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Sessions cites Bible to defend separating immigrant families

United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaking about immigration at Parkview Field in Fort Wayne, Indiana Thursday, June 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Mike Moore)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible on Thursday in his defense of his border policy that is resulting in hundreds of immigrant children being separated from their parents after they enter the U.S. illegally.

Sessions, speaking in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on immigration, pushed back against criticism he had received over the policy. On Wednesday, a cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church said that separating mothers from their babies was “immoral.”

Sessions said many of the recent criticisms were not “fair or logical and some are contrary to law.”

“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,” he said. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.”

Last month, the attorney general announced a “zero tolerance” policy that any adult who enters the country illegally is criminally prosecuted. U.S. protocol prohibits detaining children with their parents because the children are not charged with a crime and the parents are.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than 650 children were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border during a two-week period in May.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that she hadn’t seen Sessions’ comments but affirmed that the Bible did back up the administration’s actions.

“I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law. That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible,” she said. “It’s a moral policy to follow and enforce the law.”

In an unusually tense series of exchanges in the White House briefing room, Sanders wrongly blamed Democrats for the policy separating children from parents and insisted the administration had made no changes in increasing the use. Until the policy was announced in April, such families were usually referred for civil deportation proceedings, not requiring separation.

“The separation of illegal alien families is the product of the same legal loopholes that Democrats refuse to close, and these laws are the same that have been on the books for over a decade, and the president is simply enforcing them,” she said.

“We don’t want this to be a problem,” she said.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the archbishop of Galveston-Houston, told the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Wednesday that he was joining other religious leaders in opposing the government’s border policy.

“Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma,” DiNardo said in a statement.

(Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report.)

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Colleen Long


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  • Biblical?

    Matthew 25
    When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the
    and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.
    Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you
    into the
    prepared for the
    and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ And they will go away into


  • The family values bible guy is citing his bible values for his anti-family-values values?
    Goshes. It’s enough to make your head spin. It’s almost as if you could use the bible to justify just about anything. I’d like to own a few slaves, preferably all named Ryan Reynolds. But don’t tell my husband. And the hysterically Religious right are always going on about witches, so we ought to be able to burn a few. I’ll even bring Auto-da-Fe Brand Marhsmallows.
    And shrimp!!!! won’t no one think of the barbequed shrimp?!?!?!?!?!?

  • This is truly the definitive statement against which all the other proof-texts must be judged. Jesus could not possibly be clearer, yet the capacity of REAL CHRISTIANS to ignore him on this point is staggering.

  • It is right there in the Bible where Jesus says, “Blessed are those who help the Godly Trump Make America White Again”. I’m sure it is in there somewhere. If it isn’t, maybe Huckabee Sanders can add it in, her having a direct line to the Almighty by way of her father.
    Even Franklin Graham is a little taken aback by this one. Is it possible that he suspects he may have been used by the Godly Trump, just like the Godly Trump used Stormy D?

  • Do fill us all in on “his anti-family-values values”.

    Is obeying the law an “anti-family-values values”?

  • Or, maybe it’s something that the scribes forgot to copy, when they were making the myriad copies….

  • According to that man’s logic, God ordained slavery,and treating women as property, and all of the other misbegotten laws that have been passed.

  • “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,” I tend to stay away from citing scripture, this is powerful as well. as prophetic. in tone

  • Sessions went on to point out that slavery never should have been overthrown, as it has an equal amount of Biblical support. Oddly, he omitted that support for any laws passed during the Obama administration.

  • So explain its meaning in this context.

    Does it mean “do not obey the laws and honor your oath of office”?

  • Hebrews 13:2 ESV / 121 helpful votes
    Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

    Matthew 25:35 ESV / 119 helpful votes
    For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,

    Leviticus 19:33-34 ESV / 98 helpful votes
    “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

    Romans 15:7 ESV / 90 helpful votes
    Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

    1 Peter 4:9 ESV / 55 helpful votes
    Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

    Romans 12:13 ESV / 48 helpful votes
    Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

    Exodus 23:9 ESV / 45 helpful votes
    “You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

    Leviticus 19:34 ESV / 41 helpful votes
    You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

    Leviticus 25:35 ESV / 36 helpful votes
    “If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you.

    Leviticus 24:22 ESV / 36 helpful votes
    You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native, for I am the Lord your God.”

    Hebrews 13:1-2 ESV / 35 helpful votes
    Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

    Exodus 22:21 ESV / 35 helpful votes
    “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

    Deuteronomy 10:19 ESV / 28 helpful votes
    Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

    Matthew 25:40 ESV / 27 helpful votes
    And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

    3 John 1:5 ESV / 25 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
    Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are,


    I could go on but you get the idea.

