Hours after the U.S. attorney general cited the Bible to defend the policy of separating immigrant children from their families, about 60 people marched in Wichita to protest.
Many in the group carried signs that also cited Bible verses, but that opposed the zero-tolerance immigration policy that has led to about 500 children being separated from their parents within the last month. Although the practice has occurred for years, the separations have surged under the Trump administration’s new policies.
The protesters, including families with young children, marched Thursday afternoon with homemade signs in front of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Delano.
Mick Green, one of the protesters, said that it’s nothing new for people to use the Bible to justify something.
“It (the Bible) is a story of love and grace and mercy,” Green said. “To use that to justify separating families, it’s an atrocity.”
The Bible and immigration policies grabbed headlines Thursday after Attorney General Jeff Sessions referenced the Bible in defense of separating children from their families.
“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,” he said.
When asked about Sessions' statement later Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she hadn’t heard the remarks, but that, “I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law.”
Another Wichita protester, Julie Frady, held a sign with a verse from the Old Testament book of Obadiah.
“You should NOT stand at the crossroads to cut down fleeing REFUGEES … in the day of their DISTRESS,” the sign said.
The passage refers to the people of Edom who turned away refugees after Israel was attacked by Babylon.
God said one of the reasons he was going to destroy the Edomites was because they stood “at the crossroads, their border” and killed or turned back refugees, Frady said.
Hearing about Sessions' and Sanders’ remarks made her feel “complicated,” Frady said. When laws are unjust, people have a responsibility to change those laws and obey God rather than men, she said.
“Children who are separated from their parents like this are traumatized,” Frady said. “And we’re doing that to children as a deterrent for adult decisions? That’s not right.”