Christian leaders deplore Biblical defence of immigration policy

Christian leaders deplore US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s use of the Bible to justify separating illegal immigrant parents from their children when they arrive at the US border.

Sessions is quoting St Paul’s letter to the Romans, Chapter 13, saying it is a “clear and wise command …to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders endorses Sessions’ view, saying: “It is very biblical to enforce the law.”

Christian leaders of various denominations have other views on this.

“While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety,” Cardinal Daniel Nicholas DiNardo says.

DiNardo, who is the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, says: ”Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral.”

Rev. Franklin Graham, son of the late Rev. Billy Graham and a supporter of President Donald Trump, says he cannot support Sessions’ actions in ripping families apart, which he finds “disgraceful.”

Matthew Schlimm, a professor of the Old Testament at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Iowa, says Sessions has taken the passage from Romans 13 completely out of context.

“Immediately beforehand and afterwards, Paul urges readers to love others, including their enemies. Anyone with half an ounce of moral conviction knows that tearing children away from parents has nothing to do with love.”

He says the same passage Sessions cited has been used to justify slavery and Nazism to tear children away from their parents.

“Sessions follows the pattern of history,” he says.

“What’s chilling is to think that we again live in such morally deranged times.”

Sessions, who is a Methodist, does not have his church’s support in his views.

“Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children,” says Bishop Kenneth Carter, president of the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church.

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