Attorney General Jeff Sessions is abusing migrant children by separating them from their families and placing them in detention centers, according to a letter signed by over 600 members of The United Methodist Church from all over the country.
The letter from The United Methodist Church was written on Monday and sent to the pastoral leadership at Sessions’ home church in Mobile, Ala., along with his current church in Arlington, Va. The formal complaint made against Sessions accuses him of child abuse for implementing the separation of migrant children from their families and placing them in “mass incarceration facilities with little to no structured educational or socio-emotional support.”
In the letter, Sessions is also accused of immorality for the use of violence against the children who attempted to stop the separation from their parents who are being deported. The document referred to the separation of children in the deportation process as kidnapping when many are seeking asylum from the dangerous places they are being sent back to.
The attorney general is also being charged with racial discrimination by hundreds of his fellow Methodist Church members. Examples of the racial discrimination that he has been accused of went beyond the immigration policies that he is enforcing. Sessions is being accused of stopping the investigations of police departments who have been charged with racial discrimination along with criminalizing racial justice activist groups like Black Lives Matter.
The UMC letter also accuses Sessions of placing a focus on incarcerating Muslim or Latin people looking to come into the country and receive asylum. While Sessions previously tried to use the Bible to defend the separation of children and their parents during the deportation processes that he has enforced, the letter signed by a large number of clergy members is accusing him of the “dissemination of doctrines contrary to the standards of doctrine of the United Methodist Church.”
Last week, Sessions cited Romans 13 to explain his department’s immigration policy that is separating children from their parents being deported and placing them in detention centers.
“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 the government for his purposes,” Sessions said in a speech to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Ind., according to The Washington Post. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent and fair application of the law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak and protects the lawful.”
However, hundreds in his denomination are calling Sessions out for misusing scripture. The letter written for accountability purposes says that Sessions’ scripture reference is used in “stark contrast to disciplinary commitments to supporting freedom of conscience and resistance to unjust laws.”
While layman in the Methodist denomination does not typically have charges brought against them in this manner, Sessions’ unique position of power has motivated those in his denomination to take action. Through the processes of the United Methodist Church, it is possible that Sessions could face expulsion from the denomination.
However, Rev. David Wright, a Pacific Northwest Conference elder and chaplain at the University of Puget Sound in Washington State who organized of the charges against Sessions, does not aim to get him booted from the church.
“I hope his pastor can have a good conversation with him and come to a good resolution that helps him reclaim his values that many of us feel he’s violated as a Methodist,” Wright said, according to the UMC website. “I would look upon his being taken out of the denomination or leaving as a tragedy.”