Over 2000 Children have been separated from their parents, which has raised arguments from many Christians, especially in light of Jeff Sessions quote of Romans 13, but I, a Christian, was bothered by something else.
Unless you’ve lived under a rock over the last few days, you have already read/heard reports about the children being separated from their parents at the southern border as a result of our “zero-tolerance” stance on illegal immigration. This has raised heavy debate, especially among Christians, because of the use of Romans 13 by Jeff Sessions as a cornerstone of his speech he gave on June 14, 2018 (full speech can be read here). To be sure, this is a complex and painful situation and I wanted to learn more about what was going on before I formed my opinion. This is what I found out.
“To be clear, there is no official Trump policy stating that every family entering the US without papers has to be separated. What there is is a policy that all adults caught crossing into the US illegally are supposed to be criminally prosecuted — and when that happens to a parent, separation is inevitable.” ~The Trump administration’s separation of families at the border, explained. (2018). Vox. Retrieved 16 June 2018, from https://www.vox.com/2018/6/11/17443198/children-immigrant-families-separated-parents
It is interesting that many of the talking points and headlines don’t mention this, but more importantly, there is no mention of this in conversations on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platforms. I know that there are some that are bringing this up, but the majority of voices we are seeing across our respective feeds are stating the headlines and not many people read beyond that.
Another curiosity I found in the same article, a paragraph well above the fold was this:
“Between October 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018, at least 2,700 children have been split from their parents. 1,995 of them were separated over the last six weeks of that window — April 18 to May 31 — indicating that at present, an average of 45 children are being taken from their parents each day.”~The Trump administration’s separation of families at the border, explained. (2018). Vox. Retrieved 16 June 2018, from https://www.vox.com/2018/6/11/17443198/children-immigrant-families-separated-parents
This is where I really got confused. At the time of this article (both mine and Vox), 1,995 children have been separated BUT 705 didn’t seem to garner the attention that we see now. For me, this is baffling. Where were the media and individuals outrage before this time, and I’m talking about our CURRENT level of outrage? Shouldn’t we be bothered when one small life is torn from the loving arms of their parents? Also keep in mind that this has been going on for a while now, since October 17th, 2017, so, where was our current level of outrage throughout that period? To me, and it’s just that, my opinion, a part of the outrage we see now is because of the numbers game. Keep in mind that I said “a part of the outrage”, and I will get into that a little later.
Ok, so let’s get into what happened recently with a quote from the Justice Department.
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions today notified all U.S. Attorney’s Offices along the Southwest Border of a new “zero-tolerance policy” for offenses under 8 U.S.C. § 1325(a), which prohibits both attempted illegal entry and illegal entry into the United States by an alien. The implementation of the Attorney General’s zero-tolerance policy comes as the Department of Homeland Security reported a 203 percent increase in illegal border crossings from March 2017 to March 2018, and a 37 percent increase from February 2018 to March 2018—the largest month-to-month increase since 2011.” ~Attorney General Announces Zero-Tolerance Policy for Criminal Illegal Entry. (2018). Justice.gov. Retrieved 16 June 2018, from https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/attorney-general-announces-zero-tolerance-policy-criminal-illegal-entry
So, the laws are on the books, and by another law that states that children must be separated from their parent/guardian during the time of prosecution, we see the “fullness” of people ire with regard to another cornerstone of Jeff Sessions reason for the “zero-tolerance” stance that was taken this June.
So, the law(s) exist and all quotes from President Trump and others aside, it is a law. Since it is a law and since we are talking about consequences of breaking said law, we get into the elephant in the room, Jeff Sessions usage of Romans 13:1-7:
“First- illegal entry into the United States is a crime—as it should be. 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.” ~Attorney General Sessions Addresses Recent Criticisms of Zero Tolerance By Church Leaders. (2018). Justice.gov. Retrieved 16 June 2018, from https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/attorney-general-sessions-addresses-recent-criticisms-zero-tolerance-church-leaders
Enter the elephant in the form of Romans 13.
For me, and I’m seeing this all over my social media feed as well as conversations, Jeff Sessions decision is, for the most part, coupled with this Bible passage. Mr. Sesssions is using Romans 13:1-7, which reads:
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” ~Romans 13:1-7
I could go into the whole “spiritual war” thing going on here, how the people and media are really railing against the Word of God, but I won’t, even though I believe it to be true. The Romans passage is quite clear and this “cornerstone” of Mr. Sessions decision seems to be, in part, based on this passage.
I will agree with our President that if we want things to change, we need to, with prayerful consideration, change the law or, at the very least, modify it.
My closing thoughts…
This is not a simple thing we are seeing. I am confused as to why we are seeing all of this virtual hostility now when this has been going on for quite a while. Taking the afore sentence into consideration as well as the paragraphs above, are we really upset with President Trump/Jeff Sessions or the proper usage of the Bible? I leave the last question to you.