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The ’Splainer: Why is Jeff Sessions quoting Romans 13 and why is it so often invoked …

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions makes a point during his speech at the Western Conservative Summit on June 8, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The ’Splainer (as in, “You’ve got some ’splaining to do”) is an occasional feature in which RNS gives you everything you need to know about current events to help you hold your own at the water cooler.

(RNS) — Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their families at the border this week by citing a passage from the Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Romans:

“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.”


RELATED: Sessions cites Bible to defend separating immigrant families


Later, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders summed up the same idea: “It is very biblical to enforce the law.”

But is it? Does the Bible really preach to obey the laws of government? If so, was Sessions right to use this passage to defend the government’s actions? Let us ‘Splain.

What does Romans 13 say?

Sessions appears to be referring to the first half of the chapter. The first two verses in the popular NIV translation read:

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.”

It goes on to say that those who do right will be commended and those who do wrong should be afraid, describing rulers as “God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” It also includes a plug for paying taxes.

Why is Jeff Sessions quoting it?

It’s no secret the government’s policies of tearing families apart — as well as denying asylum to victims of domestic abuse and gang violence — has come under sharp criticism from many Christian leaders. Among them are the very ones who have championed Trump’s policies in the past, namely conservative evangelicals. Evangelist Franklin Graham called the policy “disgraceful,” and the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution calling for immigration reform that maintains “the priority of family unity.”

Sessions was replying directly to “church friends” when he made his comments, suggesting the administration’s policies were perfectly justified by appealing to a higher set of principles, God’s principles.

How do Christians feel about his exegesis?

Well, that depends who you ask. CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) News’ chief political correspondent, David Brody, shared a screenshot of Romans 13:1-7 on Twitter Thursday (June 14) saying Sanders was “right” to say enforcing laws is biblical and encouraged members of mainstream media outlets reporting on Sanders’ and Sessions’ comments to read the Bible.

But many Christian leaders and institutions tweeted or issued statements critical of Sessions’ use of Scripture. They include the African Methodist Episcopal Church; Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers); the Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of Washington National Cathedral; and the Rev. James Martin, editor at large of America magazine. Johnnie Moore, one of President Trump’s most influential unofficial evangelical advisers warned against “proof texting,” or selectively using a Bible passage to prove a point.

“While Sessions may take the Bible seriously in this situation he has demonstrated he is no theologian,” Moore said.

Even talk-show host Stephen Colbert took time to address Sessions’ remarks on “The Late Show” Thursday, reading what came a few verses later in Romans 13: “Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

How does this fit into how Romans 13 has been used historically?

Romans 13 played a critical role in the American Revolution, writes George Mason University historian Lincoln Mullen. For obvious reasons, loyalists who favored obedience to King George III of England liked to quote Romans 13; revolutionaries also used it to argue that Paul never meant to justify despotic rulers.

Prior to the Civil War, after Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, the passage was cited again. The act, which allowed slaves who had escaped to freedom in the North to be forcibly returned to their owners in the South, was employed this time to rein in anyone who would challenge the lawfulness of slavery.

The passage was used once again in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously made a point about it in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” as he explained that Christians should subject themselves to the governing authorities as they do good, not evil:

One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.

Does Sessions’ use of the passage match its original context?

The Apostle Paul wrote that passage while living under the brutal Roman Empire. Paul, a convert to Christianity who went around evangelizing people, was a known troublemaker, said Douglas Campbell, a professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School. His preaching had caused riots in Ephesus and Jerusalem. These public disturbances earned Paul disfavor with Roman administrators who greatly feared any incitement to revolution.

“He was in legal trouble so he had to cover himself,” Campbell said.


RELATED: N.T. Wright on the Apostle Paul’s sudden popularity


Paul wrote this letter to the church in Rome before he had met its recipients. Many Jewish followers of Jesus were returning to Rome under the emperor Nero years after the previous emperor had expelled a number of Jews, according to Lynn Cohick, chair of the Wheaton Center for Early Christian Studies at Wheaton College in Illinois.

Cohick describes the passage as an introduction, as well as instructions: “After five years, how are they going to reintegrate?” she said. Chapters 12 to 15 deal with that question, with Paul echoing Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in lines like, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil” and “Bless those who persecute you.”

“He’s framing all of this in their context of, ‘We want you to be a good citizen as much as you are able. You’re not going to be able to offer sacrifices to the emperor. … If that’s the law then you’re just going to break the law and go to jail.  In terms of the government raising funds through taxes, that’s just what you do,” Cohick said.

That’s where that plug for taxes comes in.


RELATED: Politics, persecution and ‘ardent love’: New movie aims to show why Paul is still relevant


But the fact Paul himself was imprisoned by governing authorities several times and eventually executed shows “You don’t follow the government at all costs,” she said.

“That’s not what Paul was saying.”

(RNS national reporter Jack Jenkins contributed to this report.)

About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.

About the author

Yonat Shimron

Yonat Shimron is an RNS National Reporter and Senior Editor.

149 Comments

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  • Evangelicals cite this verse all the time… but ONLY when a Republican is in office. During Democratic administrations, respect for the law is ignored and the notion that the president is “appointed by God” is instantly condemned as blasphemous. This puts the hypocrisy of America’s conservative Christians on display for all to see… and we have. Membership numbers reflect the damage this political tribalism has done to Christianity’s reputation in the U.S.

  • I suspect that Sessions’ scriptwriters know that most of those he is addressing both hold the “scriptures” in inappropriate awe and know little of them other than a few carefully promoted verses.

    Quoting the Bible has, in some circles, just become, along with fancy dress, big houses, executive jets and TV exposure, just another (and effective) means to profit from the effects of false argument from authority.

  • The Devil is known as the great deceiver. Nothing is more deceptive in my mind then convincing folk they are following God’s law, doing his bidding, bowing to his appointed and anointed political leaders when they aren’t!

  • “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” Paul said to the Philippian Church.

    Dung your self righteousness or lose His kingdom and His righteousness.

  • Sessions does not claim he’s following God’s law.

    He claims he’s following U.S. law.

    And he is.

    Don’t like it?

    Change the law.

  • There are many laws currently on the books that are not enforced, for various reasons. Many, because we (as a society and community) deem them immoral or unjust. Currently, abortions are legal by the law. Do you suggest that we allow all abortions? This law (immigration) has been on the books for a while but this administration has just recently decided to enforce the law, as a deterrent. I find it immoral and repugnant that we as Christians find it “OK” to do this to families and children! There is a better way, I believe.

  • The solution to bad law is repeal or good law.

    In this instance the problem – people entering illegally with minors accompanying them – is a crime. The failure of the Obama Administration to enforce it sent a clear message that all was well at the border and the INS and Border Patrol were paper tigers.

    The result was an increase in the number of illegal crossings with minors.

    How many undiscovered bodies of unfortunate minors lay in the deserts of Mexico and the border states we will never know, but a goodly portion of those deaths can be attributed to the previous failure to enforce the law.

    If the individuals who cross illegally are not arrested, they disappear.

    Minors cannot accompany their parents to jail – that’s the law.

    If the parents are simply detained but not imprisoned, the Federal courts – bless their little hearts – have declared a time limit on how long they can accompany their parents.

    If you find it immoral and repugnant that we enforce this law, let me run these few things past you:

    – Who owns responsibility for the increase in deaths of minors on their way to and through the border illegally thanks to encouragement from non-enforcement of the law?

    – How many contacts have you made with your senators and your representative in Congress suggesting a change in the law?

    – Where is your concern, and where has it been all your adult life, for the millions of American children who are separated from their parents every years when the parents are incarcerated? That has been going on since the founding of the country.

    We are nation of laws.

    If our leaders can pick and choose, beyond some very small deviances based on unusual circumstances and conditions, which laws they will enforce, we become a nation of men.

    Almost the entire immigration mess is the result of years of non-enforcement by both parties.

    Compounding it with some johny-come-lately stuff about the immorality and repugnance of doing to illegal aliens what is done every day to American citizens who break the law simply does not convince me of much of anything other than the power of propaganda.

  • I have contacted my representative (Republican) and both my state Senators are Democrats, who support changing the law. I have not heard back from the Republican, as he is a recluse who does not meet with his constituents or hold any public events.

    I come from the camp that if it’s immoral (whether its a “johnny-come-lately” or not it’s still immoral, two wrongs don’t make a right. Never have, never will. The fact that bad things happen all the time is not justification for more bad things.

    The one thing we can agree on is that this whole mess is a result from both parties. But it was a conscious decision by primarily Republicans, but also some Democrats, so they (the corporations) could get extremely cheap labor, to keep costs down and profits up.

    The best solution to this whole mess (and more moral) is to enforce other laws currently on the books. Like cracking down on the people hiring these illegal immigrants. These immigrants would not come here if there were no jobs for them!

    Slap these people (or corporations) with HUGE fines that make it more expensive to hire illegals than it would be to pay a US citizen for the same job. That would fix the problem, and I think rather quickly. Hit them where it hurts, the pocket book. Money talks.

  • I don’t think Brian said Democrats cite this verse. Also, by saying “They never obey laws,” you loose all credibility.

    My pastor had a great sermon about respecting the law and our leaders (Country/State) during the Obama administration, citing this scripture. Our congregation is primarily republican and he felt there was an overall disrespect toward him during his tenure. I will always respect our countries leadership and obey the laws of the land, but I don’t need to agree with the current administration, or the previous, on everything.

    Compromise and positive discourse is the backbone of our democracy and county. I feel we have lost that. And when you comment something like this, it’s reflection on that erosion.

    I teach my children about compromise everyday. You don’t get everything you want and the other person doesn’t get everything they want. But you both get a little of what you both want! WOW! what a concept. Unfortunately our country is full of adults that refuse compromise, because of their base and money. I find that a sad state.

  • I won’t disagree with you.I will point out that if we really kicked out all of the people here not quite legally, a good deal of our economy would suffer. No cheap labor to pick to food, so food costs go up, or food disappears. No cheap labor for the laboring jobs, so the cost of everything goes up.

    It will hit us, indeed. All of us. Right in the pocketbook.

