Even as someone ordained as a Christian minister, I must admit that I don’t read my Bible all that often. I’m out of the habit. I was one of those kids who grew up memorizing scripture. I barely remember many of those verses now. I know I’m not the only one.
While most of us hardly know what is really biblical most days, I was struck by the Twitter hashtag that rose to popularity last weekend: #biblical.
On June 14, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told the press, “It is very biblical to enforce the law.” The Twitterverse soon exploded with examples of other things that are biblical – and that our lawmakers might want to consider.
Sanders made her remark in defense of Attorney General Jeff Sessions who had said, “If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally.”
With those words, it is clear to me that Sessions is using evil to deter mothers migrating to the U.S. with their children. He is using the law to do harm to our neighbors.
“Illegal entry into the United States is a crime, as it should be,” he added a few days later. “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.”
That is one view. But #biblical tweets in response to Sessions have quoted other passages such as these:
- Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow (Isaiah 1:17).
- You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things (Romans 2:1).
- Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (James 1:27).
- This is what the Lord Almighty said: “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other’ (Zechariah 7:9–10).
Also in Romans 13 are these verses Sessions failed to cite: Whatever other command there may be, they 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 (verses 9b-10).
The law of the land, as it stands today and is now being interpreted and applied, results in tearing children apart from their parents. That is anything but loving. It is thoroughly harmful. And it is absolutely unbiblical.
A #biblical response must be love. In order to achieve such a response we must act on that love and let our elected leaders know that people of faith will no longer support a misreading of scripture and, more importantly, we will no longer stand by while our government destroys families.
Regardless of how you vote, of which political party you support, or your views on the president, let us join together as people of faith to urge Congress to support the “Keep Families Together Act, S. 3036.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Love is the fulfillment of the law.