Jeff Sessions and the Danger of Using the Bible Instead of Letting It Use You

On Thursday, the White House launched twin offensives to defend its newest stomach churning policy. Both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (no relation to this author) invoked the Bible to defend the new practice of separating children from parents attempting to “illegally” cross the U.S. border.

Of the two, Sessions was the more explicit. In a speech to church leaders in Indiana, he addressed religious’ leaders’ criticism of the policy, saying “Illegal entry into the United States is a crime—as it should be …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.”

Sessions was presumably referring to the first five verses of the chapter.


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. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.


Sanders doubled down on this take in a press conference, countering a reporter’s question about the biblical ethics of splitting up families by saying that “it’s very biblical to enforce the law.”

This piece will not be overly preoccupied with proving them wrong, because I would hope their wrongness is obvious. This isn’t complicated. Men made borders. God made family. “I was naked, and you clothed me,” Jesus told His disciples. “I was in prison, and you visited me.” Make no mistake: it is God we are ripping from a mother’s breast, God we lock up in a camp, God who must suffer a weekly Skype call with His eight-month old infant. It is a profound evil, from which we as a nation cannot repent in too much grief.

This piece will be preoccupied with the ease with which the Bible was able to be twisted into supporting something as morally reprehensible as separating children from their mothers. It is not a new trick. The Bible, “God’s love letter to us,” has been used to justify a host of evils throughout its history, from the Crusades to the Holocaust to, of course, slavery (in the latter case, the same verse to which Sessions referred has a tragically white supremacist history.) The Bible is a powerful thing, and the powerful know this, which is why they have a habit of using it for their own ends.

But one needn’t even look as far as the great horrors of history to see how easily the Bible can be divided, shorn of context, and employed towards any cause: heinous or trivial. Magazines in the supermarket herald a collection of divine weight-loss tips branded as “the Bible Diet!” It was the biblical interpretation of German theologian Max Weber who inspired the economic system we today call capitalism. And who among us has not found a way to justify our own behavior by excusing it with a misapplied Bible verse?

The most famous example of this happened to Jesus himself in the wilderness. “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down,” the devil says in Matthew 4. “For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

“It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test,’” Jesus retorts.

See Also

The devil had a few quotes, but it was Jesus who knew the Bible.

An unfortunate consequence of littering the Bible with the little demarcating numbers we call “chapter and verse” is the ease with which it allows the Bible to be split up piecemeal. We study and memorize the Bible in bite-sized chunks, just long enough to fit on a day calendar or scribble on a bathroom mirror. Chapters and verses are useful things for finding your place, but they can give the impression that each sentence of the Bible was spoken in a vacuum, with no pertinent information around it. Using Romans 13 to defend obeying the government, as Jeff Sessions did, is a bit like using Moby Dick to defend mid-1800s whaling practices.

Because one needn’t look far from Romans 13 to find examples of good and godly people in the Bible who most assuredly did not submit to the governing authorities. The man who wrote the verse Sessions quoted did so from prison and was executed by his government, for not submitting to the authorities and continuing to preach the gospel. “We must obey God rather than human beings,” Peter told the Sanhedrin (Acts 5:29). Ten of the original twelve disciples met the same fate, as did Jesus himself, somewhat famously, for also refusing to obey the laws about their outlaw religion. Daniel defied his government and was thrown to the lions. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stubbornly kept their chins up while the rest of their nation bowed before a golden statue.

We could go on, but doing so is not the point. Biblical debates too often fall into just such folly, with each side seeing who can stack more Bible verses in their corner, as if winning a theological argument was as easy as shooting marbles. The real secret of living according to the will of God is not to collect enough Bible verses to defend your latest socio-political fancy but to let God transform you entirely. Not to bend God’s Word to your will, but exactly the other way around. And to do that, you must take in the whole of Scripture, every jot and tittle. It’s not easy.

The lifelong trick will always be to make sure your life is being shaped by God’s Word instead of shoving God’s Word into the life you already have. It can be hard to tell the difference when you’re in the thick of it but when in doubt, just a few verses down from the Romans 13 chapter Sessions referred to, we find a useful rule of thumb: “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.”

View Comment (1)
  • 9 Signs That Tell He is interested In You

    How To Tell If He Likes YouHow can you know if a guy likes you? This is a question frequently asked by many girls and women who are interested in dating a guy they like very much. It is a natural thing that members of potential partners get attracted to one another, But there may be a time when it can be hard to tell the kind of feelings a guy has for you. That’s when you will definitely look for signs or things that show the person has warm feelings for you.

    Many women ask right now ‘how [url=]meet chinese girls[/url] to tell if a guy likes you?’ but who can provde the right answers for them? I believe it is only the girl who can provide the answer to this question because she is most interested in true. What the girl has to do is to study the behavior and actions of the guy in order for her to tell if he really likes her

    I already covered in another article the mannerisms signs of men that can give you a clue on whether they like you or not but here’s some short cut signs that could suggest a guy likes you. opt for tell if he likes you? How pick if he is into you or not? i hope to provide my top 9 signs that tell a guy likes you.

    1. He is obsessed with touching you

    If a guy touches you as often as he can, There’s a high likelihood of him being very interested in you. If he likes you is going to be evident from his obsession with touching you. Maybe your smooth body impresses him and he is delighting and drawing some comfort from it.