  • He’s the one citing carefully selected parts of the Bible to justify his actions. I see he skipped right over Leviticus 19:33-34, ““When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

    And it’s interesting how Sessions was happy to overturn God-ordained laws and policies from the Obama era:

    Come on, this hypocrisy is so blatant that even you can’t defend it, Bob.

  • The beauty of the Bible is that it’s so ambiguous you can justify anything with it. /s

  • No, he cited one passage from the New Testament supporting following the lawful government.

    Leviticus 19:33-34 was written in an era and a place and among a people where the religion WAS the government.

    The policies – not laws – from the Obama era consisted of disregarding the law, law which btw was passed by the same Congress that enacted Obamacare.

    Sessions, doing what he swore to do when he took his oath of office, is ending the lawlessness and returning to what the Constitution demands.

    This sad blah-blah about obeying the law IS the hypocrisy.

  • Not to the extent of voiding laws wholesale, which is what the previous Administration did.

    If we’re going to do that, why not let the Executive branch rule by Executive Order like Hitler, and Barack Obama, did?

  • It would give governments carte blanche to use this biblical text to justify their making of any law, just or unjust, and saying that we should obey them no matter what they do just because the bible says so. This is the abuse of authority.

  • Ahh, so he gets to decide which laws are ‘real’ and which ones are safely ignored. Got it. I could’ve sworn somebody around here used to complain about public officials making law when that wasn’t their job description….?

  • Of course, his biblical hypocrisy is entirely separate from the issue that the Attorney General of the United States is offering Bible quotes to justify his actions. Hey, Jeff: “Attorney General” is not a religious office. Your job is to follow the Constitution, not the Bible!

  • Proverbs 6:30,31
    People do not despise a thief if he steals
    to satisfy his hunger when he is starving.
    Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold,
    though it costs him all the wealth of his house.

  • According to Brian, “this hypocrisy is so blatant that even you can’t defend it, Bob.”

    Well you showed him, BobBob!! You can defend hypocrisy no matter how blatant it is. Won’t be long now before we Make America White Again. Go, BobBob!!!

  • He was responding to a religious argument from religious leaders by pointing to the religious book he shares with them. It’s pointless to do that with those that don’t believe that book to be God’s word, but for those that do it’s a valid argument.

  • Ah yes, rulership by Executive Order… I’m surprised even you were foolish enough to offer that argument, Bob.

    Obama signed an average of 34 executive orders per year, the LOWEST average in over a century… while Trump’s average is 54/year so far, and he’s looking to outstrip every president since Truman in that category. So your Hitler comparison works really well… if you’re talking about Trump.

    Of course, I expect you to excuse this by explaining that Trump HAS to make all these orders to overturn everything Obama did (which was supposedly unconstitutional, even though executive orders aren’t). Do you have wheels and an outboard motor on that goalpost?

  • For those not up to speed on their bibles and so don’t know what Sessions is referring to, here’s the relevant passage from Romans 13:

    “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

    “This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

  • It is not the number, it is the nature, of the Executive Orders that is important.

    Again, what law is Sessions disregarding?

  • I see, as always, you remain puzzled.

    Since the extent of your knowledge of the New Testament is being able to spell “New Testament”, that’s understandable.

  • Entering the country undocumented is illegal, taking away children is only policy and could be changed.

  • “the one in authority is God’s servant for your good”
    If Paul is right, then the Roman authorities who persecuted the Christians, not to mention such recent luminaries as Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, were doing God’s work.
    Is it possible that Paul did not write this? For example, is it possible that it was added later by one of Constantine’s lackeys?
    If this passage is the Word of God, then God approved of the Holocaust. Or is God a Holocaust Denier?

  • I think it is important to understand that it is the parents themselves who choose to separate from their children. No country is forcing them to do so.

  • I don’t give a damn what the Bible says; only the Constitution you swore to uphold! What the hell happened to the NO establishment of religion clause.

  • Bet you didn’t have a problem with the baker who refused to obey the anti-discrimination law of Colorado! Cite the law – give me the text.

  • It’s a civil violation not a criminal violation. Absolutely NOTHING justifies this policy

  • BS. Many of those are applying for Asylum, which is LEGAL. There is NO justification for this.

  • Actually I believe Mr. Phillips in Colorado was acting in accord with the laws of Colorado, consistent with his rights under the Constitution.

    We’ll need a fresh look at that to see if a state can void First Amendment rights.

