Washington, D.C. — The Very Rev. Randolph ‘Randy’ Marshall Hollerith, dean of Washington National Cathedral, released the following statement after White House officials attempted to use the Bible to justify separating immigrant children from their parents:

The White House and Attorney General Jeff Session are appealing to the Bible to justify the policy of separating children and parents who are undocumented. Specifically, they cite St. Paul’s words in Romans 13: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God.”

According to their logic, because something is legal it must also be moral and ordained by God. But our tragic history as a country shows that this same lopsided reasoning was used to justify slavery as moral and ordained by God simply because slavery was legal. 

 But we know better. And we as a country are better.

If this administration is looking to Scripture to justify policy, perhaps they should also consider what Jesus said: “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Or, if that’s not good enough, perhaps this: “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depths of the sea.”

Yes, it may be legal to separate these children from their parents. But that doesn’t mean it’s moral, and it certainly doesn’t reflect God’s love and care for children, especially those most in need.

When immigrants cross our borders illegally, they are breaking the law. But how we treat them in response says so much more about our values as Americans. Separating children from parents is nothing more than a tactic of intimidation and fear. If we really care about “family values” then we should care about those values regardless of the family, their country of origin or their legal status.

Meredith MacKenzie, West End Strategy Team • (202) 412 – 4270 • mmackenzie@westendstrategy.com