Say No To Cruelty

I haven’t been able to blog the past couple of days, the reasons for which will be the subject of future blog posts, but now that I’ve found a bit of time I want to speak about the crisis going on at our Southern Border. A crisis of our government’s own making.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, enacting the hard line immigration philosophy of the administration, has determined that every child being carried into the United States is to be separated from their parents. Reports [emerging from the aftermath of this callous policy](https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2018/06/16/america-is-better-than-this-what-a-doctor-saw-in-a-texas-shelter-for-migrant-children/https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2018/06/16/america-is-better-than-this-what-a-doctor-saw-in-a-texas-shelter-for-migrant-children/) are painting the systemic 1 execution of cruelty in the name of American Security. This includes families seeking asylum.

To justify the act, both the Attorney General and the White House Press Secretary declared how godly it was to enforce the law. AG Sessions even went so far as to cite Romans 13.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.
(Romans 13:1-3)

This sounds like an open and shut, slam-dunk, proof-text. God ordained authorities, and anyone who defies those authorities defies God. And then you look at the context and realize that’s not what it means. Not even a little bit.

Lay aside the fact that AG Sessions would need to denounce every Confederate monument in the South were he apply this passage to this home region, and the rest of the country would have to turn July 4 into a day of penance were he to do the same with the whole country. Those are fun side-trips, but they aren’t the point.

Paul wasn’t writing in order to promote the virtues of Roman power and might. He was a missionary, trying to help early Christians navigate the way of Christ within the empire. And, it’s important to note, he was writing to people who declared, “Jesus Christ is Lord” in the seat of imperial power. That claim, in the eyes of the imperial government, was tantamount to treason. Living quietly, while managing to declare the Lordship of Christ, was a nigh-impossible situation. And yet that’s what Paul intended for these Roman Christians to do.

It’s a good thing he explained how one could fulfill the expectations he’d laid out a few verses after AG Sessions’ quote ends.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
(Rom 13:8-10 NIV11)

That’s it, love. Love is what prevents us from murdering, and stealing, coveting, and committing adultery. Love is what leads us to treat our neighbor as ourselves. Love is the intent of the Biblical Law because love leads to shalom – to righteousness permeating the earth 2. What this administration has unleashed on our Southern border doesn’t look like shalom, it looks like dehumanization. And that’s because it is.

It must stop, and I condemn the blasphemous use of Scripture to justify an act of terror.


  1. Though not altogether organized. 
  2. Righteousness is a “relationship word.” It speaks of everyone, and everything, treating each other in ways which builds up the peace of God. 
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