By indexer
2 years ago

Jeff Sessions and Romans 13

In defending the policy of the United States Government in splitting up the families of would-be immigrants, leading to the distinct possibility of these families not being re-united for weeks or even months, Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General, declared that the decision had the backing of the New Testament, and in particular the Apostle Paul.

Sessions quoted a famous passage in Romans Chapter 13, which states (Authorised Version):

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.”

In other words, according to Jeff Sessions, everything the administration does must be right, because God says it is.

What an interesting state of affairs we therefore have! Jeff Sessions has fallen into a very old trap, namely that of believing that a particular passage of scripture, when yanked out of context, can be used to justify one’s current actions, especially if one ignores any other passage that says something very different.

This passage is the origin of belief in the “Divine Right of Kings” that led to the English Civil War in the 17th century, because King Charles I maintained that all his actions had God’s approval and his opponents were defying God by disobeying him.

Presumably a believer in this Right would also believe that any action by colonists to rebel against the rule of a king – King George III for example – would be against Divine will. That rather puts Mr Sessions’s holding of office in the Government of the United States in a rather different light!

Romans 13 has been used to justify all sorts of evildoing by the “powers that be”, including slavery and the deeds of Nazi Germany.

The context of this passage in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans is essential to understanding its meaning and significance. At the time it was written, the Christians in Rome were enjoying a period of tolerance during the early years of the reign of Emperor Nero. There was therefore no reason not to accept the authority of the Emperor. Whether Paul would have said the same a few years later, when Nero embarked on savage persecution of the Christians, is very much open to doubt.

There are other Biblical passages that Jeff Sessions might like to ponder upon. The current circumstance suggests that Mark Chapter 9 could be relevant here – the passage was copied by the authors of both Matthew’s and Luke’s gospels.

When referring directly to the treatment of children, Jesus is reported as saying:

“Whosoever shall offend one of these little ones … it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were cast into the sea.”

So, Mr Sessions, given that you are an Evangelical Christian who believes every word of the Bible to be the Word of God, to whose words do you give more credence – those of Apostle Paul or of Jesus himself?
2 years
Justin Very interesting
2 years
2 years
soncee Thanks for sharing
2 years