  • Write your senators and congressperson.

    The Executive branch is supposed to execute the laws that exist.

  • This is a direct quote from Sessions from the article:

    “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,”

    The clear meaning of this is that God has ordained the laws of the government. If Mr. Sessions meant to say that God ordained only some laws and not others, he should have said so. But that would lead me to wonder how he would know what was God’s intent.

  • Again, taking away children isn’t a law its just the (immoral) policy they have chosen. This is executive branch policy that could be easily changed, no congress required.

  • The feds have chosen not to enforce the federal ban on marijuana, allowing states to pass laws allowing medical and recreational use.

  • Actually it IS the law.

    The way the lawless Obama Administration dealt with it was that people who violated the law were not jailed.

    They then disappeared and the message went out south of the border that the United States was no longer enforcing its laws, and the increase in illegal immigrants with children increased.

    In other words, failure to enforce the law made the situation worse.

    Yes, Congress is required.

  • The clear meaning of this is that the state exists as part of the natural law for people who live in societies, which means civilized people.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    2238 Those subject to authority should regard those in authority as representatives of God, who has made them stewards of his gifts: “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution. . . . Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God.” Their loyal collaboration includes the right, and at times the duty, to voice their just criticisms of that which seems harmful to the dignity of persons and to the good of the community.

  • ““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,” he said. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.”

    This is a big load of bull (compost) coming from this little whiney-voiced incompetent Southerner that President Trump chose to be his Attorney General. I’ve read the Apostle Paul a lot during the past years, and I find nothing that supports such a horrendous idea and decision. And how did this nin-com-poop Bible reader miss the fact that immigrant children separated from their parents are among the weakest of the weak that St. Paul speaks of?!

    I understand that Sarah Huckabee Sanders has to support the decisions of President Trump’s officials, but–as a Baptist pastor’s daughter, she should know better than to add her voice to support this huge misapplication of the scriptures. She should have just said something to the affect that, “President Trump supports the decision of his Attorney General,” and left it at that

  • Can any one quote the law or the portion of it that says children of undocumented parents MUST be separated from their parents? My research has turned up nil on that issue. What I did find is that former policy was to hold the entire family together in detention centers.

  • Taking away children is NOT the law. Period! There is no law stating children MUST be separated from their parents.

  • Children may not accompany parents to jail or prison.

    That is the law, Period.

    80% of the folks in American jails and prisons, male and female, left behind children that did not accompany them.

  • Apparently you cannot read.

    What Paul is saying is that the deity created mankind as a social animal, and as such governments with authority are required as part of the natural law to govern societies.

    He does not say that “Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, were doing God’s work” or anything like that. In fact, since the purpose of a government is to rule justly and in accordance with natural law, were he given Hitler, Stalin, and Mao to consider, he would conclude they were not doing God’s work.

    Sessions has taken an oath of office to enforce the laws and the Constitution, and to obey both.

    If you do not like the laws, there are actual processes which permit you to advocate for changes in them.

    That, of course, will require more effort than making groundless potshots in internet forums.

  • Regarding those in authority as “representatives of God” harkens back to a time when people (or their rulers, anyway) wanted all to believe that kings were divinely appointed. I don’t consider any of those in authority as being “representatives of God”. I think that the notion that any human being could be a representative of God (except in a very attenuated way) borders on blasphemy. And, yes, I do know that Jesus was fully human, but, I believe that Jesus, whom Christians believe to also be divine, was quite the exception.

  • There is no legal requirement to not prosecute those who enter the country illegally who apply for asylum.

    What the law requires is that asylum seekers go through the normal immigration channels at the border ready to state the reason(s) they seek asylum.

    The moment they bypass that and enter illegally, they can and should be arrested and jailed, which is what the law requires.

  • From the article: “U.S. protocol prohibits detaining children with their parents…” – PROTOCOL, not law.

  • You’re looking for the wrong thing.

    What you want to look for is the disposition of children under Federal law of those who are arrested and jailed.

    EVERY child of a Federal prisoner, in fact EVERY child of a state or local prisoner, does not accompany the parent to incarceration.

  • You’ve got your wires crossed.

    These are NOT individuals in detention – these are individuals who are jailed.

  • All civil authority derives from the deity.

    I believe you’ve mentioned you’re Catholic, and that is the teaching of your church.

    It is also the belief expressed in the Declaration of Independence, which reflects the Natural Law approach to government.

    It really does not matter at all what you consider.

  • Considering that you’ve contributed zero intelligent comment to the discussion, you’re hardly in a position to critique anyone.

