Our outpouring of compassion will vanquish moral bankruptcy

Detainees sleep and watch television in a holding cell where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center in Nogales, AZ. (photo: Ross Franklin / AP Photo)

So many of us are deeply wounded by Trump’s immigration policies and what they reflect about our less welcoming, more calloused new national norm.

By Daniel Weiner | The Seattle Times | Jun 20, 2018


To deliberately subvert divinely inspired ideas to absolve the inhumanity of imprisoning children, or to glean political advantage to enact even more draconian measures against the most vulnerable, crosses some kind of unseen line . . . .


Many have marveled at the citing of sacred texts to support even the most heinous of thoughts and acts. Others still have struggled to understand the mind and heart that could do such damage to holy writ. And people of faith take unique exception to the mangling of words that bind them to God.

And so, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions doubled down on rooting an immigration policy of family separation in the holy justification of biblical texts, faith communities across the ideological spectrum united in opposition to a perversion that defied even our most jaded expectations for this administration’s chutzpah.

The outrage goes beyond the gall of employing a text as cover for a policy that embodies the very inverse of its meaning, or omitting the myriad expressions of compassion and welcome that represent the fullness of the Bible.

The verse was notoriously used to justify unqualified obedience to governments that profited from slavery and apartheid. And Sessions twisted the verse further to cynically leverage the suffering of children to extort congressional foes into voting for President Donald Trump’s pet project, the wall.

Many have spoken out and written well in debunking a use of verse so torn from context as to become denuded of meaning, wielded more as cudgel than wisdom. We faith leaders feel this torturing of text more keenly. The challenge of interpreting ancient words for modern needs can be daunting. But to deliberately subvert divinely inspired ideas to absolve the inhumanity of imprisoning children, or to glean political advantage to enact even more draconian measures against the most vulnerable, crosses some kind of unseen line, rallying the faithful to affirm the true intent of Scripture and to call “B.S.” on this rank exploitation of faith.

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