  • Bob of BobWorld has credibility. Lots of it. Except that it only exists in his own head.

  • The Nazis used it to justify their actions and why their unjust laws should be obeyed..

  • Can’t lose something imaginary – and it is imaginary unless you can provide valid evidence or an overwhelmingly powerful, rational reasoning which leads to the conclusion that the supernatural is, outside human minds, real.

    I’ll wait.

  • Actually, they did not.

    What they did was to attack all religion:

    https://www.amazon.com/Hitler-Came-Niemoeller-Against-Religion/dp/158980063X

    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/nazis-fought-original-war-christmas-180961513/

    and so and so on.

    Thousands of ministers, priests, nuns, brothers, and other religious died in the concentration camps.

    What did Hitler himself say?

    “Jesus was most certainly not a Jew. The Jews would never have handed one of their own people to the Roman courts; they would have condemned Him themselves. It is quite probable that a large number of the descendants of the Roman legionaries, mostly Gauls, were living in Galilee, and Jesus was probably one of them. His mother may well have been a Jewess. Jesus fought against the materialism of His age, and, therefore, against the Jews. Paul of Tarsus, who was originally one of the most stubborn enemies of the Christians, suddenly realised the immense possibilities of using, intelligently and for other ends, an idea which was exercising such great powers of fascination. He realised that the judicious exploitation of this idea among non-Jews would give him far greater power in the world than would the promise of material profit to the Jews themselves. It was then that the future St. Paul distorted with diabolical cunning the Christian idea. Out of this idea, which was a declaration of war on the golden calf, on the egotism and the materialism of the Jews, he created a rallying point for slaves of all kinds against the elite, the masters and those in dominant authority. The religion fabricated by Paul of Tarsus, which was later called Christianity, is nothing but the Communism of to-day.”

    The primary motivator of the Nazis for getting obedience to their laws was fear.

  • They weren’t against all religion. The established Roman Catholic Church supported the Nazis.

  • Completely false. Please read genuine historical accounts and stop listening to liberal bigots.

  • That story was fabricated by Communists in East Germany and got picked up by John Cornwell in “Hitler’s Pope” almost two decades ago. Pius XII maintained links to the German Resistance and in the assessment of historian Frank Coppa writing for the Encyclopædia Britannica, Cornwell’s depiction of Pius XII as anti-Semitic lacks “credible substantiation”.

    The 1933 Reichskonkordat, which the Nazis thought would still Catholic opposition, failed – as the 1937 encyclical “Mit brennender Sorge” demonstrated, and the Nazi retaliated both quickly and harshly:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_persecution_of_the_Catholic_Church_in_Germany

    Of a total of 2,720 clerics recorded as imprisoned at Dachau 2,579 (94.88%) were Roman Catholic.

  • How is your project explaining the source of minority rights coming?

    We’ve been enjoying the crickets chirping for weeks now.

    You yourself have no credibility, so impugning others’ credibility doesn’t seem well-justified.

  • But since you don’t believe in the Devil, your comments aren’t really designed to inform, eh?

  • State and explain your objection, I don’t care, but I see nothing wrong with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ words in fullness here at all:

    “If you cross the Southwest border unlawfully, then the Department of Homeland Security will arrest you and the Department of Justice will prosecute you. That is what the law calls for — and that is what we are going to do. Having children does not give you immunity from arrest and prosecution. However, we are not sending children to jail with their parents [which] can result in short-term separation. Noncitizens who cross our borders unlawfully, between our ports of entry, with children are not an exception. They are the ones who broke the law, they are the ones who endangered their own children on their trek. The United States, on the other hand, goes to extraordinary lengths to protect them while the parents go through a short detention period. … 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 the government for his purposes. Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves … and protect the weak and it protects the lawful. … [Therefore, I] urge anyone who would come here [to America] to apply lawfully, to wait their turn and not violate the law.”
    – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

  • I thought you people were the experts on morality. What the Trump sociopaths are doing in traumatizing these kids is cruel and immoral.

  • “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” -Matthew 25: 31-40.

    Sessions is just another goddamned hypocrite.

  • You can bet that if it were the Obama administration literally ripping children and infants out of their mother’s arms and putting them in an internment camp, Evangelicals would rise up en mass and denounce it. But because it’s being done by a Republican President, Evangelicals are applauding it and even using the Bible to justify it.

  • Reach out and touch the wall. Most thing you can see with your eye balls and feel with your fingers will be in ruin after 50 years. This includes your body. There are some things your grand children may keep if the world is still here. The only thing is your spirit will never die. If you by your free agency refuse the Son, God will honor your claim. He will not force you to be saved. The devil is doing that by force. But my Father will not force you to be saved even though He love you and sent His son to die and suffer so much for you.

    LORD Jesus touch and heal him Save him and his house. In thy name. Amen.

  • Walls can be touched – check
    Body will be in ruin in 50 years – I’m seventy so – check
    It is unlikely that I will have grandchildren
    There is no evidence that the thing you refer to as “your spirit” exists. You believe in it – I don’t.
    We don’t have what you refer to as “free agency” – read up on experimental neuro-science – that provides evidence rather than wishful thinking.
    “God” is not demonstrably real, logically irrational and, from how believers describe it, resembles a petty-minded, ignorant, Bronze Age, psychopathic leader of an extended family group .
    The “devil” – oh dear – the nonsense just became desperate.
    Seriously dude – I can do without the love of someone who screwed up so badly that he decided that he would kill his son to try to put things right – knowing in advance that it wouldn’t! I mean – how can you can go along with believe this stuff.

    Why do you think that your God (LORD Jesus) needs to be entreated to do what you think is right. Either it isn’t right or he’s a nasty character who refuses to do what is right until asked – I doubt you would treat your dog that badly.

  • Despite the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ trolling inflamed by the media spin – including RNS’ – Romans 13 wasn’t the U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ rationale at all. Following compelling practical arguments were, and I quote:

    (1) “Having children does not give you immunity from arrest and prosecution.”

    (2) “American citizens that are jailed do not take their children to jail with them. And noncitizens who cross our borders unlawfully, between our ports of entry, with children are not an exception.”

    (3) “It became well-known that adults with children were not being prosecuted for unlawful entry and the numbers surged from 15,000 in 2013 to 75,000 four years later. That policy was a declaration of open borders for family units … I don’t think there is a scriptural basis that justifies any idea that we must have open borders in the world today.”

    (4) “Illegal entry into the United States is a crime”.

    (5) “We currently spend more than $1 billion a year in taxpayer dollars taking care of unaccompanied illegal alien minors. They are provided food, education in their native language, health and dental care, and transported to their destination city – all at taxpayer expense. … There’s only one way to stop this, and that is for people to stop smuggling children.”

    (6) “I am a law officer. A law officer for a nation-state. A secular nation-state. Not a theocracy. It’s not a church. If we have laws – and I believe we have reasonable immigration laws – they should be enforced.”

  • When Eve and then Adam gave up the apartment key to the serpent, the serpent is for now the ruler of this age. (2 Corinthian 4) The dominion of creation on earth was given to Adam before his fall but no more for you to be free under the clutches of the devil.

    So all the daily evil days, sickness, deaths, disasters are carried out by the devil and his principality and power on man. After all, like a scorned woman would tear up, poke holes, deface all photo albums of the ex, hence suffering of man who is made in the image of God under the auspice of the LAW.

    You cannot believe because you are dead in spirit have no power to quit your perversion and need Jesus to give you life and life more abundantly.

  • What he said was and which, if I was his nephew, he’d ask me to repeat it to you over Fish & Chips, is:

    “It became well-known that adults with children were not being prosecuted for unlawful entry and the numbers surged from 15,000 in 2013 to 75,000 four years later. That policy was a declaration of open borders for family units … I don’t think there is a scriptural basis [not even BiO’s True Scotsman’s Card trolling with “Matthew 25″ like Jim Wallis of Sojourners always does] that justifies any idea that we must have open borders in the world today.”

    To which I’d furiously reply, Whatever, Unc. How about, though, you illegalize all Christian Right Nationalists’ politically-weaponized, sexual harassment of my LGBTQ brothers and sisters from now on. Use this unrelated opportunity for that, wydoncha, Unc?

  • I’m laughing out loud (hey, that’s what LOL spells) here but don’t fathom why, when I type in Matthew 4:10-11 at biblegateway-dot-com and read: “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.”‘ Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.”

    Alright, alright, I get it. I promise, Never again say, “State and explain your objection, I don’t care”. OK OK I do care, I do.

    … Unless BiO is the… ? Maybe I am?

  • It’s true. In 2018 I think the Catholic Church has done a very good job repairing relations with Jews. With the exception of comparing abortion to the Holocaust.

  • The Catholic clergy opposed the Nazis for many reasos that may or may have anything to with Nazi treatment of Jews. Also the Vatican was distant from the German clergy. You have bad sources.

  • Herrnhut; Adam and Eve are characters from a story – they never existed. Ditto for the serpent/devil/God.

    No – bad things don’t happen because of the devil – if it and your god were real it would be because your god can’t/won’t/doesn’t care enough to stop them.

    So what we have is a god who is impotent, or who approves of evil, or who just can’t be bothered – or is fictional.

    Since there is no evidence that any of your beliefs are valid (and you have failed to address any point I’ve made – because, I suspect, you know you can’t) the rational choice is that “god” is a fiction – a made up excuse for ignorance and manipulation.

  • They just found out most of the fossils in ember are like yesterday so they called it 99 millions years. And people believe anything.You life living on this kind of lies?

  • reference please – the original – not a press release from the Discovery Institute or Ken Ham’s World of FakeBelieve.

    I suspect you haven’t a clue about matters scientific.

    When I believe something I require, at minimum, valid evidence from academically respected sources or a logical argument that leads only to the conclusion that supports my belief – what do you have?

    As to people believe anything – some do – like gods, demons, devils, angels, unicorns, flat earth. You’re part of a big group.

  • Are they permitted to compare it with the Holodomor, Armenian Genocide, Killing Fields of Cambodia?

    How about the use of the term “genocide”?

  • Why should they? Evolution is about the continuation of life through the characteristics that best enable the production of a next generation that can successfully reproduce.

