The Bible is for living, not for quoting

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I love the Bible.

I hug my Bible on a regular basis for its power to inspire and change me.

I named my blog The Studious Mom because studying the Bible has been my favorite thing to do since I became a Christian in 1981.

Yes, my faith in God and scriptures are tested by the despair and hatred I see around the globe. But it’s in the Bible where I find my personal marching orders for alleviating the suffering I see. Many Christians believe that loving neighbor as self is our highest aim; the driving force behind our life’s work; the reason we wake up in the morning. We don’t just quote scripture, we want to live it.

That’s why Jeff Sessions’ misuse of scripture last week is so appalling to us. Like most Christians, I agree that when laws are broken there must be consequences. But I disagree that separating immigrant children from their parents is a suitable consequence.  It is certainly NOT a biblical consequence.

Parents trying to protect their children from poverty and war are some of the most courageous parents on the face of the earth. We Americans cannot imagine making the desperate decision to seek refuge in a foreign country by trekking on foot for days with toddlers on our backs.

But, wait. Mexicans are rapists and murderers right?  That characterization of Mexican immigrants was our first warning that the Trump administration would do the very thing it is now doing. Many people understood this dog whistling from the start. We understood that the world’s worst atrocities begin when leaders normalize bigotry. We understand that dehumanizing immigrants by referring to them as animals and speaking of predominantly brown nations as sh*thole countries hearken back to the worst possible periods in history when the Bible was used to justify slavery and prison camps.

Aside from the fact that the First Amendment is our directive to separate religion from public policy, grabbing a Bible verse to justify an absurd punishment adds another reason to the already lengthy list of reasons people turn away from Christianity. It breaks my heart.

But since Mr. Sessions wants to quote the Apostle Paul, let’s remember these words, also from the Book of Romans:

 Yes, you teach others—then why don’t you teach yourselves? You tell others not to steal—do you steal? You say it is wrong to commit adultery—do you do it? You say “Don’t pray to idols” and then make money your god instead.

You are so proud of knowing God’s laws, but you dishonor him by breaking them. No wonder the Scriptures say that the world speaks evil of God because of you.

Romans 2.21-24 (TLB)

 

 

 

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