Christians like Attorney General Jeff Sessions like to smugly recite biblical scripture to promulgate their self-righteous acts of discrimination. In defending Trump’s indefensible policy of separating children from their families-even a child while being breastfed – Sessions cited a passage from 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.”
While clearly Session is no biblical scholar evident in his bastardization of Paul’s message, Session knows Romans 13 is nonetheless used as an edit to obey authority.
The scripture has been used as a text of terror by miscreant thugs in power throughout history: slave owners, Nazi sympathizers, apartheid-enforcers, supporters of Japanese-American internment and loyalists opposed to the American Revolution, to name a few.
Christians like Session are now trying to apply Romans 13 to present-day issues like abortion, taxes and same-sex marriage.
Our LGBTQ community continues to be clobbered with biblical texts to either scare us straight or terrorize our everyday existence.
I recently received a query from a troubled soul in our community.
“I’m a transman. One of my brothers from church asked me this: if being an LGBTQ+ is not a sin because it is part of human diversity then what is? Does that mean we are allowed to do anything that we desire like adultery, incest, prostitution, pornography (just to name a few)? I don’t know how to respond, so please enlighten me regarding this subject matter.”
If Sessions were to respond Romans 13 would be in his arsenal along with the Christian classics of homophobic scriptures, like Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-27, Matthew 19:3-6, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, to name a few.
The Bible is replete with contradictory and damning messages to all people. Determining which messages are discarded and which are upheld is not a battle about biblical inerrancy or God’s will.
It is an unmitigated battle of human will either to uphold justice as Jesus spoke about or to codify discrimination as Session is so fond of doing.
For example, there are two creationist myths in the Bible (Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:22).
The first myth says that God made woman and man simultaneously. The second creation myth is our “rib story” in which Eve is born from a rib of Adam. This story has ribbed and poked at Christian women throughout the centuries since it is the authoritative text for substantiating gender inequity in society.
The Curse of Ham (Genesis 9:18-27), and Apostle Paul’s edict to slaves (Ephesian 6:5-8) served as the scientific and Christian legitimation for the enslavement of people of African ancestry. The Sodom and Gomorrah narrative (Genesis 19:1-29) is one of the most quoted scriptures to argue for compulsory heterosexuality and queer bashing.
My heart aches and soul cries out knowing what’s going on at our country’s southern border. But sadly that’s not the case for many of Trump’s henchmen.
To protect Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy by twisting it into Session’s use of scripture show neither a scintilla of humanity nor a speck of hope for these people seeing asylum. To see children crying and traumatized from being separated from their parents and then held in human cages like criminals is not only an act of moral turpitude but it’s also a pox on the moral integrity of this country.
Legally, it is a universal human right to seek asylum. And, morally, governments have an obligation to come to the aid of those fleeing persecution, a minimum standard any decent government recognizes.
Is it the will of God to devalue and to dehumanize the lives of families and willfully tear children from their parents? While it’s Session’s will to do so, his church is charging him with child abuse and racial discrimination.
Citing Paragraph 2702.3 of the 2016 United Methodist Book of Discipline, 640 members of his church charged Sessions with child abuse, immorality, and racial discrimination.
“As his denomination, we have an ethical obligation to speak boldly when one of our members is engaged in causing significant harm in matters contrary to the Discipline on the global stage,” the church letter states.
Sessions isn’t being held accountable for his heinous acts by the administration. But, he forgets, as a Christian, he will be.