    If the circumstances in which a species exists doesn’t change it is likely that the species will show little modification – that is to say – the modifications that occur will be negative in practice and therefore die out leaving the tried and tested.

    You have just reinforced my suspicion that you have little knowledge about matters scientific.

  • Thank you.

    I’m not a proponent of open borders. I don’t know anyone who is. But I do believe, if we’re going to enforce the law, let’s enforce it across the board. Let’s also end the sham of work visas, because I find it very hard to believe we don’t have qualified workers in this country. Let’s end white people overstaying their tourist visas without a problem. Let’s start fining employers who hire people who shouldn’t be working.

    Then I can believe we’re trying to be just, instead of feeding white nationalism.

  • And in the most recent case, Masterpiece Cake shop, they sure didn’t tell the baker to follow the antidiscrimination laws. They didn’t tell Kim whatshername to issue marriage licenses and follow the law.

  • It is sad you of this age you cannot even turn to the LORD because of your suspect, your belief, your saying, ….

    In all the accounts of the Gospel, no one die before Jesus. One died on same day the boy came back to life. One died four days before Jesus said Lazarus come forth. But your own faith of your 3 pound brain is your god….

    End of conversation.

  • Someone, please remind me when any of the Religious Right quoted Romans 13 as a reason to go along with something Barack Obama was doing, back when he was president. 

    Anyone? 

    Anything? 

    Yeah, I didn’t think so. 

    As usual, the R.R.’s application of Biblical orders is relative. They obey select verses when it’s convenient for them to do so, and propound them to others when (they think) they support their demands. But they never obey or cite them when they don’t feel like it. I hadn’t been aware that the Bible said its instructions were to be followed, and forced on others, only when it was convenient for believers to do so. But then, what could a cynical, cold-hearted, godless agnostic heathen possibly know about it … right? 

  • “Can’t lose something imaginary – and it is imaginary unless you can provide valid evidence or an overwhelmingly powerful, rational reasoning which leads to the conclusion that the supernatural is, outside human minds, real.”

    I’m still waiting

    If you wish to wallow in ignorance and superstition – sobeit.

    I will continue to promote rational thought and evidence-based attitudes.

  • Jesus said, “The Law is made for humanity, not humanity for the Law.” To reinforce this principle Jesus gives an example of when the law should be ignored for human benefit. P.S. In general Jesus trumps St. Paul.

  • Of course you have no link to any source to that effect. Because you are a l!ar. The Catholic Church was an early supporter of fascism. Signing a concordat early in their rise to power and supporting anti Semitic policies.

  • Not as much as the Lutheran bishops. Some Catholic Bishops, such as the Archbishop of Munich, continued to defy Hitler. He ordered all statues of Jesus and Mary in his churches to wear a yellow star of David.

  • Sessions picked the wrong verses to reference, Romans 13 doesn’t mean you don’t criticize those in authority when they screw up. He would have been better off choosing 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 you believe that that statement by Jesus means we should have no border controls at all?

  • Kids are traumatized whenever their parents go to jail. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t jail lawbreakers and flight risks.

  • There is no reason to separate the kids. House the kids with their parents. It’s not complicated. And f v c k you.

  • No, I believe in treating people humanely. Do you believe in treating children inhumanely?

  • It’s true that the Southern Baptist pastors cited this passage all the time to their congregations during the federal enforcement of the desegregation decree and the Civil Rights Act.

  • It is true that all things eventually decay.
    This is true of our planet and being accelerated by our greedy consumption.

    Our grandchildren will suffer and die due to our selfishness, not because of your God.

  • I agree with your opinion of God.

    I disagree about agency or free will.

    It’s true that there are some neuro-scientists and philosophers that agree with you. There are others that do not. In my opinion even my dog has free agency.

  • It is sad that you must remain in your fantasy land. Open minded skeptical thinking is the only way out

  • I doubt that he is one person. Members of his organization, likely attached to the Kremlin, probably do consider his posts to be. if not credible,at least effective lies.

  • Even that is is bit of a stretch of the facts towards revisionism.

    “Bishop von Galen’s selective opposition to elements of National Socialism did not amount to solidarity with excluded groups such as the Jews however, and whilst he spoke out against the euthanasia project he was silent on the issues of roundups, deportations and mass murder of Jews.”

    “In June 1935 he delivered a sermon that connected the heresy of the Anabaptists to the ‘sins’ of the Jews. He told his audience that ‘whoever does not listen to the Church is a heathen and officially is a sinner'”

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clemens_August_Graf_von_Galen

  • One wonders what Sessions thinks of the “governing authorities” of Hitler’s Germany, Stalin;s Russia, Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain, or Kim’s North Korea. Sessions is a cherrypicker and a lousy Christian.

  • Bullcrap question. Nobody believes in “open borders” not is it an issue of border control. It’s about people whom such issues are already moot. Nativist l!ars always call opponents as for “open borders” when they are trying to defend repugnant actions and lack a justifiable defense to their position.

    Why do you support creating concentration camps for children?

    To treat them in a way which is illegal to do with criminals, POWs and illegal combatants?

  • In 1933 the Catholic Center Party voted with the Nazis to give Hitler plenary power and the Vatican gave Hitler his first international treaty. (Though yes, Catholics were involved in the 1944 unsuccessful attempt to remove Hitler.)

  • Of course we are talking about children here, not criminals. If they were treated with the same due process as criminals, they would be free from detention.

  • A person who uses religion as an excuse to create gulags for kids is excrecacble immoral scum. God may forgive them, but I have no reason to treat their position with respect.

  • The Catholic Church supported fascists in Spain well into the early 1970s. To the tune of half a million people “disappeared”

  • There used to be two of him. He posted under the name Jose Carioca, until yours truly finally caught him. Very appropriate, since Jose was a parrot, which was one of the clues. He’s so clever, he frequently outsmarts himself. Anyway, when he was caught, Jose suddenly died, though there was no known history of chlamydia psicatti. But it might have been the gunorrhea that got to him.

    He could be a kremlin bot, but I think it is more likely he is just someone enamored with the sound of his two fingers typing.

  • Jesus always trumps Paul. The canonical gospels are what Christian story-tellers remembered Jesus teaching and later Christians put into writing. They constitute the heart of all Christian sacred scripture. As you’ve noted, Jesus put human need above religious practice. Another favorite quote of mine? “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Mercy, that mix of kindness and forgiveness, is superior to worship due God: “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man [Jesus] is lord even of the sabbath” Mark 2:27-28.

  • Thank you for the scriptural passage: very apropos w/respect to Sessions’ disgraceful behavior. Here’s my modern rendering:

    People do not despise a migrant if he crosses the border illegally
    to escape hell on earth.
    Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold,
    though it costs him connection with his children (“the wealth of his house”).

  • Sessions has never identified which “U.S, law” he’s following. It’s already been pointed out that Trump was incorrect when he said “the law” required separation of children from parents. THERE IS NO SUCH LAW.

    By quoting scripture, Sessions is ostensibly making a connection between it and federal law. Sessions was also wrong when he tried to draw a parallel between this situation and incarceration of criminals. Criminals are incarcerated only when found guilty of legal violation(s). Immigrants have not been tried by a criminal court so there is no legal justification for what Sessions has been doing (even Republican, as well as Democratic, legislators agree on this point). His behavior is totally repugnant to American values and, God hope, will never become enshrined in our laws.

    Sessions is an @$$.

  • “Lawbreakers”, as you are using this term, are tried in courts of criminal law and, if found guilty, can effectively be separated from their children, i.e., imprisoned. In the federal system, United States district courts are courts of civil and criminal law, and persons found guilty can be sentenced to imprisonment. Immigrants, on the other hand, appear before federal *administrative law judges* (ALJs) who, by law, have no authority to sentence persons to imprisonment. When Jeff Sessions compared immigrants to criminals, therefore, he was comparing apples and oranges. HE KNOWS BETTER!!! Furthermore, contrary to what Trump would have us believe, there is no federal law that requires children to be separated from their parents in this immigration context.

  • “Compounding [“the entire immigration mess] with some johny-come-lately stuff about the immorality and repugnance of doing to illegal aliens what is done every day to American citizens who break the law simply does not convince me of much of anything other than the power of propaganda.”

    Apples and oranges.

    Not untypical of “R.A. Bob” from the comfort of his bedroom where he continues to pout.

  • Your brand of Christianity is toxic. Nobody can “refuse the Son” when all is said and done. No need for God to “force [us] to be saved.” We’ve already been saved by the Savior whose name is Jesus (“God saves”, NOT “God saves if…”). And the Father did not send the Son to “suffer so much for [us].” What a travesty of scriptural interpretation!!! God is Love. Jesus’ sacrifice was SELF-SACRIFICE; he was not sacrificed by the Father. God does not condemn. More important, God will not let us (and that includes you) to condemn ourselves. You need to reread Luke 15’s three parables. You also need to remember that Jesus uses the word “repent” about forgiveness only once in the Gospel; otherwise, Jesus simply instructs his followers to INITIATE unlimited forgiveness. God’s love is unconditional, “no strings attached”.

    If you believe that God will send you to hell or let you send yourself to hell, you cannot possibly love God. FEAR and love do not mix. You cannot love whom you FEAR. Impossible.

  • How do you know that our fellow blogger is engaged in “perversion”?

    You don’t.

  • I look only to Jesus now in this blank face book show of abomination (stink worse than sin) of hypocrisy.

  • Most part of what you said are facts (news are facts) in the natural. I speak of my supernatural shema ( שמע) spiritual LORD Jesus Christ who is the Grace and the Truth.

    Facts are temporal (men’s eyeballs), Truth is eternal (Logo of God).

  • Thank you Jesus for when men accuse me, you will bless me with reward with your inheritance. Amen.

  • You don’t like scientific evidence because it makes your head hurt and it means you have to admit your belief is only based on faith. That nobody is compelled to take it seriously outside of your sect.

  • Its a shame you have to lie and misrepresent facts to support your religious beliefs. It really undermines any pretension of moral authority one can have.

