New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand rebuked the "devil's schemes" associated with the new immigration policy that separates children from their parents at the United States border.
"If you were talking in Christian language," this new policy would qualify as biblically evil, the Democrat says in a recent episode of POLITICO's Off Message podcast.
"Yes, these are all things that come from the darkness that are ripping children from their mothers' arms. That's outrageous. I mean; that is not a positive, good thing. It is an evil, dark thing," Gillibrand says.
"It's not specifically about the president. It's about ideas that are evil. It's about darkness, which is rooted in hate," Gillibrand says. "There's a lot of ideas right now that are in this county that are dark ideas: building walls, dividing this country, marginalizing trans [military] members who are troops, marginalizing kids who are transgender, not supporting DACA kids, literally polluting our air and our water."
The policy, announced earlier this year, separates children and parents who have crossed into the United States illegally. Parents will be criminally charged and sent directly to federal court, Time reports. Children in turn will be sent to the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement, which works with shelters or relatives in the U.S.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the policy by citing Romans 13.
"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," Sessions said. "Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful."
Other Christians, like Gillibrand, find the harsh stance to be against biblical commandments. Politico reports Gillibrand is the only Democratic senator who attends three Bible study sessions on the Hill each week, and really is the only Democrat who attends the Wednesday group convened by Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford.
To fight the policies on a spiritual level, she's clinging to Ephesians 6, which includes putting on the armor of God.
But she's far from the only Christian to believe that the policy needs to be reconsidered, especially from a biblical standpoint.
"While Sessions may take the Bible seriously in this situation, he has demonstrated he is no theologian, says Johnnie Moore, an unofficial evangelical adviser to President Donald Trump.
His statement continues:
In seminary, we call this use of the Bible "proof texting"—which is to selectively use a part or portion of scripture to justify a point outside of its immediate or greater theological context.
Our Bible is absolutely sympathetic to the vulnerable (and children and certain immigrants are certainly among the most vulnerable, among others, of course) AND the Bible takes a strong position on civil authority and law. I love immigrants, refugees and migrants because God does, and I also believe in God-ordained civil authority.
When you properly balance both you get justice.
But, the key syllable of the word "justice" is "JUST."
Biblical justice is equitable and reasonable. It is surely strong but fair and compassionate. Most importantly Biblical justice is meant to repair society, not break it. It takes into account the long term effects and implications of law on community and when it requires punishment that punishment is mainly related to paying back the debt one owes to society for a particular wrong committed.
In other words, Justice is meant to be rehabilitative, and makes a way to redeem the cost of a wrong, to heal or repair a community fractured by a wrong.
Then, there's also the authority given to—what we would call—political leaders to protect people from those who would aim to harm them.
Obviously, we do not believe the AG's decision to so willingly and easily separate families is just in either circumstance.
If it actually is the law then it is an unjust law and it should be changed immediately.
What most concerns me about the attorney general in this instance is that he doesn't seem to be wrestling at all. There seems to be no tension here for him. It is hugely alarming how easily he has been willing to separate these families.
Certainly, there are some circumstances where it is appropriate to separate children from parents (violent crime, possible harm, neglect, etc.) but that isn't what's going on here.
But—again—the only real solution to all of these issues is for Congress to fix it, permanently, and they should have done it 10 years ago. Theirs is the job of making laws.
I might add two other points: First, we have to keep the facts in mind. Eighty percent of these children came unaccompanied to begin with it. Second, I know countless thousands of churches that would be more than happy to partner with the government to help care for them.
Some Christians have gathered in Washington, D.C., to publicly protest the immigration policy—including reportedly casting out demons at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection building.
"In the name of Jesus, who I serve, I call on you to stop this demonic practice," says Marlena Graves, the director of discipleship at Maumee United Methodist Church and an adjunct professor at Winebrenner Seminary.
Sen. Ted Cruz introduced emergency legislation on Monday to alleviate much of the separation.
- Double the number of federal immigration judges, from roughly 375 to 750.
- Authorize new temporary shelters, with accommodations to keep families together.
- Mandate that illegal immigrant families must be kept together, absent aggravated criminal conduct or threat of harm to the children.
- Provide for expedited processing and review of asylum cases, so that—within 14 days—those who meet the legal standards will be granted asylum, and those who do not will be immediately returned to their home countries.
"While these cases are pending, families should stay together. Children belong with their mothers and fathers. Once their cases have been adjudicated —under my legislation, in no longer than 14 days—those who meet the legal standard should be granted asylum and those who don't should be immediately returned to their home country," Cruz said in a release.
"We can fix this. If my Democratic colleagues will join me, not play politics but work to solve the problem, we can start to end family separation this week. And, we can honor the rule of law."
Southern Baptist minister Alan Cross tweeted just after 12 p.m. ET on Tuesday that he was meeting with Cruz about the legislation.
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