Trump Admin: Bible Supports Family Separation Policy

on June 12, 2018 in McAllen, Texas.
John Moore

Remarkable discussion today from Jeff Sessions and Sarah Sanders explaining why the Bible supports aggressive enforcement of the administration’s family separation policy.

Here’s Jeff Sessions, who went first.

And here’s Sarah Sanders responding to that argument.

A good place to start on this discussion is that we don’t govern ourselves by the dictates of the Bible. But even on its own terms this is a pretty weak argument. The Bible is replete with injunctions against gratuitous cruelty inflicted on the weak. It even has explicit passages enjoining good treatment of immigrants! The reference is to Paul’s Letter to the Romans in which Paul says that everyone should “subject themselves to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.”

This is a controversial and highly contested passage and there are good reasons to believe Paul had historically contingent reasons for making this argument. Indeed, numerous Christian movements have been based on the clear rejection of this view. Paul foresaw the imminent end of the world. He saw no point in courting persecutions against nascent Christian congregations. But the most noteworthy point is that the passage doesn’t say what either Sessions or Sanders claims.

This is a quietist argument. Subject yourself to whoever is in lawful authority. It’s deliberately indifferent to the righteousness or morality of their rule. It simply says that they’re in charge because God wills it. It says nothing about the aggressive enforcement of the law. Nor is this some picayune technicality. Because enforcement of the law, what the law is goes directly to whether it is right and just, a point Paul intentionally ignores.

In any case, you can ‘enjoy’ the moral tawdriness of this latest argument on a number of different levels.

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