    You just keep smilin’, happier than a dead pig in the sunshine, and yappin’.

  • There is no law stating that children of undocumented families MUST be separated. On the contrary, ICE policy states that children, particularly those under 12, cannot be denied basic child rights. Presumably, there is no law that specifically prevents Sessions from doing, but what he is really saying is, “I have the authority under law to make this policy, thus it is law, and the Bible says it must be obeyed.” Cold, cruel, and totally un-Christian.

  • It’s not a matter of whether it’s legal. The pure fact is that these parents choose to be separated from their children. The liberal propaganda screams that this is the fault of everyone and everything but the parents. Thanks to President Trump, we are now being blessed with refinements to regulations that have been much abused.

  • The individuals in question are under arrest for illegal entry.

    They are not individual swho passed through the border, requested asylum through channels, and wound up in temporary detention not charged with anything.

  • You are looking at the wrong thing. This stance is against established policy that ICE has been following for years. Illegal entry and felonies are not the same and are not regarded as the same under law. Detention is for the purpose of providing due process to entrants, including an appeals process.

  • These are not felonies.

    Illegal entrance by itself is a misdemeanor.

    Detention is for those who go through the border entrance, not over a fence.

  • “Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) opened the Berks Family Residential Center in Leesport, Pennsylvania in 2001 to accommodate alien families in ICE custody.* This facility was retro-fitted for families who were placed in administrative immigration proceedings and subject to mandatory detention. The Center is an effective and humane alternative to maintain the family unity as families await the outcome of immigration hearings or return to home countries.” Emphasis mine.

  • As always, Bob, you skew your responses across the grain of the matter. Your contention avoids the question altogether. It is about what is done to those arrested and policy that has been established for those particular situations. You go from making a distinction (misdemeamor vs. felony, denial that detention is used for those going over the fence, avoidance of the moral matter of trauma to innocent children,) to putting it all in one basket, because “it’s being arrested.” PFffft.

  • I guess Jeff Sessions didn’t bother to read those great passages of scripture that speak indirectly, to the issue of separation immigrant children from their parents. Thanks for sharing these with us, Dr. Phlerman.

  • If you read the policies laid out by ICE you’ll see they make no distinction as to who is in custody.

  • Of course the question was never whether a state can void First Amendment rights — it cannot and neither can the federal government. The question is whether the First Amendment entitled him to an exemption from the state’s antidiscrimination statute.

  • The purpose behind such inhumane treatment of illegal alien children is to make it easier to frustrate and deny due process and access to
    legal representation to those families.

    These children are being treated literally worse than criminals, illegal combatants and suspected terrorists because there is no desire for oversight or notionsof due process or human rights in immigration detention.

    Sessions is just demonstrating what kind of immoral scum “Bible believing conservatives” can be. Any atrocious act is OK if excused by proof
    texting the Bible.

  • So, he is not ignoring it. To the contrary:

    The only reason the Act was constitutional was that it was a tax.

    It is no longer.

    So the Justice Department takes the position that the individual mandate is unconstitutional as of January 1 with the repeal of the mandate penalty since the mandate became a simple requirement to buy a service and is therefore not constitutional.

    Do you have different argument?

    As I read the oath of office, Sessions is bound to uphold the Constitution, not every dingbat unconstitutional law the Congress jiggers up in a fit “we have to pass it to read it”.

  • The purpose is quite evil and immoral. To deliberately frustrate efforts at due process for families and access to adequate representation. Enable deportation by keeping the ability to defend one’s self out of reach.

  • So you are blaming children for being put in inhumane positions and subjecting them to abuse at the hands of government officials. Conditions which would be illegal to do for criminals, illegal combatants and the homeless.

    Insert favorite expletive here to describe such a position. Words fail me here for the contempt and disgust for it.

  • Well he claims to share religious books and views with them. But in reality he is just doing what ever POS bigot does. Look for excuses for behaving badly.

  • Right. He feels it to be unconstitutional, he can ignore it. That’s fine, it just means that no executive branch enforces every single law on the books, nor are they automatically required to just because “it’s the law.”

  • Never going to be an explanation as to why it is deemed necessary beyond, “its undoing Obama”.

    Lets see, incarcerating children based on their background and subjecting them to abuse at the hands of government officials. That is pretty Hitlerish or at least Stalinish with a side order of Kim Jong.

    The real reason is to speed up deportation by denial of access to counsel and basic due process rights.

  • First we have to consider he has a constitutional right not to be compelled by the state to utter speech with which he disagrees.

