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Don’t spin scripture

June 19, 2018 Letters to the Editor

As a Christian, I am very offended that Attorney General Jeff Sessions invoked the Apostle Paul (Romans 13:1-2) to justify the current administration’s policy to separate children from their parents who are seeking asylum in the United States from horrific circumstances in Central America.

Whether or not claims of refugee status are correct, invoking scripture to support a heinous policy should be a concern for all Christians. One biblical verse in the face of hundreds that address giving mercy, justice, and grace is an egregious case of “proof-texting” and ultimately discredits Christian ideals and the teaching of Christ himself.

To be exact, the verse (correctly cited by Sessions) does not address the enforcing of laws, but rather, the Christian’s duty to obey laws. But if Sessions wants to quote scripture, allow me to quote Acts 5:29, when Peter and the apostles responded to a Sanhedrin command (Jewish authorities empowered to govern Jews and Jewish custom by the Roman government) to stop teaching in the name of Jesus: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” This scripture argues against Sessions’ contention and would require Christians to consider whether all the other verses that address love contravene the actions taken against families at our southern border.

The logic that AG Sessions used in misappropriating scripture would also suggest that the American colonists should not have opposed the British government while demanding their independence. It could also justify the continued enslavement of persons in the South prior to the Civil War. It would argue against allowing women to vote prior to the passage of 19th Amendment, and the continued use of Jim Crow laws to keep African-Americans from voting in the South prior to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s.

And, while invoking logic, it is also worthwhile to note that the law that this administration claims to uphold in utilizing a policy of separating minors from their parents is not a law in and of itself. As Sarah Huckabee Sanders has stated, this action is “the product of a loophole in the laws that the Democrats have left them.” A product of a loophole is not a law but rather, an interpretation of legal argument twice removed from the law, itself — and therefore could be stopped by executive order as President Trump has been more than happy to do in a host of other Democratic policies over the course of the past several months.

The most charitable explanation for this administration’s implementation of this policy is hard-heartedness against all other considerations that Christians would otherwise adhere to.

If such hard-heartedness is what this administration wants to employ with regard to families seeking asylum, that’s the business of politicians who stand by while this policy is being implemented, but please don’t discredit our Lord, and our faith while doing so.

I understand that many Christians will have differing views on all sorts of policies that our government employs, but I would hope that Christians would be united about what our religion stands for and vocally, forthrightly, oppose people who misuse our faith and scripture.