The usual suspects went ballistic when AG Sessions cited Romans 13 to support Trump’s immigration policy; history shows that, as usual, they were wrong.
Jeff Sessions shocked the progressive left by citing the letter of the Apostle Paul at Romans 13 in support of enforcing immigration policy. According to the Daily Caller:
The Washington Post compared Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “slaveholders” after he quoted the Bible on Thursday while discussing his department’s policy of prosecuting all illegal immigrants who cross the border.
Sessions made the statement during a speech to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
WaPo ran a story entitled “Sessions cites Bible passage used to defend slavery in defense of separating immigrant families” by general assignment editor Keith McMillan and religion reporter Julie Zauzmer on Friday. Rather than detailing the statistics Sessions cited in the speech that explain the immigration policy, the story quoted John Fea, a history professor at Messiah College in Pennsylvania.
“This is the same argument that Southern slaveholders and the advocates of a Southern way of life made,” Fea said.
Specifically, Fea and the Wapo are referring to this statement by Sessions:
“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 the government for his purposes,” Sessions said. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent and fair application of the law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak and protects the lawful.”
It is true that politics and religion meet at Romans 13. It was used by the Apostle Paul to admonish Christians to be good citizens on earth. But it is a section of the Bible misused by tyrants to support unlimited submission to government and it was misused by proponents of slavery in the run up to the Civil War. But virtually all of the Biblical admonitions towards government was to obey “good” government. A good government is one that respects everyone’s natural rights to life, liberty and property. Such rights are completely destroyed in the institution of chattel slavery. Thus Fea’s criticism of the Bible because it was misused is a slander.
I find all of this fascinating because, as many of you know, I am writing a book on life in the American colonies leading up to the American Revolution. Book 1 runs from 1760 to 1761, ending on two critical events. The first, the “morning gun of the revolution,” was Thomas Mayhew’s sermon on government given in 1750 that dealt explicitly with Romans 13. The second is the intersection between a biblical “good” government, Locke’s Two Treatises of Government, and chattel slavery, all of which came together in a legal argument made by James Otis, Jr before a Massachusetts Colonial Court in 1761.
I include four chapters of the book below (exponentially shorter than the first half of the book I put up here). Feel free to comment. [Note from Bookworm: You’re getting the very first look at the latest installment in Wolf Howling’s work, so we haven’t corrected any typos or done any really deep editing yet. This is all about substance, not style. For that reason, you also shouldn’t worry about footnotes, some of which are included here, and some of which are not. This material, drafty though it may be, is copyrighted, with all rights reserved to D. Wolf (2018).] [Read more…]