    West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943) says “no”.

    Then we have to consider whether baking a custom cake is expressive conduct (speech), and Barnes v. Glen Theatre, Inc., 501 U.S. 560 (1991) says that it is.

    At that point the presumption is in favor of his First Amendment right not to be compelled, not whether he is entitled to an exemption.

    It is hard to construct a scenario in which a law like Colorado’s is the least restrictive means for achieving the compelling government interest.

  • He is not ignoring it. To the contrary.

    You’re trying to conflate two separate things here.

  • The “established policy” was the policy of the Obama Administration, which chose to completely disregard the law.

    This is a new Administration and it chooses to enforce the law.

    We’re not dealing with detention. I spent two hours this past week reading and listening to an hour of NPR with an ACLU attorney trying the same bait-and-switch you’re attempting before, faced with the plain law, he had to admit that arresting people and putting them in jail precluded their being accompanied by their children.

    When they are arrested and put in jail for illegal entry, their children cannot accompany them.


    Anything else?

  • “The beauty of the Bible is that it’s so ambiguous you can justify anything with it.”

    And that’s probably a major reason why Christianity became so popular.

  • Glen Theatre is about nude dancing. Its pronouncements do not mean that baking a wedding cake from scratch no matter the color, wording, or images on the cake, is a clear communication of a message in favor of that wedding, although I recognize that several concurring justices thought so. But it does not appear that at least five thought so.

  • Glenn Theatre was about artistic expression and whether it is speech under the First Amendment. It is.

    The matter remains undecided as to whether a state can override that speech in pursuit of some goal.

    This last decision simply confirmed that a fair hearing is required.

  • First, your flimsy argument didn’t settle the issue of how this administration in this situation is blatantly more immoral even than the one before it, except to highlight it. Second, the immorality of unnecessarily traumatzing little children is what is at issue. Which you have tacitly pointed out by stating that this is a policy change that has not affected the law under which both administrations operated.
    Since, Sessions can apparently by discretion do the humane thing, he is choosing to do, by his own admission, the inhumane thing. It’s one thing to enforce a law, which both administrations have done with different methodology, but it’s another to choose to enforce it with cruel intent, which is what Sessions has done. Once again: cold, cruel, and un-Christian.

  • This Administration is not in the morality business, nor should it be.

    I heard nothing at all from you and your friends over the last few decades about the traumatizing of little children who had one or both parents incarcerated in local, state, or Federal prisons.

    This bit of political theater is going to suck in the usual victims, but it’s meaningless drivel, as is “cold, cruel, and un-Christian”.

    There is a very simple solution: change the laws, fund prisons and child care for these folks.

    A quick check in the bills proposed as of today in the House and Senate show zero, that is “0”, that is nada, proposal from the Democrats for any of this.

    So instead of sitting there busting the Administration’s chops for enforcing the law, you should be writing your congressman and senators demanding action.

    If you have not done before posting one more syllable on the topic here, I think we can fairly assess what your posting is really all about.

  • My formerly catholic friend, once a candidate for the priesthood, just called me to tell me how outraged he was at Sessions’ use of Romans 13 when he should have been looking at Matthew 25.

    He said, “Sessions is surely a Baptist!” Im pretty sure it’s not intended as a compliment.

  • What! bob of BobWorld changing the subject? Perish the thought! He would never change the subject when it is pointed out just what he is doing. That’s for big poopyheads, doncha know?

  • I am not a Democrat. I live in a stat with all GOP US Congress, who do not agree with my independent views. I know this because I have been engaged in discourse with them. And how am I “busting the chops of this Administration” writing to an RNS forum? Plus my denomination works in various ways with children of incarcerated, which my church gladly funds. AND the law does not demand, only permits by omission, Sessions’s actions in this. Law is supposed to be moral on the basic level. Finally, as a born and bred US citizen I do not want this done in my name, and I will protest where I will. I will even take the blowback from it, too. You have no idea what I do or where I do it concerning these things.

  • As I wrote above, Sessions is using Romans 13 when he should be using Matthew 25. But that’s the beauty of the Bible. How one reads it depends very much on the type of person one is, and not the other way around.

  • It’s really easy to get out of that one, especially if you are the king and the god of BobWorld.

    Technically, they aren’t sojourning. So, it’s get out of hell free!

  • I know, right? I just felt like calling him out for fun. What little good it will do. I realize it just eggs him on. But I just felt like writing today.

  • BTW our POS as POTUS is also using this policy as part of a platform FOR ATTACKING LEGAL IMMIGRATION. He is proud of imprisoning children.

