Jeff Sessions spoke before law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Indiana yesterday. He used the Bible to defend his department's prosecuting of everyone who crosses the border from Mexico and the separation of children from their parents.
"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,” Sessions said. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent and fair application of the law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak and protects the lawful.”
Sessions' choice of Romans 13 has been called out as an interesting one. John Fea, a professor of American history was quoted as saying, "There are two dominant places in American history when Romans 13 is invoked. One is during the American Revolution [when] it was invoked by loyalists, those who opposed the American Revolution. The second spike you see is in the 1840's and 1850's, when Romans 13 is invoked by defenders of the South or defenders of slavery to ward off abolitionists who believed that slavery is wrong. I mean, this is the same argument that Southern slaveholders and the advocates of a Southern way of life made.”
Fea pointed out that after the Civil War references to Romans 13 became very rare, as the message of submission to authority was seen as un-American.
The day before Sessions' speech, at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, those in attendance had harsh criticism to share of Sessions and his department's policy.
Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, spoke about Jeff Sessions' recent decision to deny asylum to those fleeing domestic or gang violence. DiNardo said, "At its core, asylum is an instrument to preserve the right to life. The Attorney General’s recent decision elicits deep concern because it potentially strips asylum from many women who lack adequate protection. These vulnerable women will now face return to the extreme dangers of domestic violence in their home country. This decision negates decades of precedents that have provided protection to women fleeing domestic violence."
Other bishops raised the possibility of "canonical penalties" to all those involved in the implementation of Sessions' harsh policies. Canonical penalties in this case means that Catholics would be denied Communion. Not much of a penalty if you ask me, but I suppose if you are a believing Catholic it might move you.
This maddening story will make a good addition to my collection of posts involving U.S. politicians playing favorites with Christianity. I am especially reminded of the insanity of Scott Pruitt defending his decision to remove scientists from EPA advisory positions by not only quoting the Bible, but by comparing himself to the Old Testament's Joshua.
Welcome to the United States, where the politicians not only cherry-pick the Bible to justify horrible and ludicrous decisions, but they do it with unfounded arrogance and a lack of compassion for anyone but themselves!