Joint Public Issues Team Blog

Joint Public Issues Team Blog

Is that really what it says in the Bible?

Posted: 18 Jun 2018 01:45 AM PDT

 Last week, while defending the Trump administration’s immigration policy, Jeff Sessions said:

 “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… Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.” 

This was backed up on Friday by the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders who said:

“I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law. That is repeated throughout the Bible.”

I find it very difficult to see Christians using the bible to justify policy which harms and hurts people.  These two political actors have picked out a couple of quotes from the Bible to justify a policy which rips families apart.  They don’t appear to have looked at the life of Jesus very closely.

While it is important to keep the law to ensure society is safe and fruitful for all, I can’t agree with Jeff Sessions that all ‘orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves’.

Jesus put people before rules.  When someone needed healing, regardless of whether or not it was the Sabbath, Jesus cared for and healed them.  Rules should not be used to impose suffering on the weak and vulnerable, rules should promote the dignity and respect for all people. His example shows us that we cannot be afraid to speak out against unjust laws and to try and reform them.

As Christians it is important not only to be citizens of our countries but to be citizens of the kingdom of God.  Sometimes that means we must speak out against policies which harm the most vulnerable.  It also means that we must challenge the misuse of the Bible to justify political aims which are not modelled on the life and values of Jesus.

The inspiring American Pastors in this video say that when we do so “It’s our duty…to speak truth and humility and love”. Watch them as they reclaim the name of Jesus:

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