    Donald J. Trump (realDonaldTrump)
    5:08 PM – 15 Jun 2018

    Any Immigration Bill MUST HAVE full funding for the Wall, end Catch & Release, Visa Lottery and Chain, and go to Merit Based Immigration. Go for it! WIN! [emphasis added]

    Those last parts are to essentially cut legal immigration by over 65% by eliminating family based visas and end effective programs in order to appeal to white supremacists who are annoyed so many brown skinned people are immigrating here legally.

    Trump’s immigration policy is without irony or hyperbole the platform of neo-nazis.

  • This is why “divine right” was something invoked by absolute dictators with the approval of churches. It is why theocracies are autocratic as well.

  • Okay. I find Rich Lowery generally sane and informative. I can add this to my research for consideration. Still, there are loopholes in his explanation. He makes no definitive claims about the process being carried out, but if the process goes as he outlines it, it seems reasonable to a degree.
    Lowery is the only one I’ve read that at least cites the pertinent sources. Still there is a bit of arbitrariness to Sessions’s actions and his rhetoric has something else to be desired.

    I still think it is unnecessary for you to call me names. I don’t care that you do, but you surely don’t come off well.

  • Quoting the Bible as a justification for cruelty is a good way to trash the Bible. It has worked a treat since the time of Voltaire and Thomas Paine.

  • Here is what is going on:

    – this “issue” appears from nowhere as the parties jockey for the mid-terms

    – the usual handwringers show up with hankies, red eyes, and sad stories

    – the reality of the issues is complex, but gets buried in a load of sob story rhetoric (NPR’s hour on the topic was a classic)

    – the fact that millions of American children have been suffering the same issues and worse for decades and longer in this country is never mentioned (although the attorney of common sense on NPR managed to get in it between the sobs)

    – zero legislation is offered

    This is politics as usual in Washington, DC.

    I spent a couple of decades there, including investigating for and advising Congress.

    The microsecond the mid-terms are over, all the hankies will be put away, all the tears will dry, and the usual suspects will continue to do nothing whatsoever.

    And that’s why my fuse grows short when I hear this stuff.

    Let’s not all be suckers for the ruling class, eh?

  • That’s why I am neither Gop or Dem. If they really wanted to solve these problems both parties have the talent, power, and means and could come at it from different angles in concert. Instead it’s about having it all for them. Their tactics, however, ironically ensure that they’ll never gain it. Sysephus.

    I can understand your anger. It’s maddening. Even in the case of the children of the incarcerated, what gets fixed gets unfixed in the next wave of newly-seated power mongers.

  • Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees,to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless

    Isaiah 10:1-2
    Besides the US is not a theocracy.

    Actually there is a new article that give the context for Session’s cited passage.

  • Sessions is doing his job as an arm of the executive branch under the “take care” clause of the U.S. Constitution. If you don’t like it then get Congress to change the laws or get out of our country.

  • Remember people – obeying the law is biblically required when separating children from their parents into concentration camps.

    But not when baking a cake.

    So, let me get this straight, God chose Trump and Sessions and all the Fascist Clown Brigade to rule and thats why you should quietly obey their “laws”, or their intrepretations of laws.

    Somehow, that did not apply when Obama was president. For reasons. God was having a vacation?

  • You are making excuses for creating a concentration camp for children. How very Conservative Christian of you.

    We are not even allowed to treat criminals, POW’s or illegal combatants like this!

    Seriously get bent! If you don’t like supporting widespread abuse of children under the control of agents of the US government, you protest it vociferously and demonstrate such immorality cannot be tolerated. To support this is to declare how far removed you are from morality, the principles of our country and basic decency.

  • No, its important to understand the measure is unnecessary, arbitrary and designed to harm the families involved and frustrate access to counsel and due process.

    To make excuses for making gulags for kids is to demonstrate depravity for lack of a better term.

  • Legal here does not mean right, sane, moral or in accordance with the principles of this nation. It is the government which is intentionally separating these children from their families and putting them in conditions which are worse than what we do for criminals, suspected terrorists and illegal combatants.

    You Sir, are lower than dirt for even trying to make excuses for such repugnant actions.

  • I don’t hear you loony leftists ever protesting for Americans:

    Juan Pina was permanently separated from his daughter after she was strangled, raped, and murdered by an illegal alien.
    Laura Wilkerson was permanently separated from her son, who was brutally murdered by an illegal alien classmate.
    Jamiel Shaw, Sr. was permanently separated from his son, who was tragically murdered by an illegal alien gang member.

