This week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was interviewed by CBN News, and defended his use of Romans 13 to justify the White House’s controversial immigration policy. After Christian leaders began speaking out about children being separated from their parents because of the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, Sessions told reporters: “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. Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.”
President Trump has since signed an executive order saying children and parents could be detained together.
Sessions is defending his use of the Scripture. He told CBN News: “I directed it not to say that religion requires these laws on immigration. I just simply said to my Christian friends, ‘You know, the United States has laws and I believe that Paul was clear in Romans that we should try to follow the laws of government of which we are a part.’”
However, when he first made the comments, he was in fact referring to criticism surrounding immigration policy.
He also said: “I believe, strongly, that it is moral, decent and just for a nation to have a lawful system of immigration. I’m not aware of a single nation in the world that doesn’t have some sort of rules about who can enter and who cannot enter. I believe there is biblical support for that, too.”
As many of his critics have pointed out, Romans 13, which says, “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,” has been used throughout history by people in power to justify all kinds of immoral policies, and should be viewed within the context of God’s moral law. The same chapter says this about the law: “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”