  • I prayed for them and their families to Jesus. Did you? Barking at the moon achieve nothing.

  • The Catholic Church did not conflict with the legitimate government of Spain.

    Approximately 100,000 – not a half a million – men and women were executed and buried in unmarked graves during the conflict in the period 1936 to 1939.

  • Rejected and neither would I condemn you.

    Your brand of Christianity is toxic. [Rejected – no condemnation also for the fast mouth of JJ]

    Nobody can “refuse the Son” when all is said and done. [Yes but they were not willing, whole race suffers last two days.]

    No need for God to “force [us] to be saved.” We’ve already been saved by the Savior whose name is Jesus (“God saves”, NOT “God saves if…”). [He could make Adam robot but mean it for better future. We are promoted from gardeners first class to the sons of God at the banquet table. ]

  • Thanks for your clarification. Most of us, however, would not regard our “fallen state” as “perversion” in its general English usage.

  • Facts are the evolution and the current existence of humans. Truth is eternal, but the logos of God is not part of it.

  • I doubt that you are sentient. A sentient being would be able to keep from contradicting himself.

    E.g., “military weapons are evil per se”. Uh Bob, the guns you describe owning are military weapons. “Military weapons are evil – unless I happen to own them.”

  • Do you have an example of the “Religious Right” disobeying specific laws during the Obama Administration?

    If not, the rest of your post is patent nonsense.

  • Although a person who follows the law is much better than the excrecacble immoral scum that does not.

  • No. I prefer actions which have a tangible effect. Prayer in the absence of action is merely a creative way of doing nothing. At least I am directing my efforts towards fellow human beings who can respond to my actions.

    Good to know you would rather ignore injustice and indecency going on than talk to people about it

  • “R.A. Bob” might want to read Matthew 23 but apply it to the Attorney General.

  • But you earlier “Agreed” with my statement that “God’s love is unconditional, i.e., ‘no strings attached’.”

  • Trump’s chief negotiation tactic involve taking hostages and putting people into concentration camps. Like ISIS.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Df0x5ZSU8AAmtDA.jpg

    “Any discussion of this issue has to fight through the Trump administration’s disinformation campaign, which simultaneously brags about what it’s doing, denies that it’s doing it, justifies it by quoting the Bible, and blames Democrats for it.

    Like many Trump administration policies — particularly those involving presidential advisor Stephen Miller,who has no qualifications for government office beyond his white supremacist views (“America was, until this past generation, a white country, designed for ourselves and our posterity. It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”) and would not have been hired by any previous administration — the family separation policy was poorly planned.

    There appears to be no system for reuniting the families,either in this country (after asylum is granted) or in their country of origin (after deportation). In many cases, the parent is deported while the child remains in government custody.”
    https://weeklysift.com/

  • “If you cross the Southwest border unlawfully, then the Department of Homeland Security will arrest you and the Department of Justice will prosecute you.”

    Is an administrative hearing before an ALJ the same as a *prosecution*?

    Just asking.

  • If we look at all the data we have, evolution seems to be the best way to explain why the biosphere is as we see it today. However, since we can’t perform experiments on the past, we can’t actually know if God, or hyperintelligent pan-dimensional beings who look like mice intervened.

    While there is no contradiction between God using evolution to form the human body, but not our soul, and Christianity, as witnessed by the Catholic Church’s statements, nothing in science proves that it happened. Hence saying that evolution “proves” that there is no God, which requires saying that evolution is an indisputable fact, is an invalid argument.

    But because some of the oracles don’t like the notion of a God they pretend evolution is on stronger footing than it is.

    In particular, evolution as you believe it is not a fact, nor is the non-existence of the Logos.

  • Since you won’t be around to see it, and don’t believe there is a deity who will punish you for not acting, don’t sweat it.

  • For prodigal son, it is unconditional. Father saw him at distance. Not when he stay in pigpen or refused to return. Not Universalism.

  • If you people are always supposed to submit to the government, why are you so keen on making sure cake makers don’t have to?

  • “For prodigal son, it is unconditional.”

    A novel interpretation in light of the fact that Jesus used parables, inter alia, to teach about God’s relationship with people. In addition to the prodigal son, we have the lost sheep and the lost coin. So, in your thinking, the sheep is just a sheep, and the coin is just a coin since they cannot be loved, even unconditionally?

    The doctrine of universal salvation has never been condemned by Christian leadership over the past nearly two thousand years. Why? Perhaps because, inter alia, the word ‘Gospel’ means “Good News” of our salvation. If Jesus told his followers to initiate unlimited forgiveness, God will not do so??? God is not hypocritical, i.e., “Do as I say, not as I do.”

  • Even if that were true, there is no good reason to traumatize and yes, torture… these innocent. There will be a special place in hell for you “Bob” for supporting such evil.

  • “It’s no secret the government’s policies of tearing families apart — as well as denying asylum to victims of domestic abuse and gang violence…”

    Stop right there. The problem is Latin America, not America. These kids being “torn apart ” from their families are housed in air conditioned quarters, fed 3 x daily, are educated, given medical screening and vaccinations, clothing at US taxpayer expense while awaiting their parents’ asylum claims. Now there are realistically 700-800 million people worldwide who could make similar claims. When Obama did it, it was the right thing to do and now that Trump is doing it, it is equally right. Immigration is NOT a right but a privilege. The best we could do is to train these “seekers” militarily, arm them and turn them loose on MS 13.

  • I’m surprised that AG Sessions didn’t recite Acts 17:26 like the white evangelicals of our youth did to justify Jim Crow segregation.

  • “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.

    Yeah, right — God himself personally ordained every law of every governmental body! Absurd.

  • (Just got banned & excommunicated by Mark Shea over at Catholic and Enjoying It for talking about the same topic.)

  • What do I know. I had to look this up, courtesy of Wikipedia’s crowd-sources:

    “An administrative law judge (ALJ) in the United States is a judge and trier of fact who both presides over trials and adjudicates the claims or disputes (in other words, ALJ-controlled proceedings are bench trials) involving administrative law. ALJs can administer oaths, take testimony, rule on questions of evidence, and make factual and legal determinations. And depending upon the agency’s jurisdiction, proceedings may have complex multi-party adjudication, as is the case with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or simplified and less formal procedures, as is the case with the Social Security Administration.”

  • Sessions misuse of the Bible sickens me as does virtually all of the other anti-Christian behavior of this administration. I would like to see the presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church publicly chastise Sessions as he is a member of the United Methodists. He would have been a perfect member of the President’s cabinet of the CSA. I do wonder who cleans his white sheet & hood.

    History will look upon this time and declare the behavior of 45’s administration a sad sad time for American democracy.

  • I expect you would have banned the most famous refugee family in history, Joseph, Mary & Jesus from entering Egypt.

  • I’m sorry to hear that. Shea did not seem like that kind of guy. What did you say, and where did you say it?

  • Romans 13 predates democracy. In this country, honoring lawful authority means participating in the public conversation about government and law. It doesn’t mean quiet submission to injustice.

  • Sorry. Can’t respond to you over at “Catholic and Enjoying It.” Land whale banned me.

  • Perhaps what confuses me is my understanding that illegally crossing the border can be either a misdemeanor or a (potential) felony, depending on the circumstances. Prosecutorial discretion can come into play. Apparently, Sessions wants to see first-time violators, regardless of their situations, prosecuted before district judges rather than appear before a ALJ/immigration judge (and I’m unsure if these two titles refer to one and the same role). Confusing. In any event, the decision to separate children from parents is disgusting. Has the government even considered using spare military facilities to keep families intact until they can appear before an immigration judge on-site — if there is concern that they will otherwise disappear and “melt into the general population”? I do support border enforcement — but with a humane approach.

  • I believed that too.

    But here’s where it ends for me: “Let’s talk about Romans 13”, JUNE 15, 2018 BY MARK SHEA, 43 COMMENTS.

  • So let “adults with children [not be] prosecuted for unlawful entry and [let] the numbers surg[ing] from 15,000 in 2013 to 75,000 four years later” to a quarter million by Election 2020? And never mind “more than $1 billion a year in taxpayer dollars” are being wasted on non-citizens and non-residents?

  • I’ve no problem with border control per se. On the other hand, as a Catholic Christian, I’m reminded of Jesus being asked, “…Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?”, and Jesus responding, “…[W]hat you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me” (Matthew 25:44-45).

    I’m also reminded of Jesus being asked, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”, and Jesus replying, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).

    In other words, Jesus is telling his listeners and, by extension, the rest of us that we are to love our neighbors, that helping our neighbors is helping Jesus himself (feeding him, etc.), and that it is just as important to love our neighbors as it is to love God. These two commandments, he says, are of equal importance (“The second is like it” makes this point).

    The First Letter of John reinforces Jesus’ teaching: “…[W]hoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4:20-21).

    A generic definition of love is extending oneself to help the other(s) without expectation of anything in return. It is, quite simply, self-sacrifice. Jesus’ entire earthly ministry was self-sacrifice. Nowhere in the Gospel does Jesus attach a dollar figure to his expectation that we love our neighbors.

  • Paul in Romans 13 must be looked at in its proper context.The Romans killed Jesus whom they thought was a rebel/agitator and Paul was preaching about the same Jesus whom the Romans condemned as a criminal.In order to convince the Romans that Paul and believers were not a threat Paul stated what he did.Obviously if paul lived in a liberal democracy,he would not of stated that.Some scholars believe Romans 13 is a interpolation. Of course in the prohibition of the 1920s when all alcohol was banned,people ignored it.Stupid laws are meant to be ignored

  • Would that include the prohibition when alcohol was banned in the 1920s and the people ignored it ?

  • Do you think it humane that 10k out of 12k children were sent by their parents alone? Have you been eating up the propaganda lately?

  • Show me where the right refused to follow Obama’s orders?

    In fact, there have been many on the right who complain that they hated the orders but still followed them.

    You have to go back.

  • Most of the camps were created under the order of the Pro-death folks. We should send them all back regardless.

    It’s funny though, that the pro-death folks all of a sudden care about the children.

  • Aren’t you people busy voting for pro-death legislation?

    Don’t like the taste of your own medicine?

