United Methodist Church urges Sessions to halt migrant family separations
© Greg Nash

The United Methodist Church this week criticized the Department of Justice for the Trump administration's immigration policies of separating migrant families and denying asylum to those fleeing domestic abuse and gang violence.

The church also specifically called on Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsLisa Page sues DOJ, FBI over alleged privacy violations Sessions leads GOP Senate primary field in Alabama, internal poll shows Trump rebukes FBI chief Wray over inspector general's Russia inquiry MORE — who is Methodist — to “immediately reverse these decisions.”

In a statement written by the Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, the church’s general secretary, the Methodist denomination argued that the policies are “antithetical to the teachings of Christ” and criticized the Trump administration for using the Bible to justify the policies.

“Jesus is our way, our truth, our life. The Christ we follow would have no part in ripping children from their mothers’ arms or shunning those fleeing violence. It is unimaginable that faith leaders even have to say that these policies are antithetical to the teachings of Christ,” Henry-Crowe wrote.

Last month, the administration began implementing a policy that leads migrant children to be separated from their parents when apprehended at the border. Earlier this month, Sessions said people fleeing gang violence or domestic abuse would not be able to get asylum.

Henry-Crowe noted that the administration used the Christian text of Paul’s letter to the Romans to justify their policies but said they missed the parts that stress the need to be hospitable to strangers and to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

This week, Sessions used the Bible to explain the administration's policy. 

“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,” Sessions said during a speech in Fort Wayne, Ind. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.”

The White House defended his argument. "It is very biblical to enforce the law," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said when pressed by reporters on Thursday.

“To argue that these policies are consistent with Christian teaching is unsound, a flawed interpretation, and a shocking violation of the spirit of the Gospel,” Henry-Crowe wrote.

“Christian sacred texts should never be used to justify policies that oppress or harm children and families,” the statement added.

The United Methodist Church joins the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Church in distancing themselves from or denouncing President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 MORE’s immigration policies.