A Few Thoughts on Jeff Sessions, the Bible, and Immigration

A Few Thoughts on Jeff Sessions, the Bible, and Immigration June 15, 2018
Courtesy of Pixabay

I’m sure you’ve all heard the latest news about what is going on at our southern border. If you haven’t, please allow me to inform you: At this very moment, our government is ripping immigrant children away from their parents, in part, as a means to “deter mothers from migrating to the United States with their children.” In other words, children are being used as leverage against their parents—roughly 1,358 of them since last October, in fact.

This is all a part of the Trump Administration’s zero tolerance policy on illegal immigration. And while treating foreigners fairly shittily is really nothing new for my country, what’s shocking is that it is self-proclaimed Christians leading the way in the brutality.

Case in point: Attorney General, and all around ignoramus, Jeff Sessions. Speaking on immigration in Fort Wayne, Indiana, he recently stated:

“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.”

Okay, so yes, Paul did say that. But let’s hold our horses for a moment. First off, don’t you find it just a tad bit dubious for a government official to take these words and then attempt to make the case that the State should have free reign to do whatever the hell they want, all in the name of law and order? I do, especially given the fact that the guy who wrote Romans was later executed by the State. Second, and this really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise—maybe it is for Sessions—but Paul doesn’t stop at verse 1. If we read on to verses 8–10, we would discover the following:

“Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet’; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.”

Now, I’m guessing Sessions and those like him would argue that this command is about loving one’s neighbor, and not illegal immigrants. Fair enough. But when Jesus gave the same command—to love one’s neighbor—when asked who the neighbor is, the Lord responded with the story of the Good Samaritan.

What’s striking about this story is that the Samaritans were not viewed too highly in Jesus’ culture (that’s putting it mildly). They were the bad-guys, if you will. They were reprobates. Scumbags. Assholes. Thieves. Criminals. Animals. And whatever other pejoratives you want to come up with. And yet, the Samaritan is the one who we are to emulate. Not the priest who passes by the dying man on the side of the road. Not the Levite who does the same. The Samaritan is the merciful one, and per Jesus, we are to be likewise.

This ethic of other-centered love is not necessarily unique to Jesus, however. The Torah is chock-full of it:

  • Exodus 22:21—You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
  • Leviticus 19:33—When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien.
  • Deuteronomy 10:19—You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
  • Deuteronomy 27:19—Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien, the orphan, and the widow of justice. All the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
  • Deuteronomy 24:17—You shall not deprive a resident alien or an orphan of justice; you shall not take a widow’s garment in pledge.

Now, I understand that Levitical law, as Hebrew scholar Mark Stone rightly pointed out in my previous post, only concerns those inhabiting the holy land. But my point is to meet these Christians who think that it is “biblical” to withhold mercy and love from the foreigner on their own terms. In other words, if we want to be biblical about things, if we want to apply the Bible to our modern times, then we have to take the statements above to heart. After all, we Americans were once upon a time aliens in this land; we Americans were once upon a time oppressed people; we Americans were once upon a time strangers; we Americans were once deprived, orphaned, widows of justice. I guess we’ve forgotten that.

At the end of the day, if Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration are going to enact laws that are unjust, then that is what they are going to do. I hope we as citizens of the United States of America will do our best to eliminate such unjust laws. And a good place to start, in my opinion, is to point out that it is beyond absurd to use the Bible in order to justify their abhorrent, loveless, and, dare I say, anti-Christ behavior. If more Christians could understand that, then I think we’d get somewhere. At minimum, maybe we’d at least cease our support for such nonsense.

May we remember how Christ loved us first, and how Christ commanded that we love one another as ourselves. This includes our neighbor, but it also includes the immigrant, the foreigner, the expat, the widow, the poor, the oppressed . . . everyone.

Shalom.

 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • WisdomLover

    Just to be clear, the policy is to take children away from individuals claiming to be their parents, but for whom it is not possible to determine that that is true. In other words from people who, for all we know, might be human traffickers. The 1300+ cases where this has occurred since October accounts for less than 1% of illegal border crossing apprehensions in that time period.

    And I’d bet that if you think through what the actual alternatives are you’ll find that the law was written the way it was for a reason (long before Trump was President, btw), and it wasn’t because hypocritical American Christians hate children other than their own.