  • Re: “Show me where the right refused to follow Obama’s orders?” 

    I never said they didn’t. What they did do, on the other hand, was to use all kinds of Bible quotations to justify and rationalize opposing pretty much everything he said or did. 

    There was, for example, the time they said healthcare reform was Herod’s massacre of the innocents: https://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/2009/12/17/healthcare-reform-herods-massacre-of-innocents/ And there were all the times they said they’d pray for Obama according to Psalms 108:9: https://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/2012/09/01/more-scriptural-threats-against-the-president/

    Re: “In fact, there have been many on the right who complain that they hated the orders but still followed them.” 

    Ah. I see. So, that’s why they wove dozens of conspiracy theories about him, like that he wasn’t an American, was a secret Muslim, and was going to hand the US government over either to the Muslim Brotherhood or UN peacekeeping troops. Got it! Gee, thanks for clearing all that up for me. 

    Re: “You have to go back.” 

    I have absolutely no plans to. 

  • “As a Catholic Christian, [you’re] reminded of Jesus being asked” all the wrong questions. Go instead to where He was asked by none other than U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, then remind me, please, what His answers were to:

    (1) “If You cross the Southwest border unlawfully, [is it A-OK for] the Department of Homeland Security [to] arrest you and the Department of Justice [to] prosecute you”?

    (2) “[In such situation does] having children give You immunity from arrest and prosecution”?

    (3) “[By] cross[ing] our borders unlawfully, between our ports of entry, with children … [haven’t You] broke[n] the law [whilst] endanger[ing Your] own children on their trek”?

    (4) “[Can You think of] a scriptural basis that justifies any idea that we must have open borders in the world today”?

  • 1. Yes to both.

    2. No.

    3. Yes; likely.

    4. No.

    And how do your questions refute Jesus’ teaching?

  • My valid reason is I only look unto My Father and my LORD Jesus my creator, not to all these creation of familial mother, fathers, little saints, major saints, holy relics….. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4)

  • You’ve heard of the 1st century Aramaic version of Matthew 22:15-22, I’m sure. (Which is similar to Romans 13, actually. But I digress.) Well, here’s the 21st century Western version of it – with you in it:

    “Then Joseph Jaglowicz went and plotted how he might trap Jesus in what He said. And he said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, I know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. Tell me, then, what do You think? If You cross the Southwest border unlawfully, is it A-OK for the US Department of Homeland Security to arrest you and the Department of Justice to prosecute You? In such situation does having children give You immunity from arrest and prosecution? By crossing our borders unlawfully, between our ports of entry, with children, haven’t You broken the law whilst endangering Your own children on their trek? And can You think of a scriptural basis that justifies any idea that we must have open borders in the world today?’ But Jesus perceived his malice, and said, ‘Why are you testing Me, you hypocrite? Show Me America’s New Zero-Tolerance Immigration Policy. And Joseph brought it to Him. And Jesus said to him, ‘Whose signature is on this policy?’ Joseph said to Him, ‘US President Donald Trump’s.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Then render to Trump the things that are Trump’s; and to God the things that are God’s.’ And hearing this, Joseph wasn’t amazed at all, and leaving Him, he grumbled at the seeming pointlessness of that talk. ‘I don’t get it. What am I missing here. I mean, what in the world does any of this rendering-to-Trump business stuff have to do with what I’ve always taken for granted, and spinning it even, as Jesus’ teaching? Most annoying of all, why didn’t it bother Him that those “questions refute Jesus’ teaching”?'”

  • Yes, Jesus said to render unto government what is government’s. In other words, you have an obligation to obey government.

    And, yes (as noted earlier), Jesus told his followers to help people in need. When you help such people, said Jesus, you are helping him! You are welcoming him, you are feeding him, you are clothing him, you are giving him drink, you are visiting him when he is ill or in prison.

    So, you are expected by God to give the government what is due the government.

    And you are expected by God to give the Son, i.e., Jesus, what is due him in the persons of strangers in need.

    And if you do not welcome Jesus in the traveler et al?

    “Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me,” says the Son of God, “and [you] will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    So, when these two obligations conflict, which one takes precedence for you?

  • Funny about Mr. Shea. He told me he wanted to craft a response, but he didn’t. I reminded him gently last weekend, but still nothing.

    I’m not sure of what to make out of that. But I have my suspicions.

  • Matthew 22:15 says that you, Joseph Jaglowicz, have “plotted together” with the US Catholic Bishops, Dems, SJWs and the rest of the Anti-Trump forces; on “how [you and] they might trap Him in what He said.” For “Jesus told his followers to help people in need. When you help such people, said Jesus, you are helping him! You are welcoming him, you are feeding him, you are clothing him, you are giving him drink, you are visiting him when he is ill or in prison.” So now with that hooking and piercing angle for that entrapment, you’ve forced these words upon Him: “Tell us then, how can it be lawful to submit to US President’s Zero-Tolerance Immigration Policy”? But Jesus perceived your malice, didn’t he, Joseph? “You’re testing Me, you hypocrite! Best, therefore, you just render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”

    Don’t you get it? Jesus & I are calling you out on this, by exposing your malice. Which is: You’ve been rendering His Matthew 25 gospel unto Caesar & Trump by “help[ing] people in need … welcoming … feeding … clothing … giving … drink … visiting [them] when … ill or in prison.”

  • Republicans have made religion so dirty and nasty that I no longer have any respect for any christians. I don’t think that they should be allowed to use Christ’s name for anything much less as an excuse for their perversion.

  • OoooH! Hi, heading over there now to see if I can get banned. Seems it would be a badge of honor.

  • They quite skillfully manipulated religion to justify their ‘solutions’ to social problems.

  • My argument has been quite simple and non-deceptive when two divine instructions are in conflict:

    + Give Uncle Sam what is due, OR

    + Give Jesus what is due him — personally, no less!

    At no time in our exchange have I asserted the USA has no right (a) to control its borders or (b) to determine who is allowed into the country and who is not. It would appear it is you who have turned our debate into a zero-sum game. I, on the other hand, have considered this matter to be a “both-and”, not an “either-or”, situation.

    The USA can enforce its border and immigration laws, AND, in so doing, the USA can help people in need while determining who may stay and who must leave. This matter is not zero-sum as you’d appear to prefer.

  • Hitler, surely the worst person who every lived. I do want to point out that the quote above is not a real quote. It originally appeared in the book “Hitler’s Table Talk,” which has been questioned by actual historians. For example in the October 2003 issue of the German Studies Review, which is written, edited and refereed by professional scholars of German history.

  • In the Old Testament, the relations of parents to children is sacred. Hence many Jewish traditions. We know what Moses would do with the likes of Sessions.

  • people use scripture when at an impasse….like lying or plagerism they use some issue they cannot defend and plug in bible verse number ya ya….personally being raised catholic and admiring the work of real christians i can only try hard not to sht on mr little man jeffery….im sure he was rediculed for his height his big mouth his holier than thou bllsht….he is the problem with modern men in general…no foundations of fair play and love no real skill to deliver anything but bllsht absolute krapola when others FREEDOMS ARE IN HIS LITTLE BOOK OF life…little as it is…so PLEASE YOU DONT KNOW JESUS YOU MAY NEVER AT THIS RATE…so why even listen in A FEW YEARS HE WILL BE GONE ONLY TO LEAVE HIS STAIN ON OTHERS…haha hes a joke..take him as such

  • Well, then, it all boils to this deciding question of this debate: Who really are these “brothers of (Jesus Christ’s), even the least of them”, that are mentioned in Matthew 25:31-46?

    According to Jim Wallis (cf. “Lord, Help Us to Treat You Well”, Sojourners, March 2, 2017) – and you’d agree but I sure don’t): “the most vulnerable members of society: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the prisoner — (these are) the people Jesus names in Matthew 25 when he says how we treat them is how we treat him”. However – TRUTH TO TELL – what that gospel plainly/uncomplicatedly says, verse by verse, is: “31 … when the Son of Man comes in His glory, … 33 … He will put the sheep on His right … 34 … ‘who are blessed of My Father, inherit(ing) the kingdom’ … 37 … the righteous … 40 … ‘brothers of Mine, even the least of them’ … 46 … the righteous (going away) into eternal life.” Ergo: Matthew 25:31-46 is a picture of Judgment Day – not some social justice campaigns on the streets or in government arenas! A “call to action” to take care of “the least of these” people who are “hungry, … thirsty, … a stranger, … naked, … sick, and in prison” (Matthew 25:42-43) will have been much too late by this time of the Judgment Day. Why? Because in the here & now they’re the fired-up and die-hard followers of THE Christ Jesus of the gospels, epistles and revelation, but people like you are no nice to them yet yes so very nice to everybody else like immigration law-breakers – until He returns to judge this godforsaken planet.

  • N’er fret, I say. There are still many alternative blogs to choose from via patheos-dot-com/blogs. Like this one – Cranach – in the Evangelical category: Surprises from the LGBTQ Study JUNE 22, 2018 BY GENE VEITH 53 COMMENTS

  • You obviously do not understand Mt. 25:45, to wit: “…Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.” The “least ones”, as you’ve acknowledged, are folks in need — water, food, shelter, etc. Judgement Day, again as you’ve noted, is when those who have not helped people in need will face their Maker. Unfortunately, you are overlooking *why* some folks will have to face God on Judgement Day to explain their ignoring people in need. In short, Jesus’ instruction is not simply about Judgement Day. It is also about *the here and now* of helping immigrants who have illegally crossed the border into the USA by making sure they have the necessities of life until their claims can be heard before an immigration judge. If we do not give them what is needed to sustain life while in detention (and that, by the way, includes allowing children to remain with their parents), then we will have to answer to God on Judgement Day for our sin.

