From Dean Kelly Brown Douglas:
The word of God shall not be betrayed!
Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the administration’s unconscionable policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S. border by exploiting the bible. Session’s statement calls to mind the many instances in U.S. history in which the bible has been misused to justify what may be legal, but entirely inhumane, practices against black and brown people.
Chafing at the way his ‘church friends’ are urging him to abandon this vulgar policy, the Attorney General stated, “Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. 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.”
The use of Romans 13 is familiar to anyone acquainted with our nation’s long history of cruelty. Indeed, it is a key text in the theology used by slaveholders – both in Sessions’ native Alabama and beyond – to legitimize the institution of slavery and to silence dissenters. Then too, there were “church friends” who voiced their disagreement with the government’s appalling laws.
The Attorney General’s statement reveals the misguided theology of this administration. Theirs is a theology that violates the sacred dignity of all human beings as it betrays God’s concern for the “very hairs on every human head.” The time is now for faith leaders to claim the courage of God’s love and stand with those who are victimized by such sinful laws. It is only in doing this that we can move closer to the just earth that God promises us all. This is the work we are called to do as churches and faith communities. This administration’s violent practices must end. And we cannot be consoled until they do!