    2. He showers you with startling expensive gifts

    In some ethnicities, This is the most recognized sign that a guy who likes you will show. let you know that him buy you lovely and expensive unexpected gifts, It shows he cares for you and that he could like to know that entering a relationship with you. He won’t buy gifts for anybody. Gifts and more so expensive ones are meant with regard to and people who matter to you the most. So when you see a guy shower with you with many unexpected expensive gifts, need to know you occupy a special place in his heart.

    3. You will get to know his feelings for you from his buddies

    One sure way of telling whether a guy likes you or not is through his friends. specially those who are very close to him. If he likes you he would probably have told them about you. If his friends talk of how him and you will need to together he definitely likes you.

    4. He teases and also your not other girls

    Does he tease you whenever he gets the requirements? If yes he looks forward to you. and more often so if he rarely teases other girls. Teasing you is an opportunity to get close to you and interact and never have to openly admit he likes you.

    A shy guy who lacks the confidence to tell You how he feels will likely tease you and play light hearted games. It is his way of receiving your attention.

    5. He often come with a massive smile on his face.

    There is a noticeable difference between the slightest of smiles and a beaming grin. You can tell just by having a look at a person’s face. A guy who likes you will likely have a massive smile on his face whenever you are with him. The smile will no doubt give a suggestion of his interest and happiness with you. A man who doesn’t like you would rarely put a endless massive smile on his face.

    6. He will ask questions about your personal life

    asking them questions about personal life is also another indication that a man is interested in having a relationship with you. Why should he bother asking them questions about your private life when he isn’t interested in you? He will rarely do that but if he does he is perhaps into you and having an interest in you. Some of the questions a guy may ask about your current life include;

    Are you in a break up?

    Where do you live?

    What are your interests?

    Where is your family and do you live with them?

    If a guy asks you the above questions and there are others, There is a high possibility that he is interested in you for a relationship or marriage. Ask yourself why he should ask a question like ‘are you in a matrimony?’ It’s emphatically for a purpose. So whenever a guy enquires about your existing life don’t take it lightly because he means something.

    7. He will attempt to impress you

    If a guy likes you he will do everything he can to impress you in order to make you interested by him. He will be out to convince you that he is the perfect and best option man for you basedi on his achievements in life. He may boast of having graduated with first class degree from a reputable university. He may boast of having an A list job at lodge logic or owning a car few others can afford. The list of things he can boast of having is endless but the main thing is that they are all aimed at convincing you to initiate a relationship with him.

    8. He will ask you to day him

    Asking you out or inviting you to his house is a clear warning sign that a guy likes you. pay close attention to, Why would he ask you out or invite you to his place? Obviously for the reason of being interested in using you. Inviting you to his family home is obviously a massive sign that he likes you. He might even be visiting propose to you.

    9. constant texts, Emails or phone calls

    If a guy is fond of calling you over and over again (Or too oftentimes in a day or week) Then know that he is up to something. Normal calls between people are made once in a while when you will discover something to be discussed but this isn’t so if a guy has strong feelings for you. He will probably call you many times a day to ask how you are doing and what you are up to, that is certainly a sign and indication that he likes you.

    Show facts

    NecessaryHubPages Device IDThis is used to recognize particular browsers or devices when the access the service, And is intended for security reasons. LoginThis is to be able to sign in to the HubPages Service. Google RecaptchaThis is used for preventing bots and spam. (online privacy policy)AkismetThis is helpful to detect comment spam. (online privacy policy)HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on targeted traffic to our website, All directly identifyable data is anonymized. (policy)HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on website visitors to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you’re signed in to a HubPages account, All your personal data is anonymized. Amazon Web servicingThis is a cloud alternatives platform that we used to host our service. (privacy)CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files important for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading down style sheets, visions, And motion pictures. (policy)FeaturesGoogle Custom SearchThis is feature helps you to search the site. (policy)Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (privacy)Google AdSense Host APIThis service implies sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, So that you can make income using ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you build relationships this feature. (policy)Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (privacy)VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (policy)Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline getting started with, Or signing in within your Hubpages account. No data is distributed to Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (online privacy policy)MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search characteristic. (privacy)MarketingGoogle AdSenseThis is an ad communicate. (privacy policy)Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving tools and runs an ad network. (online privacy policy)Index ExchangeThis is an ad program. (privacy)SovrnThis is an ad circle. (privacy)squidoo AdsThis is an ad network. (privacy policy)Amazon unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (privacy)AppNexusThis is an ad group. (policy)OpenxThis is an ad socialize. (online privacy policy)Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad networking system. (policy)TripleLiftThis is an ad multi-level. (policy)Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to generate ad campaigns on our sites. (online privacy policy)Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as adwords, ask Ads, And Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to some people that have visited our sites. Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as google adwords, aol Ads, And Facebook in order to identify when an advert has successfully resulted in the desired action, Such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service. (privacy policy)ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, Media and ad agencies, And owners. Non consent can lead to ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (privacy)Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon affiliate network, This pixel provides traffic statistics for any products (online privacy policy)ClickscoThis is a data employer platform studying reader behavior (policy).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll To Top