    Now, as to Mt 22:21 (“Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God”), we agree that obeying federal border law is our obligation to “Caesar”, i.e., the federal government. So the question becomes, What belongs to God? In this immigration fiasco, we must look to Mt 25 where the Son of God tells his listeners (and us) that when we provide food, clothing, shelter, etc. to people in need, we are giving food, clothing, shelter, etc. to Jesus himself. Jesus doesn’t qualify our duty by limiting it only to folks obeying “Caesar”. I remind you that Jesus himself disobeyed the law at times: He was a troublemaker, too. Yet, Jesus says we must give the necessities of life to everyone, not just to law-abiding citizens. Jesus, the Jewish troublemaker, says we must help law-breakers with food, etc. In so doing, the Son of God tells us that in doing so, we are feeding him, etc. If we refuse to do so, Jesus says, we will have to face God on Judgement Day. By issuing his threatening reminder to feed and clothe him in the persons of law-breakers, Jesus is laying divine claim to obedience to God superseding obedience to “Caesar”. He is not instructing us to disobey the federal government. Jesus is telling us we have a dual obligation that includes also taking care of HIM in the persons of immigrants disobeying federal law.

    Therefore, in the current immigration matter, whose claim is superior? Whose claim takes precedence, that of “Caesar” or that of Jesus himself who needs food, shelter, water, etc.? For a Christian, the answer is simple — God’s claim comes first. We are still expected to obey “Caesar”, but we must not overlook helping immigrants with food, shelter, water, etc. As I wrote earlier, this matter involves “both-and”, not “either-or”.

  • No, “the ‘righteous [who go] to eternal life’ … are [not the] folks who provide shelter, water, food, clothing, etc. to people in need, regardless of the latter’s legal status.” But, rather, the fired-up and die-hard followers of THE Christ Jesus of the gospels, epistles and revelation, “who provide shelter, water, food, clothing, etc. to” those fired-up and die-hard followers of THE Christ Jesus who are “in need, regardless of the latter’s legal status.” Here’s same proof again from Matthew 25:33-34,

    “The sheep to Jesus’ right are blessed of My Father and they shall be inheriting the kingdom. They are the righteous ones. Jesus said they are His brothers, even those without shelter, water, food, clothing. They’re the righteous who are going away into eternal life.”

    Question is: How are they PRE-blessed that way, and promised the inheritance of that kingdom? How do they become righteous like that?

    For that you have to figure out from the rest of the gospel according to apostle Matthew.

    Not from the Catholic Church Social Teaching. Not from Jim Wallis. Not from Progressive Christianity.

    Good luck with that in your journey as a Christian. Wish me the same, ‘bro.

  • Nowhere in Matthew 25 does Jesus talk about the so-called “fired-up and die-hard followers of THE [or “the”] Christ Jesus of the gospels.” (And don’t elevate the teachings of the epistles above the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The four Gospels are the heart of all scripture. And you certainly don’t understand the Book of Revelation.)

    Let me spell it out for you:

    1. Jesus tells us to obey federal law.

    2. Jesus tells us to obey God.

    3. Jesus tells us to give food, clothing, shelter, etc. to people in need. He says that when we do so, we are feeding, clothing, sheltering, etc. HIM. Jesus does not qualify this instruction. He says nothing about needy people obeying or disobeying federal law. We are to help them and, therefore, HIM. Period.

    4. Jesus says that if we do not help HIM, that is, people in need, we will be judged at the Last Judgement. In other words, Jesus is giving us an order, no exceptions.

    5. Jesus, in other words, tells us to obey federal law and HIM. If we don’t obey HIM, we will be faced with divine judgement.

    6. The lawgiver, Jesus, tells us to obey federal law, but he does not mention judgement. He tells us to give HIM what he needs to sustain life, and he does mention judgement.

    7. When the lawgiver tells us to obey federal law and to obey HIM, who gets our first obedience, Jesus or Trump?

    8. The “righteous” are folks who, when faced with a choice, obey HIM, not “Caesar”, if push comes to shove.

    You don’t get it, and I’m not going to spoon-feed you any further.

  • Tell HPO as I will that the American Revolution was had because americans were paying to much tax to the king of England,and americans werent represented in english parliament and so they revolted(so much for Romans 13),why doesnt he condemn that ?. Romans 13 some scholars hold was a interpolation.Paul was preaching about a person(christ) that was executed as a agitator or rebel.There was also paul talking about a second coming(a rebellion that could be construed by the romans ?)so he had to emphasize pay taxes,loyalty,respect to Cesare to stay off the radar map of suspicious Roman authorities. Paul unlikely would of said that in a liberal democracy

  • No but I have American revolting excess tax to the king of England and the American revolution starting because of it that lead to the great freedom and reality of the USA

  • There are few things more despicable than to use the great poetry of The Bible in service of mere politics, especially when that politics is born of evil men.

  • You apparently can’t read this article, and you certainly can’t read the teachings of Jesus.

  • What? “Nowhere in Matthew 25 does Jesus talk about the so-called ‘fired-up and die-hard followers of THE [or “the”] Christ Jesus of the gospels'”? You sure don’t know your bible, because sure, He did, ‘yo! What’s the matter with you, man?

    Look it. He depicted them (1) as “five … prudent … virgins” in verses 1-2; (2) as “good and faithful slaves” in the 21st verse, just like He did beforehand in Matthew 24:45, calling them “faithful and sensible slaves”; and (3) as “the sheep on His right” in Matthew 25:33. Speaking of the previous chapter, there, too, He pictured them for us (4) as “the ones who endure to the end” (Matthew 24:13); (5) as “His elect” in the 31st verse; and (6) as a pair of “man and woman” being “in the field” but then suddenly “taken”, in verses 40-41.

  • the Vatican was the first soverign state to recognize the legitimacy of nazi germany. many catholic bishops wished the fuehere a happy birthday every april till the end of the war

  • Didnt the Americans break the law by refusing to pay taxes to the British king in the Boston tea revolt ? Didnt the Americans overthrow the lawful authority of the British in the 13 colonies,cause the revolution that led to the great ol USA being formed ?

  • What is this special kind of hate that fuels our “good christians”? Throughout history they have left a trail of blood violence racism intolerance exclusion and of course THEIR WARS. Where was their saint Jesus through all of this? Other than hate they offer nothing but nonsense and tax breaks.

  • That’s old news for which manmade history has been written with no questions asked. (Except by you still for some reason, which, though, I’m trying now to debunk.) So let me in on how corrupt your thinking is going into this fake inquiry. Answer me this question first, if you have what it takes to pursue a decent line of inquiry. I’m using your own format of question, if you’ll notice, so as to make fun of it and at the same time have fun with it. Ready? Here goes:

    “Didnt the Americans [the British and the citizens of the rest of NATO nations] overthrow the lawful authority of the [Yugoslavian government], cause the revolution that led to the great ol [Croatia, Slovenia, Northern Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo] being formed? … Didnt the [U.S., U.K. and NATO] break the law … and the[ir] people ignored it?”

    Answer that first for me if you wanna go for a back-and-forth with me. Gamed?

  • Absolutely they did,just like Americans ignored the law during the prohibition against alcohol in the 1920s. I dont support countries with no borders or unvetted or endless immigration,I would of voted for Trump in 2016 but Im Canadian. My point is Romans 13.Romans 13 may be a interpolation but if not ,you have to look at its historical context. Paul was preaching about a person(Christ) whom Roman authorities executed as a rebel/agitator/threat.Paul is now on the Romans radar map.Is Paul in preaching about this agitator,a threat to Rome as well ? Paul was also preaching about Christs second coming,and that Christ was lord or king (another caesar ?). So in order to get the heat off of himself and stay off the radar map,Paul had to state—pay your taxes,obey government a.k.a Caesar,so the Roman authorities would not of been on his case. If Paul lived in a liberal democracy,he would of not spoke of that. AS well recall protest against the Vietnam War,a unecessarry intervention that cost so many lives to be lost for nothing.

  • Okay, you might have finally goaded me to respond to your profound ignorance of biblical hermeneutics. And please, please don’t ever mention the godless an despicable Colbert on this topic anymore, as he is biblically stupid and unqualified to speak in any capacity on this subject.

    Colbert, for instance, would negate the entire passage about Christians’ relationship to government. But he obviously did not note the paragraph change at verse 8, a complete change in topic which relates to debts of all kinds. Christians are not supposed to carry huge debts, except metaphorically to love one another, which undeserved love is the fulfillment of the law. In absolutely NO WAY does that text mean we are to put sentimentalism above our duty to obey the governing authorities. That would be chaos and stupidity.

    Additionally, the text is primarily aimed at those who are already Christians and the Christian church as a whole. People who are not Christians cannot meet this standard [love for neighbor, that is], but only those who have been born again spiritually and are empowered by the Holy Spirit within them.

    If Colbert wants to quote Scripture out of context [having nothing to do with the crass use of the text for political purposes], why did he not quote verse 11ff:

    “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness [think behavior of Democrats and liberals there] and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry [Colber’s show] and drunkenness [a party at Colbert,’s, for instance], not in lewdness and lust [Democrats’ foundation of most everything], not in strife and envy [like Colbert’s profoundly ignorant/stupid attacks]. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”

    He didn’t read that part, eh?

    Finally, Session’s statement and use of Romans 13: 1-8, was spot on when, as it was, directed at the parents [if they really are] of the children who so easily chose to not wait in line but to enter illegally. He was spot on in his application of his comment. It was NOT an endorsement of separating families. Only the Democrat jaundiced mind could make it so.

  • This has nothing to do with the “‘Splainer;” this is an apologetic for liberalism and their moral debauchery.

  • The Hermenuetic Loop is not linear as is your response. Its purpose is to engage to further understanding without an end. Yes I do possess profound ignorance but it is only stupid through your lens. Unfortunately you use your understanding to spew fiery darts which my faith provides armor.

    Your argument smacks of Pharisaical understanding, who by the way was part off the audience of Yeshua’s words.

  • Well this is a nice surprise.

    Actually, though, Matthew 22:15-22 started it all for apostle Paul to write up Romans 13.

    Ergo: Listen up, Christians. You better render immigration & all other social issues of the day to Caesar, Trump & Trudeau, but never the matters of the gospel kingdom! But you better render all the matters of the gospel kingdom to God & Jesus, but never the matters of immigration & all other social issues of the day.

    U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has got that right.

  • or the church added the entire passage later, after paul died, for obvious reasons.

