Dear Mr. Sessions,
You are a lawyer. I am a minister. Can we agree that I won’t attempt to sway your opinion by citing legal precedents if you won’t (mis)quote Scripture to support your claims?
My training tells me to be wary of anyone who selectively chooses verses out of context to prove a point. Our country has a sad history of misusing Scripture to promote abhorrent practices such as slavery, subjugation of women, and child abuse. That trend cannot continue.
Instead, let’s celebrate overriding themes that exist throughout the entire Bible. These include
- Instructions to care for the “aliens and strangers” among us. That is repeated 36 times in the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.
- “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” One way to demonstrate love for God is to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
There are lots more. There are stories about Jesus disregarding laws that caused God’s people to suffer and Jesus breaking every social code to include the outcast, the forgotten, and the unloved. There are stories of God’s people wandering in the wilderness and being dependent on the kindness and mercy of others in order to survive.
I don’t have to be a lawyer to know that we need laws to govern our land. But you don’t need to be a minister to know that those laws must be compassionate, just, and fairly executed.
Mr. Sessions, we could work together on this. You and I don’t need to share a faith. Our country is not ruled by religious law; we are not a theocracy. But basic human decency should inform us that children need their families. We should not inflict fear and suffering on the most vulnerable.
Terror, loss, and violence are driving desperate people to our borders. Let’s meet them with compassion and work to find a just, humane solution.
Rev. Dr. Susan J. Foster