  • Yes, the United States is a nation of laws.

    Sessions is following them.

    If you believe the laws are unjust, given this not being a theocracy and all that, you have to change them.

  • Here ya go, J.

    49 Americans were murdered by an amErican citizen in Orlando with unregulated access to weapons of mass murder.

    58 Americans were murdered by a white American citizen in Las Vegas with unregulated access to weapons of mass murder.

    Why ameicxans were murdered by a white American citizen in Sutherland Springs with unregulated access to weapons of mass murder.

    And so on. And yet, I never here the righteous rightists complaining about it. Go figure.

  • “I don’t hear you loony leftists ever protesting for Americans”

    You mean starting up pogroms and lynching parties for immigrants. Because that is what you are really asking for here. You see plenty of people protesting for Americans. You just call them traitors and demand their imprisonment.

    So you are defiling the corpses of the children of Juan Pina, Laura Wilkerson and Jamiel Shaw, Sr. to makes excuses for inhumane treatment to CHILDREN. You are trying to capitalized on random acts of violence to justify wholesale systematic violence to others.

    BTW the perpetrators of those crimes are entitled to greater levels of due process and civil liberties as criminals than illegal alien families in detention.

    What kind of scumbag are you? Collective punishment of children?

    Seriously, I cannot consider you less of a human being if I tried. If you believe in hell, then you should expect to be there.

  • Which “weapons of mass murder” are you speaking of?

    Hunting rifles?




    Lighter fluid?



    And what does “unregulated access” mean?

    Florida is covered by the same Federal laws as the other 49 states and the District of Columbia are.

    And here you were at RNS talking about others’ lack of credibility.

  • Since you don’t know Romans 13 and Matthew 25 from the menu at Bob’s Big Boy, why is what you wrote above significant?

  • Good list. Unfortunately, there are other verses that have caused great harm and damage. Just one of the most notorious is:

    Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. Exodus 22:18

    There are others, of course. Here is an article about some of them:

    This article concentrates on other verses:

    You can find other lists by googling “horrible Bible verses”

  • Romans is one of Paul’s letters that pretty much everyone agrees he wrote. As for how it should be applied, it gets complicated. The general assessment (at least since the collapse of the concept of kings as the Lord’s Anointed) has been that God is sanctioning the EXISTENCE of human secular authority rather than the authority of any single human leader, and especially that God will hold leaders responsible for how they exercise that authority. Even ignoring the mass murderers you mention, to argue that God is giving His stamp of approval to every single leader means to argue He is either directly influencing the outcome of every election to get His candidate elected or rubber-stamping the choices of His inherently flawed and fallible children. As you might guess, neither of those options is exactly appealing.

    My personal view, Paul was a moralist first and his theology supported his moralizing, not the other way around. Since he was writing at a time when the Roman authorities were neutral toward Christians, seeing them as just one more Jewish sect and all Jews were bizarre weirdos anyway, he could afford to write as he did. OTOH, Paul was also writing according to the long Jewish tradition having secular authority ratified by but not under the direct control of religious authority even as it supported a general moral code.

    So, what Christians have generally come up with, especially in countries that aren’t majority Christian, is to honor the law and the authority behind it so long as that law does not require you to act contrary to God’s law. When it does or when the harm inflicted on us is especially egregious, use passive resistance to create martyrs. Gandhi and MLK were the creators of the modern incarnation of the concept, but they are part of a tradition that runs all the way from the martyrs of the early Church when Romans turned against them, to the modern bakers and photographers of today. Only when a government descends from the barbaric to the monstrous, such as the Communists and Nazis, does armed rebellion become an acceptable option to most Christians.

    My favorite quote on the issue comes from a purely secular source, a couple of my favorite fictional authors:

    “Rules were meant to be broken.”

    “Don’t disagree, indeed they are. Providing, however, that the one breaking the rules is willing to pay the price for it, and the price gets charged in full. Otherwise, breaking rules becomes the province of brats instead of heroes. Fastest way I can think of to turn serious political affairs into a playpen. A civilized society needs a conscience, and conscience can’t be developed without martyrs — real ones — against which a nation can measure its crimes and sins.”

  • Many thanks for that link! It made riveting but sobering reading. Indeed, the Bible can be quoted for both good and ill. It is important that this is pointed out when politicians weaponize the texts that they cherrypick from its pages.

  • Wasn’t there a time when the Christian Right was whining about how every child needed a mother and a Father? Apparently, that whole thing was just so much campaign rhetoric, glossing over plain old homohatred. Becuase obviously, according to no less a good babtist than Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, every child does not need a other and a father. Or at least, not every brown child.