  • You’re engaging in eisegesis vis-a-vis Jesus’ instruction to his followers to help people in need.

  • Prove it. Verse by verse. The way I’ve been doing.

    Use The Catechism of the Catholic Church, I don’t care.

  • “Use the Catechism of the Catholic Church, I don’t care.”

    If you “don’t care,” neither do I care about using the CCC.

    “Prove it. Verse by verse. The way I’ve been doing.”

    No, I’m not going to “prove it” the way you’ve “been doing.”

    Why? Because you’ve been “doing” it wrong. That’s why.

  • “Pericopes”, my foot!

    No, according to Matthew 24:3-4, what happened was (and this set off one narrative after another around the common theme of Judgment Day, as recorded in chapters 24 and 25):

    “As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will things happen that will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ And Jesus answered and told them” this and that story, including the one about “The Least of These Disciples of His”.

    And then, according to Matthew 26:1-2:

    “When Jesus had finished all these words, He said to His disciples, ‘You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion.'”

    Don’t you get it? Those were no pericopes at all!

  • Right. Titus 3:1, 9 – “Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed … But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.”

  • “‘Pericopes’, my foot!”

    “There were no pericopes at all!”

    It’s quite apparent you do not know about biblical scholarship and exegesis.

  • An invention of Babylonian rabbis (who called them parashah) re-invented by the Early Church Wolves I mean Fathers, pericopes have all been “reduced to the regular gospel and epistolary lessons for the different Sundays”. That explains why, throughout church history, they “could not long satisfy the Church.” (Except Catholics like Joseph Jaglowicz who don’t know their bible, unfortunately.) Many “have sought to remedy this defect”, but only to end up with “the adoption of new series of pericopes”.

    Source: McClintock and Strong Biblical Cyclopedia, “Pericope”.

  • Joseph with humility, in Christianities first two centuries we see not even a hint of Universalism. Origen was probably the most notable to raise the concept in his writings ἀποκατάστασις, apokatastasis, (the restoration of all beings to their original state in God) . His writings were heavily chastised by Theophilus of Alexandria, he rebuked him sternly. A little earlier Ireneaus , Basil The Great, Cyril of Jerusalem said ” for most people Hell would be their final eternal destination”. Augustine in City of God, dealt with Universalism very aggressively. A little later at the Fifth Ecumenical Council at Constantinople (553), it was condemned in no uncertain words: “If anyone says or thinks that the punishment of demons and of impious men is only temporary, and will one day have an end, and that a restoration (ἀποκατάστασις) will take place of demons and of impious men, let him be anathema.” The heretical dogma was never considered orthodox, “right faith, right belief” by The Church, and was condemned vigorously every time it raised its head. God Bless Joseph

  • I’m distinguishing between the doctrines of apokatastasis, on the one hand, and universal salvation, on the other hand. The former includes the idea that God will save the demons; the latter does not. The Church has never condemned the doctrine of universal salvation. The Church has never proclaimed any souls to be in hell.

  • I’m not certain you even understand what I’ve been discussing. A pericope is merely a selection from a longer work (in this context, one of the canonical gospels) that contains a lesson. You appear “lost” in our exchanges. Good luck.

  • “Nothing contrary”? Pericopes have made you deaf and sightless toward the Christ speaking in front of you from Matthew 24 to 26. No wonder you don’t know your bible.

  • Actually that was meant for you. That you should “avoid foolish [pericopes], for they are unprofitable and worthless.”

    As for Putin’s religion, he’s a progressive like you. Listen to yourself:

    “[One’s own faith] is a very personal question, and it is hard to talk about it in public … In my view, every man is born with faith in God, but different people only begin to realize this at different times in their lives. … [Even] confirmed atheists going over the trenches during World War II thought about God … Extreme situations bring out the faith in everyone.”

    Source: Vladimir Putin, quoted from Direct Line Q&A in Moscow on June 7, 2018, and zLp, in RT, June 7, 2018, “What Putin said about ‘when he started to believe in God'”.

  • So I (and presumably others) “should ‘avoid foolish [pericopes], for they are unprofitable and worthless”???

    Pericopes are sacred scripture.

    Me thinks you’ve no understanding of this subject-matter.

  • Pericopes are sacred scripture. If you have objections to them, complain to Jesus and the Gospel writers. (You do know Jesus, do you not???)

  • Local Catholic parishioners and I spent 3 1/2 years reading, discussing and, by me mostly, critiquing their pericopes. While they found these gimmicks conveniently packaged for their application to certain isolated passages from their bible to be read at Mass, they couldn’t tell me what Jesus or His first apostles and disciples were trying to say to them through those verses. Just like you. You’ve got your pericopes making truth-claims about certain passages in Matthew 25; but when I revealed to you the fullness of Jesus’ gospel teaching recorded in chapters 24 to 26, you pleaded ignorance & dullness in hearing the real truth. So be it.

  • So:

    (1) “What was ever wrong about talking about [pericope] in the first place? The word ‘pericope’ is in any case a legacy of the kind of form-critical approach to the Gospels that we have all long-since abandoned. [The Anglican] Austin Farrer so disliked that kind of atomistic approach that he used to talk about ‘paragraph criticism’, noting that he was quite happy to look at isolated paragraphs but that, in the end, it was the Gospel as a whole that rewarded careful, critical study.”

    (2) And that’s your problem. You don’t know your bible because you only know your Catholic pericopes, such as a Lectionary. “A Lectionary is composed of the readings and the responsorial psalm assigned for each Mass of the year (Sundays, weekdays, and special occasions). The readings are divided by the day or the theme (baptism, marriage, vocations, etc.) rather than according to the books of the Bible. Introductions and conclusions have been added to each reading. Not all of the Bible is included in the Lectionary. Individual readings in the Lectionary are called pericopes, from a Greek word meaning a ‘section’ or ‘cutting.’ Because the Mass readings are only portions of a book or chapter, introductory phrases, called incipits, are often added to begin the Lectionary reading”.

    Source: (1) Mark Goodacre, “Pericopes, passages or paragraphs?”, NT Blog, July 31, 2013. (2) United States Conference of Catholic Bishop, “Liturgy: Questions about the Scriptures used during Mass: What’s the difference between a Bible and a Lectionary?”

  • To repeat for your (hopeful) benefit: A pericope *is* sacred scripture. It is not an interpretation. It is a delineated portion of scripture, e.g., Lk 15:8-10 or Mt 25:31-46, which conveys a divine lesson. It might be a parable; it might not be a parable. In these two examples, the “truth-claim” is self-evident — even today! The “truth-claim” in your assertion does not require reading chapters 24 and 26, much less all of Lk 15 or all of Mt 25.

    A pericope cannot be critiqued: It *is* the scriptural text itself! The meaning or lesson of a pericope can be ascertained from the scriptural text itself. For example, the two-part lesson of Mt 25:31-46 is very much evident in vv. 45-46: (1) the person in need *is* the Lord, and (2) the “righteous” are those who did help the Lord and, therefore, will go to eternal life.

    You are way off base. So be it.

  • You know what your serious spiritual problem is? You don’t know your bible because:

    (1) “Lectionaries are organized on a three-year cycle … Unfortunately, this means that Catholics skip around and do not read major portions of these books. … [And] there is often no thematic relationship between the readings. … An inherent problem in any lectionary is what’s left out.”

    (2) “Post-Vatican II lectionaries … can even hinder the development of faith. … A Gospel lesson will frequently contain two pericopes that are unrelated to each other. … The RCL [Revised Common Lectionary] sometimes proposes texts that are superficially ‘at odds’ with each other, creating theological tensions that the [reader] must then attempt to solve or leave unaddressed. … Reading portions of Scripture without exposition to people … can often have the effect of confirming their nascent mistrust of the Bible.”

    Source: (1) David Philippart, “How are the Sunday readings chosen? (After the 16th-century Council of Trent, all the readings and prayers for Mass had been collected in a single book called the Roman Missal)”, U.S. Catholic: Faith in Real Life, August 2005. (2) Matthew S.C. Olver, “Why the RCL is killing churches, and what you can do about it”, Living Church (Episcopalian), July 1, 2016.

  • What is “know[ing] your bible”? How does “know[ing] your bible” make one a better Christian?

    Regarding your two references:

    (1) Most Christians (at least those who still attend weekend services) do not read scripture, i.e., the OT and NT, during the week. This is a reality. Most Christians do not attend weekday or midweek services. This is a reality.

    (2) What is “the development of faith”? Is it being able to “quote scripture”? Is it reading all of scripture during the year? Is it treating all people, regardless of their legal or other status, as fellow children of God, as Jesus in disguise?

  • Your final point-by-point rebuttal, please, for your own good. For as you’ve been made aware by people like you, your pericope-driven religious education:

    (1) Has a major “defect”.

    (1.1) Is limited and “reduced to the regular gospel and epistolary lessons for the different Sundays”.

    (1.2) Relies on “isolated paragraphs”, not on a “careful, critical study” of scriptures.

    (1.3) Make you “skip around and … not read major portions of [bible] books.”

    (1.4) Leaves you with no idea of what “thematic relationship between the readings” there is, because the “lesson will frequently contain two pericopes that are unrelated to each other.”

    (1.5) Resorts to “texts that are superficially ‘at odds’ with each other, creating theological tensions that [you] must then attempt to solve or leave unaddressed.”

    (1.6) Internalizes the “inherent problem in any lectionary [which] is what’s left out” of it.

    (2) Makes you study “portions of Scripture without exposition”, thereby “confirming [your] nascent mistrust of the Bible.”

    (4) Forces you to employ a “form-critical approach to the Gospels that [has long been] abandoned.”

    (5) Can’t “long satisfy the Church.”

    (6) Does “hinder the development of faith.”

    Source: (a) McClintock and Strong Biblical Cyclopedia, “Pericope”. (b) Mark Goodacre, “Pericopes, passages or paragraphs?”, NT Blog, July 31, 2013. (c) David Philippart, “How are the Sunday readings chosen? (After the 16th-century Council of Trent, all the readings and prayers for Mass had been collected in a single book called the Roman Missal)”, U.S. Catholic: Faith in Real Life, August 2005. (d) Matthew S.C. Olver, “Why the RCL [Revised Common Lectionary] is killing churches, and what you can do about it”, Living Church (Episcopalian), July 1, 2016.