  • WisdomLover

    “Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration are going to enact laws that are unjust”

    BTW…in our system, Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump do not have the power to enact laws. Trump can veto a bill before it becomes law. Sessions can’t even do that. They have only the power to enforce laws. The laws that they are enforcing were on the books, enacted by Congress, long before Trump was President.

  • Yeah, I suppose I should have said “enforce” rather than “enact.” I’ll edit tomorrow, thanks.

  • Like I said, our country has been acting shittily for a long time. I say that in the piece.

  • WisdomLover

    I’m not sure that what is being done here is shitty.

    Remember, in the cases under discussion, we don’t know that the person caught trying to cross the border illegally actually is the parent of the child being ‘ripped’ from their arms.

    What are you going to do? Just let the child and the person claiming to be his parent in?

    That will never do. You’ll end up with a lot more self-proclaimed ‘parents’ trying to cross the border illegally with some child, any child, if you do that. And it doesn’t deal with the concern that prompted the law in the first place…That you don’t know whether the person trying to get in really is the parent of that child.

    If you actually knew that the person is the parent of the child, then the right thing to do would be clear…send both parent and child back and tell them to enter legally. But now, for all we know, we’ve stumbled upon some other crime far worse than illegal border crossing.

  • We could end the monstrous Drug War, eh?

  • pen44

    Most of these women and their children are seeking asylum. You have to be IN THIS COUNTRY in order to ask for asylum. Therefore, these women, and their children, have been dealt with ILLEGALLY by not allowing them to ask for asylum. These children have been unlawfully kidnapped, and the women have been unjustly jailed.

    By the way, Sessions, all Repugs and the trumpophiles should not be referring to themselves as Christians. People who love and follow Jesus the Christ’s teachings, words and example are Christian…people who ignore Jesus’ words, actions, life, death, resurrection and commands are christians who will face Jesus on judgement day…along with we who have read, studied and sincerely tried to follow Him faithfully. And He will ask, did you feed Me when I was hungry, did you give Me water when I was thirsty, did you give Me comfortable shelter when I had no place to go, did you clothe Me when I was without proper clothing, did you visit Me when I was in jail, did you take care of all of My children with the love that I have always given to them…when you give love and care, food, drink, shelter, clothing, visits and kindness to the least of people, you gave it to Me. He also said that anyone who mistreats, hurts or causes the death of children would be better off hanging a milestone around their necks and jumping into the deepest part of the ocean. That’s Jesus’ rules, and He really does care about your laws, and your actions. He was quite clear about the man-made lawmakers of His time, the Pharisees, and had harsh words for them, sons of hell, brood of vipers, disgusting tombs with corruption inside, blind guides, were just a few, there are many more. He warned about using His Name without being part of Him, or knowing Him, following God’s Laws, which are the Ten Commandments, as Jesus said, given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. WisdomLover, you and Sessions, and all of the other repug neochristians are going have to face Him and His Father eventually…..you might want to read up on Jesus’ Words in the four Gospels.

  • WisdomLover

    They are crossing the border illegally and the adult is claiming to be the parent of the child…though we have no idea whether that is true or whether the child has been kidnapped by the person claiming to be its parent. The only thing that it is really reasonable to do in that case is to hold them separately until we sort out the truth. But hey, just keep up the Trump-rage and the works righteousness. I’m sure God loves that.

  • WisdomLover

    ??

  • pen44

    You know, Wis, I just don’t have the patience nor the crayons to deal with your unChristian obeisance to Don Trumpoleone….so I’ll just block your one note song!!

  • WisdomLover

    Well Reasoned.

  • The War on Drugs is a major contributor to the problem at the border.

  • WisdomLover

    As is human trafficking…more to the point when discussing a law that separates adults from children that they claim, but cannot prove, are their children.

  • As if we are doing this to deter human trafficking…

  • WisdomLover

    That’s exactly what the law was written to prevent.

  • Otro Tiara

    She is a cat lady, or else a faggot – you expected rationality?

  • Tim

    Blocked him/ her awhile ago for similar reasons, but not having to do with the Pumpkinfuhrer.