The Government of the United States is required to be neutral on religion. Here we have the top law enforcement officer in the United States, the US Attorney General quoting the Bible in the setting of US immigration policy. This is total against the US Constitution as the Bible can’t be used to set US Policy. Now we have Catholic Nuns saying the Policy is against the Bible. The separation of Church and State is becoming an allusion. We need to return to a secular Government making policies that are based on secular humanism treatment of people and children.
I understand the confusion. But, Senator Sessions tried to use a Bible passage to quell dissent, not set to policy.
The nuns are correct; the message from the Scriptures is that “you are to treat the foeigner as you would a citizen.” “For you were once slaves, too…” is the rationale. That’s more like the policy you want, and you might be surprised how “progressive” the OT is on this topic. Good policies contain the seeds of their own warrant.
He is not Senator any longer. He is the Attorney General of the United States in-charge of making US immigration policy. He is setting US policy using the Bible, very unconstitutional. I can’t believe I am watch dueling bible verses being used to debate US immigration policy. Where did our secular government go?
I can appreciate interest in immigration news but is this a good forum for politics?
…Regards, your friendly, neighborhood tone policeman.
Probably not. But I think Patrick’s point was less about the politics of the immigration policy, than about the fact that people (one of them a govt. official, and the other not) were quoting the Bible in defense or in opposition to the policy. This does seem to be consistent with the FFRF view of the separation of Church and State, which is that nothing related to religion may ever be said, quoted, written or used in any way in any relation to any aspect of government. Of course, that (in my opinion) is absurd, and amounts to abridgement of free speech and freedom of religion. Government officials (as I was until recently) are not forbidden by law or any rule to discuss religion. Obama and all Presidents quoted Scripture, and the Senate has a Chaplain, and so on. So I disagree with Patrick’s condemnation of AG Sessions use of Scripture on Constitutional grounds, but I totally agree on religious grounds, (and with the nun) that this distortion of Christian teachings is abhorrent.
As Christians, we have as much right to quote our Bibles as atheists do to quote Nietszche, or whatever source they find persuasive. It’s freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, that’s guaranteed by the Constitution.
I was showing our friend, Patrick, how the biblical position on these issues agree with his point of view more than he knows. No “tone policing” needed.
Are you not concerned about Sessions quoting the Bible in support of a highly controversial law? If Sessions is going to promote such a law, let him do it without implicating the Bible. It should be justifiable on its own. Certainly, many Christians disagree with him, and his policy is not a necessary consequence of reading the Bible.
This is not just a FFRF position. I’m just as concerned about this, because it implicates my faith in policies that I do not agree with. We need to be much more reticent to claim spiritual authority in exercise of power. It usually is not right. I see it as “taking God’s name in vain.” This is a very serious error, and should be opposed.
I do and have opposed this, publicly. That Sessions was misusing the passage was my original point. That the nuns correctly clarified the biblical position was the other. I’m pretty sure even Patrick knows I agree with him on that. That said, it’s not illegitimate for the nuns to correct Sessions for misusing the passage. Dailogue about the Scriptures need not be excluded from the public square. Cheers!
@Patrick, you are objecting to Sessions, not the nuns, right?
Of course I am objecting to Sessions. I agree with the nuns 100%. My primary grip with Sessions is that he is the top law enforcement officer in the country. He must enforce the law while being neutral regarding religion. When he quotes the Bible for justification in doing his job, he is breaking the law. The laws of the United States are secular and must be neutral on religion.
I find it repulsive for him to using a bible verse to justify harming children. Most of these children’s parents are presumable Catholic as Latin America has been forced to be Catholic more than 500 years now.
Here is another Bible verse for Attorney General of the United States can use to justify the action of the US Customs and Border Patrol:
Numbers 31:17-18 English Standard Version (ESV)
17 Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. 18 But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him keep alive for yourselves.
You and me alike.
I think both @Guy_Coe and I are agreeing.
- It violates neutrality.
- It misuses Scripture.
Both are wrong. Sounds like we all agree.
I don’t think, when a government official cites a Bible passage, nor when he or she quotes Gandhi, Buddha, the Bhagavad Gita, or whatever else, it’s a violation of the Establishment clause. It’s freedom of expression, for which the official risks constituent ire for citing. Sessions misused this Scripture to try to quell dissent, not to guide his public policy decision-making. I agree that random eisegesis looks bad in anyone’s hands --including Patrick’s and mine! And I don’t even think he’d disagree with that. Lifting quotes out of context, for the sake of ridiculing, isn’t really a method of promoting understanding or agreement, but more like an attempt to shame… and we all know what we’re doing if or when we try that.
For a top government official quoting the Bible gives the impression that somehow the Bible has some standing with regard to US Law. The Bible has absolutely no standing in the our laws and policies. We have a godless Constitution for a reason - to prevent someone like Sessions to use their God and Holy Book to justify heinous acts against a minority group. By having the AG of the US quoting the Christian Bible he is giving authority to one religion over all other religions as well as no religion. I was happy to see the nuns fire back as these kids were mostly Catholic.
So, if a government official cites Dr. Suess in a public address, he or she is “giving authority to,” what, one children’s author over another? See the ridiculousness of that view? It’s freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Our Constitution is no more “godless” than it is “godful.”
Sessions is pandering to his base - the Evangelical Christians in the South who see immigrants as ruining this country. This is the same group who fought racial integration. Also the same group who is fighting LGBT rights and abortion rights. I am not the least bit surprised to hear Sessions quoting the Bible. He is playing to his base.
For which he risks national ire. Add to his list of “sins” being a really short-sighted gambler! One constituency does not a policy justify.
Obviously, not a good choice for AG. The proof is in the pudding. Although, to be fair, you should ad “illegal” (immigrants) to the charge, as that is the phrase that allows this conceptual menace to sneak in their door.
Sessions was quoting the Bible to justify US policy that he is responsible for enforcing. If he was a Senator or a Congressman using Bible quotes to debate US policy, that would be protected free speech. But Sessions is the top law enforcement officer in the United States - he is forbidden by the establishment clause of the Constitution to use the Bible to justify US Policy. Don’t you see the difference between freedom of expression by an individual and illegal religious entanglement by a high-level Government Official? This is as egregious a violation as it gets.
I see it as egregious, too, but for different reasons.
I don’t know what crimes that these children committed? How about we label them “poor refugee children” and treat them with basic human empathy and compassion. I can’t believe that an atheist is arguing for the US Government to be Christian-like to poor young children and a Christian Attorney General is justifying harming children and leaving the UN Commission on Human Rights while using the Christian Bible to justify these actions.