  • Thank you for a your reply. It was intelligent, informed, and informative.
    “Paul was a moralist first” – excellent
    “Since he was writing at a time when the Roman authorities were neutral toward Christians, … he could afford to write as the did” – excellent

    This is a core problem. Paul usually writes to a specific situation, addressing specific needs and problems of a specific congregation. It is when one of his statements is claimed to have general or universal application beyond the specific context (as Sessions seems to have done) that absurd conclusions (such as Hitler was doing God’s work) can result.
    Since a blanket application of Romans 13 can lead to absurd conclusions, in order to apply Romans 13 to any given situation, it must be shown that the specifics of the application satisfy Paul’s moral parameters (not to mention those of Jesus). Would Paul (not to mention Jesus) think that Romans 13 justifies the forced separation of children from their parents as a public policy measure to deter illegal immigration? Or is this a public policy action that for Paul (not to mention Jesus) goes beyond the boundaries of what is morally justified?

  • Not even one of your quotes is in any way related to illegal invaders. I’d remind you of Romans 13:1-2 “All of you must obey those who rule over you. There are no authorities except the ones God has chosen. Those who now rule have been chosen by God. 2 So whoever opposes the authorities opposes leaders whom God has appointed. Those who do that will be judged.”

  • That is the question, isn’t it? But there’s another question as well — who is the ones tasked with making that decision?

    For the first question, is it morally justified, it helps to break the problem down into separate issues. Is it justified to detain adults that cross the border illegally? Obviously, yes. It’s true that their status isn’t yet determined, but it is standard practice in our legal system to detain people that have not yet been found guilty but are judged to be flight risks and considering the low number of illegal immmigrants that show up on their appointed court dates they’re definitely flight risks. So is it moral to separate adults from their children when they are detained? Again, we do it all the time when we incarcerate those children’s parents. The difference in this case is a matter of quantity rather than quality. So why would the administration put special emphasis on the fact that children will be separated from the adults that brought them? Because people aren’t stupid. As I understand it, the previous policy — official or unofficial — was to NOT enforce the law when it came families, and those trying to get into the country illegally adjusted by not only bringing their children with them but in some cases bringing children that weren’t theirs. So by publicizing the results of the new policy the administration is trying to discourage people bringing children on what is often a dangerous journey.

    Now for the second question of who should be making the decision, one thing to keep in mind that what the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy means is that the law will be enforced. People demanding that the administration abandon this policy are demanding that the government not enforce its own laws. IMHO, this is NOT a good idea. The Rule of Law requires that a law’s application be evenhanded in the pursuit of justice — there’s a good reason why so many representations of Lady Justice has her wearing a blindfold. That shows up in Leviticus 19 as well: “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.” And then there’s Proverbs 6:

    People do not despise a thief if he steals
    to satisfy his hunger when he is starving.
    Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold,
    though it costs him all the wealth of his house.

    So when the effects of a law are uniformly bad, the proper response isn’t to stop enforcing the law but to change it, and that is Congress’s duty, not the administration’s. Mind, from trials there are often also juries, who have the right to choose to not apply a law in a particular case. And judges and prosecuting attorneys HATE it. But again, that isn’t the law enforcement agency itself choosing not to enforce our laws.

  • “That is the question, isn’t it?”

    If memory serves, the question was whether or not the application of Romans 13 to this specific situation is consistent with the moral parameters of Paul and/or Jesus. I see no mention here of the moral parameters of Paul and/or Jesus.

  • I thought I’d already covered Romans 13. Sure, I could point out how Romans, being perhaps Paul’s only letter to people he didn’t already know whose support he likely wanted for a missionary journey to the western half of the Empire, is the closest he comes to pure theology. (There’s a good reason why many consider the book the constitution of Christianity, though I would combine it with James — one concerned with the root, the other the fruit.) But really, as I already pointed out, the specifics of Paul’s nd Jesus’s time (mass migrations crossing the Empire’s border didn’t happen until centuries later, and didn’t end well) aren’t directly applicable; so all you can do is look for general principles and see how they are applicable. Both Jesus and Paul recognized divine backing for secular authority in some form, and I already covered the principles Christianity has evolved for reconciling that principle (along with the other Rule of Law verses) to bad policies and evil governments.

    So all that’s left is the question of whether the policy of TEMPORARILY separating families of illegal immigrants is morally justifiable in spite of the optics, and so that is what I answered.