Yesterday, Jeff Sessions cited a passage from the Bible in order to justify the Trump administration’s excessively cruel new immigration policy, which involves separating young children from their parents and placing them in holding facilities indefinitely. With a folksy smirk plastered on his face, the attorney general prefaced his statement by saying, “Illegal entry into the United States is a crime”—specifically, it’s a misdemeanor that should result in a fine—before invoking Romans 13:1: “Obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.” Last night on The Late Show, Stephen Colbert, a lifelong Christian and no fan of Sessions, took a moment to call bullshit on his cherry-picking approach to scripture.
“The only thing in the Bible close to this is a king threatening to cut a baby in two. And he was joking,” said Colbert, who was insulted by Sessions’ attempt to justify such abhorrent, authoritarian behavior in the religious text. While Colbert did concede that that is technically what Romans 13:1 says, he advised Sessions to perhaps read a little further and understand the full intent of the passage. “Love your neighbors yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law,” he says, citing Romans 13:10. Clearly, Jeff Sessions missed that week of Sunday School.
Undoubtedly, Colbert could dish out biblical burns on Trump officials all day, but he doesn’t want to undercut the seriousness of this segment or let his audience think for one second that what’s happening on our borders isn’t a moral failing of massive proportions. “It wouldn’t matter if you took these children to really nice hotels—or Trump hotels. We’d still be the only country in the whole damn world doing it, because it’s just plan wrong,” he says before asking his audience, in honor of Father’s Day, to call their elected representatives and “demand they do something” to keep these families together.
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