“Thus says the Lord of hosts, render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” -Zechariah 7:9-10
Any time politicians invoke the Scripture, my initial reaction is always to cringe—not because I believe our government officials should refrain from quoting God’s Word, but because they often misstate and/or misuse the Scripture out of context to promote their personal political agendas. Last week, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had a cringeworthy moment when he cited Romans 13 to defend the administration’s forced separation of immigrant families at our southern border.
In Attorney General Sessions words:
“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.”
For the record, I agree with the Attorney General that illegal entry into our country is and should be a crime, and that criminals who violate our laws should be subject to prosecution. I also agree with him that Romans 13 instructs us to obey the government as a God-ordained institution. However, I respectfully, though adamantly, disagree with the Attorney General that this passage or any other Scripture would lend support to or justify the separation of these children—some toddlers—from their parents.
Our immigration system is obviously broken and in dire need of fixing, but using family separation as a deterrent is not a moral solution, particularly for those of us committed to strengthening and defending the family. To those who disagree, I would respectfully ask you to consider this question: Are justice and compassion mutually exclusive? Biblical passages like Micah 6:8 tell us they are not, meaning it is possible to promote justice and, at the same time, extend compassion. In my opinion, the situation at our border calls for both and allows for both. We can simultaneously support enforcing our border laws and oppose small children being stripped away from their parents. It does not have to be one or the other.
If there is one thing we should all agree on, it is the fact that the children are suffering the most from this ordeal. Over the years, many have been stripped away from their parents. Many have been exploited by their own families to gain illegal entry into our country. Many have been victims of sex trafficking and abuse. And as I write this, many have now become “pawns” in a political chess game. As a nation, we can do better, and as Christian Americans, we should demand better from our government.
From a political perspective, this issue has become extremely complex due in large part to the spreading of misinformation, media spin, and political posturing by officials on both sides of the isle. However, let’s be frank—tweets and public statements will not resolve this problem. Our government—specifically, the President and Congress—need to get to work on a permanent solution that keeps our nation safe and keeps children with their parents.
Justice and compassion do not have to be mutually exclusive. As Christians, we know this truth well and we need only look to the cross to see this truth in action. The cross is the place where God’s wrath and mercy met—where God’s justice upon sin and God’s compassion upon mankind converged. So, in our efforts to be “just,” may we never forget the mercy and compassion we have received, and let us not neglect the opportunity we have to extend that mercy and compassion to others.
Standing for Life and Family,
President and Executive Director