White House Claims the Bible Wants Us to Separate Migrant Families

The GOP has come up with some pretty amazing justifications for their policy of separating migrant families at the U.S. border. They’ve tried blaming it on the Obama administration,†insisting that they are just following the precedents set by President Barack Obama†and arguing that it’s the only way to deter refugees escaping the violence or poverty of their home countries from†entering†the country illegally.

Now, in an astounding moment of overreach,†Republicans are claiming that tearing families apart is what God would want.

Once again, the Trump administration is attempting to lean on the Bible in order to justify†its extremist anti-immigrant leanings and racist tendencies. This time it’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is using scripture to support his team’s ongoing process of removing minors — and even infants — from the mothers and fathers who bring them into the country. And this separation often takes place without informing parents that their children have been taken away or where they have gone.

According to†CNN, Sessions said in a press conference:

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 the government for his purposes. Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent, fair application of law is in itself a good and moral thing and that protects the weak, it protects the lawful. Our policies that can result in short-term separation of families are not unusual or unjustified.

As blowback to Session’s attempt to cite a “higher power” in order to boost the authority of a unjust and dangerous immigration policy grew, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders doubled down on the attorney general’s questionable Sunday School lesson.

Common Dreams†reports:

“That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible,” Huckabee Sanders said in response to the question by CNN’s Jim Acosta as she appeared to glance at notes on her podium.”Where does it say in the Bible that it’s moral to take children away from their mothers?” asked Acosta. But Huckabee wasn’t interested in answering that question, however, and accused Acosta of trying to put words into her mouth and talking over her. “I know it’s hard for you to understand,’ she said to the reporter, ‘even short sentences, I guess.”

The White House quoting the Bible as a justification to harm those with the least resources is bad enough, but as Splinter notes, the particular passage that Sessions invoked wasn’t just any Biblical passage — it was a racist dog-whistle, too.†Romans 13 has been used to support everything from our nation’s acceptance of slavery to the growing power and might of Nazism during the 1930s,†as well as apartheid in South Africa.

Splinter writer Rafi Schwartz explains:

And if you want something a little more recent, look no further than one of the White Houseís most bigoted religious boosters, Dallas-area Pastor Robert Jeffress, who cited the verse to bolster president Trumpís threat to murder millions of North Koreans with “fire and fury” last year.†All of which prompts the question: Did Sessions simply not know the verseís tarnished history when he used it to justify tearing families apart? Or did he simply not care?

Would Jesus really want us to†refuse U.S. entry to women leaving their physically abusive partners? Would he approve pulling toddlers from†their parents and placing those small children in tent cities†along the border? That’s not a Jesus I can believe in, that’s for certain.

“When we are willing to stand by and allow our government to separate†innocent†babies from their immigrant parents. When we stand by in silence as†government officials bleat on and use the Bible as†justification for this immoral act. That’s just vile,” writes AZ Central columnist Laurie Roberts. “Truly, we are at†the low point of Donald Trump’s†administration.”

Photo Credit: John-Mark Smith/Unsplash

77 comments

Joan E
Joan E15 days ago

Separate the Trump family. Put them all in different cages.

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Amanda M
Amanda M24 days ago

Winnie A, what's worse is that this same verse in the Bible was used to justify SLAVERY back in the 19th century! Santayana must be breakdancing in his grave about now because his quote is proving all too true in the worst possible ways!

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Karen S
Karen Swenson25 days ago

@ Brian---The Republican party claiming "Family Values, Pro-life, Religious values is the party who have done the most to devastate people's lives with their global death warrant for Women.. Especially the most defenseless, who are the Children--they get a double down whammy. Republicans/Trumps vile insistence on controlling women's lives, bodies, health, and choices, affects a woman's health while she is going thru pregnancy, passing down defects, lack of nourishment to the babies body and brain she carries, denying the woman family planning, or education, affects the children she already has with depleted food, attention, housing, health and a poor future outlook for a better life. And what happens to all the little ones, if the Mother dies, because she is not valued for her importance. It is devastating and psychological damage is done to her motherless children. That is the only "Trickle down" $#it Storm that cripples entire populations--Males and Females all come from the Woman's Bodies. Think how much better off we would all be, if we valued Women's health, choices and well-being--evidently Conservatives are still pushing the Stork Story.

