In addition to his role in the Trump administration, Attorney General Jeff Sessions works as a Sunday school teacher at the Ashland Place United Methodist Church in Mobile, Alabama.
But in light of the growing controversy over the "zero tolerance" border policy, which Sessions announced last month, hundreds of members of the United Methodist Church are demanding Sessions be charged with child abuse for violating church doctrine.
Jeff Sessions has been charged with “child abuse” by the United Methodist Church over border policy https://t.co/Oc2N3tcFAt— Diane K. Kovacs (@Diane K. Kovacs) 1529438192.0
More than 600 worshippers and clergy members have 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.
More than 600 members of the United Methodist Church have issued a formal church complaint against AG Jeff Sessions… https://t.co/elc3K2qtrb— CNN (@CNN) 1529436364.0
“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."
So far, 639 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.
@CNN I am a United Methodist member and I concur.— LetsGetReal (@LetsGetReal) 1529436805.0
“[We’re] hoping for a change in Mr. Sessions’s heart,” Wright said. “That he will not only step back and stop the things he’s doing with his social and political power that are causing such significant harm but that he would then use his power to bring repair, bring healing and reunite families.”
@HuffPostPol From the article: If the complaint isn’t resolved, it’s possible for charges to result in a church trial and even expulsion.— Jane Datz (@Jane Datz) 1529427901.0
Sessions is also accused of “oppression of those seeking asylum” and racial discrimination for “attempting to criminalize Black Lives Matter and other racial justice activist groups."
@CNN I don't know how the Methodist Church works, but if possible they should excommunicate him.— Carlos F. Herrera (@Carlos F. Herrera) 1529436503.0
In May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that children of parents attempting to enter into the United States across our border with Mexico would be separated from their parents. More than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents in the last six weeks.
Earlier this month, Sessions announced that domestic and gang violence would no longer be considered as grounds for asylum. “The prototypical refugee flees her home country because the government has persecuted her,” Sessions wrote in his ruling.
“An alien may suffer threats and violence in a foreign country for any number of reasons relating to her social, economic, family or other personal circumstances,” he added. “Yet the asylum statute does not provide redress for all misfortune.”
@CNN As a member of A Methodist Church in TEXAS I send out a proud AMEN! 🙏🏼🙏🏻🙏🏾— Robin Nic (@Robin Nic) 1529436946.0
Last week, Sessions invoked Bible verse Romans 13 as justification for the policy, which separates migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexican border.
"I do not believe scripture or church history or reason condemns a secular nation-state for having reasonable immigration laws," Sessions said. He added that the Bible commands obeying the law and that God has "ordained the government for his purposes."
The United Methodist Church called the policy “antithetical to the teachings of Christ.”
I also have a ZERO tolerance policy: ZERO tolerance for Kirstjen Nielsen. ZERO tolerance for Sarah Sanders. ZERO t… https://t.co/7omdNhN5U1— Ryan Knight 🏳️🌈🗽 (@Ryan Knight 🏳️🌈🗽) 1529394370.0
On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions went on Fox News to defend the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” border policy, which has resulted in nearly 12,000 migrant children being placed in detention centers - a policy that some have compared to Nazi concentration camps.
@HuffPostPol It’s about time that church leaders stood up and spoke out against Trumps immoral behaviour. It has a… https://t.co/vk8E8u2RLs— Humanist. (@Humanist.) 1529429772.0
Sessions explained to Laura Ingraham that these claims are “exaggerations,” because “in Nazi Germany, they were keeping the Jews from leaving the country.”