Letter: Quoting Scripture proves nothing about immigration


Re: Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions quoting the Bible to support separating immigrant children from families:

By quoting Scripture to support a legalistic approach to a situation that calls for compassion, Sessions has aligned himself with the opponents of Jesus.

The Scribes and Pharisees continually sought to catch Jesus in a conflict between Scripture and compassion. Their goal was to convict him of not following Scripture.

But in taking a legalistic approach to Scripture, they ended up convicting themselves, for they were not following God.

Quoting Scripture proves nothing, as Scripture itself points out, by having even the devil quote Scripture in a contest against Jesus. Quoting Scripture does not make one good nor faithful.

The devil does it. In this case, the text itself is problematic, because taken literally and out of context, by this Scripture there should have been no revolution against England in 1776, no war against Hitler, no Civil War to end slavery, etc.

According to Romans 13, God put them all in power.

Biblical text without context is pretext. Clearly Sessions is using Romans 13 as a pretext to support the administration’s policy.

The same Scripture supports Obama’s policies. It’s ridiculous and self-serving for those in power to quote this Scripture.

The context of Romans 13 does not support this use. Paul evidently wrote it to a small group of Christians living in the capital of the Roman Empire in the early years of Nero’s reign. Nero! Notorious in history for tyranny and extravagance,

Nero’s reign is not something to hold up as worthy of allegiance. Surely today we would not conclude from Nero’s reign that God put Nero in power.

By saying in Romans 13 that “those authorities that exist have been instituted by God,” Paul is reflecting an earlier view, found in some teachings, and is evidently trying to help this small Roman Christian community fly under the radar and not incur the persecution of the Empire, which we know would happen before long. The context was survival of a fledgling sect.

That is not the context now. The powerful do not have the right to quote this Scripture to justify their own actions, as if God gives them a blank check. Are they following the greatest commandments: to love God and love your neighbor as yourself?

Are they doing what Jesus would do or what Nero would do? Is there any cognizance of the great judgment in Matthew 25, where Jesus returns and the final exam is: “I was hungry and you fed me (or not)…I was a stranger and you welcomed me (or not)…”

The prophet Jeremiah spoke to a context more like this one. In the seventh chapter, he has these words: “How can you say, ‘We are wise, for we have the law of the Lord,’ when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely? … Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.”

Tom Walker


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