The American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) has released a letter sent to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressing “deep concern” over the country’s “unjust immigration policies.”
In the letter, dated June 15, ABCUSA General Secretary Lee Spitzer identifies himself as national pastor of the 5,000 congregations and 1.3 million members of the denomination. Noting the ABCUSA’s “long and distinguished record of service in welcoming immigrants and refugees to communities throughout the United States,” he goes on to express concern at current immigration poliies and to “adamantly oppose separating children from their relatives.”
Recognizing that “a just society can fulfill its fidelity to its own laws and border security” wthout resorting to these measures, Spitzer urges “that compassion, fairness and family-affirming policies characterize our response to the plight of families on our borders.” He also acknowledges the burden these polices places on “law enforcement agents and officials.”
On June 14, Sessions cited Romans 13:1 in defending what he terms a “zero tolerance” policy, a move widely criticized across the religious spectrum. The ABCUSA letter states “we strongly disagree with your erroneous appropriation of the New Testament (in particular, Romans 13) to justify inhumane and unjust governmental actions” and hopes that the separation of children and parents “will immediately cease.” Spitzer calls upon both the President and Congress to pass more “compasionate and just” policies and procedures.
The entire letter can be read here.