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson25 days ago

Thank you.

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Jennifer H
Jennifer H26 days ago

You are so right Winnie A. That is what I have been thinking. It is bad enough that everyone's noses are being rubbed in it but to abuse it to promote their sick causes is disgusting.

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Susanne R
Susanne R26 days ago

@Brian: (continued...)

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/jul/21/trump-global-death-warrant-women-family-planning-population-reproductive-rights-mexico-city-policy

Saying that populations in third-world countries must practice birth control requires some research on your part if you think it might provide a solution to the immigration problem.

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Susanne R
Susanne R26 days ago

@Brian: If that didn't convince you, here's more:

From the Guardian: "How Trump signed a global death warrant for women" -- "With one devastating flourish of the presidential pen, worldwide progress on family planning, population growth and reproductive rights was swept away. Now some of the world's poorest women must count the cost. Six months ago, one powerful white man in the White House, watched by seven more, signed a piece of paper that will prevent millions of women around the world from deciding what they can and can't do with their own bodies. In that moment, on his very first Monday morning in office, Donald Trump effectively signed the death warrants of thousands of women. He reversed global progress on contraception, family planning, unsustainable population growth and reproductive rights. His executive order even has implications for the battle against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. Rarely can the presidential pen have been flourished to such devastating effect. The policy it reintroduced will shut health clinics in Uganda and HIV programs in Mozambique; it will compel women from Nepal to Namibia to seek out deadly back-street abortions.

"It is an unprecedented attack on women’s rights - it goes much deeper than abortion," said Ulla Muller, president and CEO of EngenderHealth, a leading advocacy organisation."

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/jul/21/trump-global-de

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Susanne R
Susanne R26 days ago

@Brian: You said: "The population in these countries must practice birth control." That's rich, coming from you.

According to VOX: "Trump's budget eliminates US funding for global family planning and famine relief. "America First" is bad news for starving children, women who want to control their reproductive rights, and the world's sick and most desperate. 3.3 million more abortions. 15,000 more mothers dying. 8 million more unplanned pregnancies. Up to 26 million fewer women and couples acquiring contraception and family planning advice.

Those grim numbers from the Guttmacher Institute show the potential real-world impact of the Trump administration's unprecedented proposed cuts to global family planning efforts: the budget the White House released Tuesday would basically eliminate those programs.

It also calls for gutting a key US famine relief program, slashing half the budget for the USAID's internal disaster relief organization, and cutting $222 million from funds allocated to fight HIV, AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. The justification listed in the budget is a simple hope for others to fill the shortfall"

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/5/24/15681216/trump-budget-cuts-funding-global-family-planning-famine-relief

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Annabel B
Annabel Bedini26 days ago

.....what got cut off....

As it is, most of them dare not admit the reality to their families at home who have donated their last cents to allow their young men to emigrate to try and make a better life. For refugees of course it's different, according to international treaties they cannot be turned back. Overpopulation considerations don't apply to them.

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini27 days ago

Brian F
Just for the record, Salvini only turned away a non-Italian rescue ship. The immigrants saved by the Italian coast guard continue to be allowed to land in Italian ports. Next, most of the immigrants move north and don't remain in Italy. This is a Europe-wide problem, and while Italy is certainly in the forefront of immigrant arrivals, these have been in continuous decline in the past couple of years.

Then, when I talk of a 'strategy' I mean that there are many, many jobs waiting for immigrants, above all in agriculture and the building trade, the jobs that the indigneous population no longer wants to do. What needs to be done is set up agencies in all countries putting together demand and supply. At present immigrants are exploited by unscrupulous individuals in what amounts to slave conditions in what has become a submerged black economy. But the point is that there IS work for immigrants.

Of course the ideal solution would be to ensure that the conditions in the countries of origin change so that people don't need to emigrate. At last there are moves in this direction with various initiatives being put in place. But the myth of a better, safer life in the US and Europe continues to be a very strong pull. Negative propaganda would be useful, videos of what really happens to immigrants when they get to their hoped-for promised land. As it is, most of them dare not admit the reality to their families at home who have donated their last cen

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