Has Jeff Sessions even read The Bible?

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Many of us have been rocked by news coming to us from the border between the U.S. and Mexico that thousands of children have been forcefully taken from their parents when they cross the border illegally. Crossing the border illegally is a federal misdemeanor, and recrossing illegally is a felony.

But there is no law that mandates the separation of families crossing the border illegally.

That atrocity is a result of the “zero-tolerance policy” under the Trump administration and announced by Sessions himself. Sessions used Romans 13:1 “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.” to justify the zero-tolerance policy created by the Trump administration to forcefully take children away from their parents when they crossed the border illegally.

Never mind the separation of Church and State, Sessions’ usage of the Bible is unnecessary, and just plain incorrect. True, Paul, the writer of the letter to the Roman church does indeed say that we are to “be subject to the governing authorities”. But Romans 13 also says;

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8–10)

Jeff Sessions, in taking this scripture out of context, is guilty of doing what his predecessors have done when justifying slavery, manifest destiny, and other atrocities on this soil and others; bastardizing the faith in defense of White Supremacy.

To be clear; The Bible was written for an oppressed people by oppressed people. The story of the children of Abraham is the story of those who were reviled, enslaved, and brutalized, and how God delivered them from it all. And the only supremacy spoken of in scripture is Jesus’ supremacy of us all (Colossians 1:15–20). Colossians 3:11 says “we are all one”, and that no one is above nor below anyone else, therefore making the idea of any supremacy outside of Jesus, heresy and blasphemy.

Not only that but believers in the faith are given direct and specific guidelines to how we treat others, especially those whom the Bile calls “foreigners”. Leviticus 19:33–34 says “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” Over and over again, the Bible is VERY clear that “you shall not oppress the foreigner” (Exodus 22:21/23:9, Leviticus 19:33/23:22/24:22, Deuteronomy 10:19/24:14, Zechariah 7:10)

The Bible is also clear on how we are to treat children. Matthew 18:10 says “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”

The Bible is very clear that, no matter who we engage, we are to do so in a just and kind way, reflective of the just and kind God we serve. Isaiah 1:17 says “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” Ps 82:3–4 says “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Jeremiah 22:3 says “Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.” Or, the short version, in Micah 6:8, it says “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Galatians 5:14 says “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.””

Conversely, there are consequences for those who ignore these commands. In Matthew 25:41–45, where Jesus tells the story of the “sheep and the goats”, He explains why the goats are turned away, saying:

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’”

In Malachi 3:5, it says “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.” Deuteronomy 27:19 says ‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’”

And about those laws Sessions cites when he originally cited Romans 13. These is also a scripture for those who create immoral laws and oppression. Isaiah 10:1–2 says “Woe to those who enact unjust statutes and issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of fair treatment and withhold justice from the oppressed of My people…”

It doesn’t get any more clear than that.

There are numerous scriptures to back up the fair and just treatment of all peoples. For too long, those who would cleave to the ideals of White Supremacy have used The Bible to bludgeon and beat upon the oppressed, the poor, women and people of color, I would say since they got their hands upon it. Constantine co-opted the faith of an oppressed sect of Judaism for his own benefit and restarted the chain of events that would use The Bible as backing for the violence and oppression it clearly speaks against. It has been used by White Supremacists to justify horrors; the invasion of the land we now occupy, the genocide of Native populations, the enslavement of African peoples, the middle passage, the crusades, and countless other feuds, wars, and violence perpetrated on Brown peoples by White peoples “In the name of God.”

And its wrong.

So no, Mr. Sessions.

You cannot use Scripture to defend your immoral, inhumane and unjust policies.

You cannot use what Paul says in Romans 13 about following the law and miss what he says later in that same passage that love fulfills the law.

You cannot use God’s Holy word to justify what Scripture speaks very clearly against.

You cannot pick and choose the parts of the Bible you like to build a case for your immoral argument.

You do not get to treat the Bible as some buffet where you can pick one or two things you like and leave out the rest, omit the canon of scripture that goes completely against your inhumane stance.

You do not get to bastardize my faith with your demonic white supremacy.

So in response to Jeff Sessions citing of Romans 13, I ask, ‘has Jeff Sessions even read The Bible?’

This post was originally shared on The Reclaimed Blog.

Whitney Alese is a writer, podcaster and cultural commentator. Featured in WIRED Magazine (September 2020). She is based in Philadelphia.

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