The virulently racist Attorney General is getting a well-earned biblical smackdown from his own church—and he could be kicked out for good.
You may remember earlier this month when a stern but giddy Jeff Sessions defended Trump’s policy of ripping migrant children from their parents and tossing them into cages by citing the holy bible:
AG Jeff Sessions on immigration policy: Illegal entry into the US is a crime; “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 the government for his purposes.” https://t.co/dARdLrNPbW pic.twitter.com/nu5EWCWlJW
— CNN (@CNN) June 14, 2018
“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 the government for his purposes,” Sessions twanged, “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent and fair application of the law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak and protects the lawful.”
The full quote—which has a shameful history in the United States, being invoked to justify everything from fealty to the British crown to slavery to a condemnation of Black Lives Matters—reads like this:
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same.
You can see why racists, authoritarians, and white supremacists love it so much.
But Sessions’ blasphemous invocation of God to defend racist brutality touched a nerve with his church, the United Methodists. According to CBS News, over 600 church members—including hundreds of clergy—have filed “church law” charges against the Attorney General.
*JEFF FOXWORTHY VOICE*
WHEN YOUR WHOLE CHURCH FILES CHARGES AGAINST YOU… https://t.co/3Xob5gT8FV
— Jason Gore (@sonicdork) June 19, 2018
Among the charges levied against Sessions by his fellow Methodists are child abuse, immorality, racial discrimination, and “dissemination of doctrines contrary to the established standards of doctrines.”
The letter reads, in part:
While we are reticent to bring a formal complaint against a layperson, Mr. Sessons’ unique combination of tremendous social/political power, his leading role as a Sunday School teacher and former delegate to General Conference, and the severe and ongoing impact of several of his public, professional actions demand that we, as his siblings in the United Methodist denomination, call for some degree of accountability.
The clergy urge Sessons’ own reverends to “dig deeply into [his] advocacy and actions that have led to harm against thousands of vulnerable humans,” in the hopes that Sessions will “work to repair the damage he is currently causing to immigrants, particularly children and families.”
Methodist leader Rev. Susan Henry-Cowe slammed Sessions, saying “The Christ we follow would have no part in ripping children from their mothers’ arms or shunning those fleeing violence. It is unimaginable that faith leaders even have to say that these policies are antithetical to the teachings of Christ.” Amen. Cherry-picking a quote like this from the bible while ignoring the many, many, many exhortations of Christ and lessons from both the old and new testaments to care for strangers and those less fortunate is like saying the entire Star Wars franchise is about how Jar Jar Binks became a senator.
Of course, other prominent Methodists have also criticized Sessions’ religious hypocrisy and racist barbarism recently, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laid a biblical smackdown on him:
Hillary Clinton: “Those who selectively use the Bible to justify this cruelty are ignoring a central tenant of Christianity … [Jesus] did not say, “Let the children suffer.” pic.twitter.com/OTJqShBCAT
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) June 18, 2018
And Methodist former First Lady Laura Bush called the family separation policy “immoral” as well:
In powerful op-ed, Laura Bush, who rarely weighs in on policies of her husband’s successors, calls the Trump family separation policy “immoral” https://t.co/x1fAPESzr3
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) June 18, 2018
While rare, this church procedure could result in Sessions being kicked out of the denomination.
So far over 2,000 children have been taken from their parents and isolated in detention centers as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, and that number is expected to climb.