Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday was heckled by religious protesters who blasted the Alabama Republican for his un-Christian treatment of undocumented immigrants.
Sessions was speaking to the Boston Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society when a member of the clergy in attendance stood up and recited Bible verse Matthew 25:43, which has to do with kindness to strangers. The man urged Sessions to "repent."
“Brother Jeff, as a fellow United Methodist I call upon you to repent," the Methodist pastor said, "to care for those in need, to remember that when you do not care for others, you are wounding the body of Christ."
Sessions defensively brushed off the pastor's remarks as an "attack."
“Well, thank you for those remarks and attack,” Sessions responded, “but I would just tell you we do our best every day to fulfill my responsibility to enforce the laws of the United States.”
Watch the clip below:
Religious leaders interrupt Attorney General Jeff Sessions' speech: "Brother Jeff, as a fellow United Methodist I c… https://t.co/ncKllGwWKu— ABC News Politics (@ABC News Politics) 1540831705.0
Shortly thereafter, a second man was met with boos and jeers of "go home!" from the audience when he tried to interrupt Sessions. He can be heard calling Sessions "hypocritical" for his approach to immigration as he was escorted out of the room.
Sessions defended his position by saying his job is to enforce the law.
"I don't believe there's anything in my theology that says a secular nation-state cannot have lawful laws to control immigration," the attorney general said, "not immoral, not indecent and not unkind to state what your laws are and then set about to enforce them."
Watch the clip below:
Jeff Sessions responds to protesters: "I don't believe there's anything in my theology that says a secular nationst… https://t.co/5EVfXafq4V— ABC News Politics (@ABC News Politics) 1540832687.0
First, Twitter noticed that the crowd only booed one of the protesters - who happens to be black.
Indeed, although the real stir was caused by Sessions' use of the word "attack." Twitter wasn't having it.
@ABCPolitics Dear Attorney General Jeff Sessions, This is Anthony Borges, he is a student at Stoneman Douglas who… https://t.co/XNeFJM7mqT— Marie (@Marie) 1540832631.0
@ABCPolitics It wasn’t an attack.— Naydean Phillips (@Naydean Phillips) 1540831861.0
@ABCPolitics Attack? My God. Be human.— kate larkworthy (@kate larkworthy) 1540831971.0
@ABCPolitics Definitely not an attack. Good job at standing up for what you believe in! Now, if only we had an admi… https://t.co/gpDbzup99S— Political Thoughts With Steve Podcast 🇺🇸🎙 (@Political Thoughts With Steve Podcast 🇺🇸🎙) 1540832793.0
@ABCPolitics It's sad when constructive criticism delivered in a civil manner is considered an attack. Repent indeed!— Tom Mason (@Tom Mason) 1540832617.0
The optics of tossing out religious leaders who were exercising their First Amendment rights are terrible, regardless of spiritual belief.
@ABCPolitics Wait... Are they throwing the Clergy out because @jeffsessions had his wittle feelings hurt?....— Devin Nunes Black Aunt from Russia (@Devin Nunes Black Aunt from Russia) 1540832857.0
@LjollyRenay @ABCPolitics @jeffsessions Hmmm. Anti-religiosity at work?— Gaye Tannenbaum #IMPEACH (@Gaye Tannenbaum #IMPEACH) 1540834920.0
@ABCPolitics When you’re thrown out for espousing the message of Jesus Christ at a gathering of religious leaders,… https://t.co/TNtFBSsmxS— 🅣🅡🅘🅢🅗 (@🅣🅡🅘🅢🅗) 1540833573.0
Sessions, a devout Methodist, is no stranger to being criticized by members of his own faith.
In June, hundreds of members of the United Methodist Church in Alabama signed a letter denouncing Sessions' support of President Donald Trump's family separation policy.
The United Methodist Church decried the policy as “antithetical to the teachings of Christ.”
More than 600 worshippers and clergy members accused the attorney general of child abuse, racism, immorality, and “dissemination of doctrines contrary to the established standards of doctrines” of the United Methodist Church.
“A week ago, I couldn’t have imagined doing this,” said Reverend David Wright, who gathered the signatures on the letter and has been leading the effort to punish Sessions for “[separating] thousands of young children from their parents [and] holding thousands of children in mass incarceration facilities.”
Over 600 people have signed the letter, which includes members of the clergy and laity.
In part, it reads:
"While other individuals and areas of the federal government are implicated in each of these examples, Mr. Sessions—as a long-term United Methodist in a tremendously powerful, public position—is particularly accountable to us, his church. As his denomination, we have an ethical obligation to speak boldly when one of our members is engaged in causing significant harm in matters contrary to the Discipline on the global stage."
Sessions was also accused of “oppression of those seeking asylum” and racial discrimination for “attempting to criminalize Black Lives Matter and other racial justice activist groups.”