including clergymen) used the Bible to justify their inhumane treatment of their fellow human beings, who happened to be a different color. They quoted Ephesians 6:5: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling.” I don’t care what the Bible or Paul said—slavery is wrong!
The never-ending war against the LGBTQUI community is fueled by fundamentalists, who constantly quote and misquote scripture written two thousand to three thousand years ago to substantiate their and hatred of those who are different from them.
The women’s movement is so threatening to fundamentalist men that they’ll fight with every breath to keep women pregnant and in the kitchen. To back up their fears, they love to quote passages written thousands of years ago when most women were bought and sold as property, such as the one from 1 Peter 3:1 that says, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands.”
I’m hoping that maybe Jeff Sessions will spend some time reading the chapter about love in 1 Corinthians 13. I then fantasize that Jeff will return to work energized by the power of agape. Maybe he will even see how cruel his thinking was.
What was your reaction to this administration’s immigration policy of slamming the door in people’s faces, terrorizing their children, and screaming “Go away”?
Image courtesy of Patrick Feller (CC BY 2.0)