  • What happened to my reply from last night???

    In the meantime, I return to my original presentation of Jesus’ teaching relevant to Trump and Sessions’ behaviors. I quoted Mt 25:31-46 where Jesus tells us that *among* (for sake of clarity here) the “righteous” are people who feed, clothe, welcome, and otherwise help folks in need, including “strangers”. Jesus says that in doing so, they are feeding, clothing, welcoming, and otherwise helping HIM. Jesus, in other words, self-identifies with THEM.

    You responded by mentioning virgins et al as the “righteous”, a tactic which, in retrospect, does not contradict Jesus’ instructions in Mt 25. Yet, you tried to set these two categories of the “righteous” in opposition to each other when, in fact, the “righteous” include ALL of the good people that Jesus has identified, whether virgins et al or helpers of folks in need.

    You also decried the use of pericopes. Such is your right. Mainline Christian churches, however, have found them quite helpful in proclaiming important teachings of Jesus.

    If I have the opportunity, I’ll try to re-post my earlier reply.

    EDIT (23 minutes later): I’ve re-posted my earlier reply.

  • Here’s my earlier reply which was missing 18 minutes ago:

    I asked, “‘What is “know[ing] your bible'”? How does “‘know[ing] your bible’ make one a better Christian?”

    I also asked, “What is ‘the development of faith’? Is it being able to ‘quote scripture’? Is it reading all of scripture during the year? Is it treating all people, regardless of their legal or other status, as fellow children of God, as Jesus in disguise?”

    Please answer my questions.

    (1) ???

    (1.1) Nothing wrong with current practice. The lectionaries give us important teachings in sacred scripture over a 3-year cycle. Homilies/sermons can be too long. Speak longer than 15 minutes? (snore…) Folks may not complain to their clergy; like customers, they just don’t come back.

    (1.2) Matter of opinion. So-called “isolated paragraphs” in the canonical gospels, for example, include key teachings of Jesus, e.g., Lk 15:8-10 and Mt 25:31-46. The gospels are the heart of all Christian scriptures; I give them rightful priority.

    (1.3) Some apparently see a problem here; I don’t. Different people approach scripture study in different ways.

    (1.4) I wasn’t aware of this so-called “problem”. Perhaps I’ve been lucky in the past to have decent preaching on Sundays.

    (1.5) Ditto.

    (1.6) Ditto.

    (2) Where has this writer been??? Seriously. “Nascent distrust of the Bible”??? Give me a break.

    (4) (You left out “3”.) I’m not going to enter into any discussion of biblical criticism, i.e., “scientific study”, of the Bible. I see its value; perhaps you don’t?

    (5) Matter of opinion.

    (6) How?

  • That was not part of the Ecumenical Council^s documents. They were attached to that Ecumenical Council centuries latter,from a regional council. As far as Ecumenical Councils go most of what they taught was Fallible with a capitol F.

  • The teaching proscribed regarding God saving demons were not part of the 5th Ecumenical Council at Constantinople. They were teachings attached to it centuries latter from a smaller regional council hailed before near the same time. Also Augustine and Athanasius back then didnt believe in the infallibilty of Ecumenical councils which the councils themselves never claimed.

  • Thanks for some background (admittedly, this is not an area with which I am very familiar). It would seem that the doctrine of universal salvation makes absolute sense in that God is Love, Love is self-sacrifice to help other(s) without expectation of anything in return, and one aspect of love is forgiveness, which Jesus instructed his followers to *initiate* without “the other” necessarily expressing repentance (I recall a writer noting the psychological truth that forgiveness benefits the person doing the forgiving, not necessarily or at all the one being forgiven). Another aspect is mercy, which I’ve concluded is that wonderful mix of forgiveness and kindness. Folks who stress FEAR of God, both ordinary and existential, cannot love God since love and FEAR are incompatible: we cannot love whom we FEAR. FEAR, of course, is also a means of control. Problem is it breeds resentment and negative behaviors. Thanks!

  • You’re changing the subject. There is no contradiction between enforcing our border and welcoming people in need as taught by Jesus.

  • You are changing the subject. There is no contradiction between enforcing our border, on the one hand, and helping people in need as taught by Jesus, on the other.

  • i. If you “know your bible” (and you don’t), you’d know what THE Christ Jesus of the gospels, epistles and revelation – as well as His 1st apostles and disciples – were all thinking, hoping, teaching, demanding and working toward, with regards to you and your life (and everybody else and their lives, for that matter). And that’s how “‘know[ing] your bible’ make[s you and keeps you] … a … Christian”. It strengthens/increases – not “hinders” – a Christ-centred faith – the only kind of “the development of faith” that you’d want and God & Jesus would want from you – un-“hinder[ed]”! It’ll make you a fired-up & die-hard follower of God & Jesus yet!

    ii. By relying on “isolated paragraphs” and not on a “careful, critical study” of scriptures, “[you] give them rightful priority”?! “Skip[ping] around and … not read[ing] major portions of [bible] books” is how you’d “approach scripture study”?! And so, left with no idea of what “thematic relationship between the readings” there is, because the “lesson will frequently contain two pericopes that are unrelated to each other” – you, therefore, consider yourself “lucky … to have decent preaching on Sundays”?!

    iii. Good to know, I was about to say, that a “nascent distrust of the Bible” ain’t no issue you’re having; and that I’ll hold you to that at St. RNS from now on, whenever reviewing your comments on, well, scriptures. I change my mind upon reading this next line from you: “I’m … going [however] to enter into … biblical criticism, i.e., ‘scientific study’, of the Bible [because] I see its value”! (Unless, of course, you can name me 3 proponents of “biblical criticism, i.e., ‘scientific study’, of the Bible”, whose “nascent distrust of the Bible” doesn’t influence them in any way, shape or form.)

  • 1. Of course, I know the Bible. I can’t quote scripture by book, chapter, and verse in most cases, but I’m knowledgeable of Christian doctrine. According to you, “know[ing] your bible’ make[s you and keeps you] … a … Christian”. It makes one a Christian? No, faith makes one a Christian, and “knowing the Bible” as understood by you doesn’t per se guarantee that one will decide to become a Christian. I dare say most converts in mission lands did not hear or read all the Bible before baptism; they heard the main themes, loved what they learned, and sought admission to the church. There are non-Christian scholars, for example, who “know the Bible” quite well but remain Jewish, Muslim, etc. There are Christian scholars who “know” the Old Testament as well as the New Testament but do not become Jews.

    2. Christian scholars do not “skip around” scripture to locate “isolated paragraphs”. By virtue of their “knowing the Bible” inside and out, they search for sections that best illustrate God’s involvement in human affairs. While the Gospel as a whole, for instance, is the “Good News” delivered by Jesus and is paramount among all Christian scripture, there are various themes that stand out in terms of exemplifying how God wants people to conduct themselves (including, for example, attending to the needs of “strangers” such as Jesus, a divine instruction — based on your earlier comments — that you appear to reject by your limiting the “righteous” to virgins et al and not also to people who provide food, etc. to illegal immigrants with whom Jesus self-identifies).

    As for those occasions when a lectionary for a particular weekend has “two pericopes that are unrelated to each other,” it is up to the preacher to decide which one better illustrates God’s challenge to us in terms of Christian living. For instance, if you were a preacher confronted with Mt 25:31-46 and Titus 3:1,9, how would you handle the apparent contradiction today? I know how you would handle it: you would effectively “pick and choose” the scripture that makes the most sense to you. You would echo Jeff Sessions. Never mind that the Gospel takes absolute priority over an epistle. On the other hand, you could tell your congregation just what I’ve written and that, while they must obey the law, they must also welcome the “stranger” with whom Jesus self-identifies. You could mention that life sometimes presents us with contradictions in terms of living the Christian life, that life is not always a simple “black-and-white”.

    3. Regarding biblical criticism, I endorse the statements from the Pontifical Biblical Commission on the subject. Regarding your criticism of even “3 proponents of “‘biblical criticism, i.e., “scientific study”, of the Bible'”, allow me, please, to remind you that when you point your index finger toward others, three of your other fingers are pointing back to you! You are accusing them of ” a “nascent distrust of the Bible” when there is no basis for your doing so. “Remove the plank from your own eye…” In our earlier exchanges, you yourself have demonstrated an apparent “distrust of the Bible” by rejecting Mt 25:31-46 FROM THE GOSPEL in favor of another part of scripture FROM OUTSIDE THE GOSPEL!!! To put it another way, you have rejected a key teaching from Jesus himself. Shame on you.

  • Are Immigration Judges and Administrative Law Judges the same? Maybe not:

    “The level of judicial independence that should be granted to administrative adjudicators has historically been a subject of great controversy.

    “Unlike a United States District Court judge, an immigration judge’s authority is not derived from Article III of the Constitution, which establishes the Judicial Branch. Article III grants United States District Court judges, United States Appellate Court judges and United States Supreme Court judges the highest degree of judicial independence — their appointments are made for life-tenure and must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. In contrast, Administrative Law Judges, who adjudicate a variety of matters for different agencies such as the Social Security Administration, derive their power through Congressional legislation. The Administrative Procedures Act of 1946 granted Administrative Law Judges a lesser but still substantial degree of judicial independence — Administrative Law Judges are not evaluated by the agency in which they conduct hearings and may only be fired for good cause after an independent hearing process, a slightly weaker form of tenure than granted to federal judges under Article III.

    “Immigration Court judges currently have less judicial independence than Administrative Law Judges. According to current Justice Department rules, immigration judges are ‘attorneys whom the Attorney General appoints as administrative judges’ and are appointed to act ‘as the Attorney General’s delegates in the cases that come before them.’ The rules also state that ‘In deciding the individual cases before them … immigration judges shall exercise their independent judgment and discretion'” (http://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/194/include/side_4.html).

  • Just sad that the quote from the Bible Sessions used is this from Romans and not this one from Exodus 23:9, “Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger (Foreigner): for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

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