By Doktor Zoom as originally published over at Wonkette and reposted here with permission
Jeff Sessions got out his Bible this week to explain why his family separation policy is perfectly legal according to Jesus.
You see, immigrants who bring their children across the border without papers are breaking the law, and the Bible is very clear on the importance of following all the laws:
Many of the criticisms raised in recent days are not fair, are not logical, and are contrary to plain law.
First, Illegal entry into the United States is a crime. It should be, it must be, if you’re gonna have a legal system […] Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. You violate the law, you subject yourself 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 his purposes. Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves.
Sessions was, of course, citing Paul, who was not actually God, but was certainly the Lord’s favorite bureaucrat. Thing is, while Paul certainly did urge Christians to obey secular authorities, we must have completely missed the Bible Verse that says “So when someone breaks the law, we can do any damn thing we please to punish them, and to deter future law-breaking.” By that logic, Sessions might just as well say the Bible justifies not feeding the children, either. After all, their parents broke the law, so all bets are off. In fact, the internet was soon all over the fact that Romans 13 was most commonly used in American political discourse as a defense of slavery.
Also, there’s Martin Luther King’s argument that Christian have a duty to resist and even disobey patently unjust laws, but we suppose all members of the King family are anathema to Sessions.
Did you catch the cute little fib where Sessions said the separations of parents from their kids aren’t even very long, since most parents plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of illegal entry in a week, two, three, tops? Oops, little problem there — as many have noted, it’s routine for parents to move through the criminal system fairly quickly, just like that. But then they still don’t see their kids again for months, as happened to “Ms. C.,” one of the lead plaintiffs in the ACLU’s class action case against the family separation policy.
And of course Sessions is lying when he suggests this is only happening to those who cross the border illegally. The other plaintiff in the ACLU lawsuit, “Mrs. L.,” had her 6-year-old daughter taken from her when she asked for asylum at a legal port of entry. (Check out the terrifying and aptly named podcast “Why is This Happening” for an excellent interview with ACLU lead attorney Lee Gelernt, who explains how we got here, too.)
Later in the day Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders continued the day’s Bible lesson in the daily press briefing, which was completely bugfuck nuts even within the subset of Trump WH press briefings. We’ll say this much for Sanders: She knows how to shift the emphasis from difficult questions to accusations of everyone but the Trump administration. Haha, we are joking; she’s actually very bad at her job, just transparently bad at it. But watch her tell Jim Acosta he’s too stupid to understand that the Bible tells us we must obey all laws (again, MLK said NUH-UH, and also family separation isn’t the law):
Acosta: The attorney general earlier today said that somehow there’s a justification for this in the Bible. Where does it say in the Bible that it’s moral to take children away from their mothers?
Sanders: I’m not aware of the attorney general’s comments or what he would be referencing. I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law, that is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible. However — […]
Acosta: You just said it’s in the Bible to follow the law-
Sanders: That’s not what I said, and I know it’s hard for you to understand even short sentences I guess, but please don’t take my words out of context —
Another reporter: That’s a cheap shot. That’s a cheap shot, Sarah.
Sanders: But the separation of illegal families — alien families is the product of the same legal loopholes that Democrats refuse to close, and these laws are the same that have been on the books for over a decade, and the president is simply enforcing them.
The back-and forth continued, until finally Acosta asked why on earth the administration was taking children from their parents, and Sanders just plain lied: “Because it’s the law, and that’s what the law states.” She then blamed Democrats once more for not working with Trump to “close these loopholes.”
Sanders, who was tired of Acosta, then called on Paula Reid of CBS, who went straight into fact-checker mode and pointed out,
There is no law that requires families to be separated at the border. This was the administration’s choice, to move from civil matters on immigration, on to criminal, to criminally prosecute people who come across the border illegally, and therefore to separate families. So why did the administration find that this was necessary?
Sanders again insisted that the laws demanded this (they don’t) and that Trump is simply enforcing existing law (he isn’t). For a deeper dive on what Trump and his minions mean when they — falsely — blame “the laws,” see this WaPo fact-checker.
“Don’t you have any empathy? Come on, Sarah, you’re a parent. Don't you have any empathy for what these people are going through," reporter stands up to ask @PressSec after @PaulaReidCBS asks about families being separated at the border https://t.co/mZ4B11O1uj pic.twitter.com/G8qWhgJdVK
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 14, 2018
Brian Karem, the executive editor of Sentinel newspapers, wouldn’t let Sanders move to another topic, and once again, she went shitty:
Karem: Come on, Sarah, you’re a parent! Don’t you have any empathy for what these people are going through? […] These people have nothing —
Sanders: Hey, Brian, I know you want to get some more TV time, but that’s not what this is about.
Karem: Answer the question. It’s a serious question. These people have nothing. They come to the border with nothing, and you throw children in cages. You’re a parent. You’re a parent of young children. Don’t you have any empathy for what they go through?
Sanders wasn’t having any of it — she ignored the silly man who was selfishly trying to get on TV, with his “empathy” and his “children in cages.” Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s children have nothing to worry about, because she obeys the law, so shut up.
At least a small good came out of this horror show: People on the interwebs had a really vigorous discussion of Romans 13 and how it has been misused to justify terrible laws throughout history, as well as some other favorite Bible verses that emphasize that old-fashioned empathy stuff, the commandment to welcome the stranger in your land, and Jesus’s disdain for anyone who would turn away from “the least of these” — such mean folks will be in for an unpleasant afterlife surprise. It was a veritable online revival meeting with people reminding Jeff Sessions and Sarah Huckabee Sanders that God is not on their side, no, not really:
You got your Romans 13? I got your Isaiah 10:
"Woe to those who make unjust laws,
to those who issue oppressive decrees,
to deprive the poor of their rights
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey
and robbing the fatherless."
— Apocalypse Slouch (@dirkster42_) June 14, 2018
And also, of course, the very accurate point made by many that, err, excuse us, but y’all DO know that the Bible does not actually count as US law anyway? But since it IS a pretty important part of The Discourse around how we should behave, we’ll just leave the last word to Mr. Stephen Colbert, who as a devout Catholic liberal knows him some social justice. Preach it, Brother Stephen (said no Catholic ever):
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) June 15, 2018
Amen. A just country does not take children away. A good nation does not use the Bible to justify terrorizing children as a deterrent to brown people. Godly people cannot make the screams of children and parents “policy”:
The little girl in this photo. What our country is doing is evil.https://t.co/MZYc3rXDH1
— Doktor Zoom (@DoktorZoom) June 15, 2018
This madness has to end. We have to end it.
And as Uncle Kurt Vonnegut always said (we’ll paraphrase): Maybe there’s no God — but if invoking Him helps people to be decent humans, then go ahead and treat Him as real.