The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has issued a public statement against the Trump Administration’s use of a Biblical quote to justify its policy of separating families that are entering the United States illegally.
In a speech last Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible while pushing back against criticism of his immigration stance.
“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 them for the purpose of order,” he said. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.”
Prior to Sessions’ speech, the administration’s stance had already struck chords among various Christian denominations nationwide, some of which are the same groups that supported President Trump in his race for the White House.
In a June 12 interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, outspoken Trump supporter and Evangelist Franklin Graham, son of the late Evangelical figurehead Billy Graham, openly denounced the administration’s policy.
“It’s disgraceful, and it’s terrible to see families ripped apart and I don’t support that one bit,” he said.
President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Cardinal Daniel DiNardo also added to the list of spiritual leaders speaking out against the policy when he criticized it in a statement last week.
“Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral,” said DiNardo, who is archbishop of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese in Texas.
As a result of dozens of messages received from readers, The Pappas Post reached out to to the Archdiocese Press Office and the Office of Archbishop of America on Monday to ask if a public statement would be made.
The following statement has since been published on the Archdiocese website.
Official statement by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
In recent days, the words of St. Paul in the 13th chapter of his Epistle to the Romans have been circulating in the news. We are concerned and alarmed at the use of this biblical quote being used out of context to justify the strict application of a policy occurring at our southern border, which is detrimental to family life.
The numerous challenges of today’s world weaken the already strained bonds of every modern family. Family — a divine institution (cf. Ephesians 3:14) — is something that we as Orthodox Christians cherish and hold as sacred. Furthermore, when our Lord came into this world as a human being, he entered it as a child and part of a family. As a special creation of God the Father, no family deserves to be separated. The institution of the family is found from the beginning of the Book of Genesis (chapter 2). In love and harmony, the family finds joy, each member in the other. Reflecting this joy, the Psalmist proclaims, your children will be like olive trees around your table (Psalm 127/128:3b). Let us bear in mind that the branch of an olive tree is a universal symbol of peace, not something to be torn apart and broken.
It is for peace and for a dignified and humane solution to this unfortunate situation that we, together with people of good faith across our great nation, urgently entreat. Children should not, under any circumstances, be punished for things that are beyond their control. Our hearts go out to those suffering under these terrible conditions. We pray for them, that their families soon be restored, and pray that the proper authorities find a swift and just solution to this unfortunate and very painful situation.
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