Romans 13, Trump's Biblical Justification For Caging Children, Tied To Nazis

Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1990-048-29A / Heinrich Hoffmann / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others have turned to Romans 13 to justify their actions, much as Adolf Hitler did.

America’s faith communities largely disapprove of President Donald Trump’s immigration policy involving the traumatizing practice of removing children from their families as parents are prosecuted for unlawful entry into the United States.

But elements of the evangelical Christian community have turned to the Bible for proof that the policy is both just and scripturally sound.

Last week, the head of Capitol Ministries – which leads prayer and bible studies for Washington, D.C. officials – said Attorney General Jeff Sessions was right to cite Romans 13 in defense of his inhumane policy.

“The passage the Attorney General cited, Romans 13, bespeaks of this: there are and there should be serious, known consequences for breaking the laws of the land — otherwise the law becomes toothless and inconsequential and it is no longer a deterrent to harmful behavior, which is what God designed it to be,” [Ralph] Drollinger wrote.

Drollinger is not alone in his opinion on what can only be called biblical proof-texting – the removal of context to twist Scripture to one’s own agenda – but that does not make him right.

It is unlikely that Drollinger would agree that Romans 13 should be used to justify the atrocities committed under Adolf Hitler during World War II – but that is precisely the company he keeps by employing the passage in defense of family separations.

As The Intellectualist noted previously, the Third Reich fell back upon Scripture in an attempt to make right the horrific treatment of Jews and others as it imprisoned, tortured, and murdered people in concentration camps and established an authoritarian state.

In July 1933, during Hitler’s first summer in power, a young German pastor named Joachim Hossenfelder preached a sermon in the towering Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Berlin’s most important church. He used the words of Romans 13 to remind worshippers of the importance of obedience to those in authority. The church was festooned with Nazi banners and Stormtrooper flags, its pews packed with the Nazi Party faithful – including men in the brown shirts of the Sturmabteilung, the Nazis’ paramilitary movement.

Both Sessions and Drollinger – any any others who agree that Romans 13, pulled from its context to the detriment of the whole of Christian teaching – would do well to reconsider their allegiance to the same interpretation and usage that Hitler himself used to justify his actions.