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The upside of Attorney General Jeff Sessions using Paul’s Letter to the Romans to defend the administration’s policy of family separation at the border was that people might go read the Bible for a moment. Or so was my prayer. He and others were quoting Romans 13 to emphasize the need for people to obey laws. Of course, there were many things wrong with this, not the least being Jeff Sessions himself could probably think of some laws he isn’t as fond of. I think primarily of Roe v. Wade, imposed by the Supreme Court some four decades ago. It’s hard not to think of it for a number of reasons, including the fact that children being taken from their parents isn’t quite consistent with an administration waving a pro-life banner.
Now I know there were all kinds of frustrations — that the media was using Scripture as a battering ram, that the Obama administration had similar policies and there didn’t seem to be the same kind of outrage. None of that makes it right to continue. And none of it excuses the misuse of Scripture. The best thing about Romans 13 is to open it up and see how much love surrounds it.
Consider Romans 12:
“Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (Rom 12:2).
Or, later in the chapter:
“Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good, love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality”...
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