Sessions’ Biblical Justification for Policy a Step Toward Theocracy

For Immediate Release: June 15, 2018
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director - (207) 358-9785


By using the Bible to justify the Justice Department’s immigrant detainment policy, Attorney General Jeff Sessions revealed his hostility toward the First Amendment and an embrace of Christian supremacy in America, said the Center for Inquiry (CFI). Likewise, the defense of Sessions’ remarks by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders showed a similar disregard for the Constitution in favor of Christian doctrine.

Defending the Department of Justice’s policy of separating children from their immigrant parents, Attorney General Sessions, speaking to law enforcement officers in Indiana on Thursday, said, “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 them for the purpose of order. Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.”

“When the Attorney General of the United States states plainly that the enforcement of federal policy is based on passages from the Christian Bible, and he faces no consequences for it, America has taken a dangerous step away from being a secular republic and toward theocracy,” said Nick Little, Vice President and Legal Counsel for CFI.

“Just imagine for a moment if an Attorney General cited the Quran as the basis for the Department of Justice’s detainment policies, or the Hindu Vedas, or even Dianetics or Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” said Little. “It would be both the height of absurdity and an indication of a grave crisis for the country. Facts, evidence, and the good of all Americans are what policy should be based on, never religion, myth, or alleged divine revelations.”

From the podium of the White House briefing room that same day, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in defense of Sessions, “I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law. That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible.”

“Setting aside the questionable biblical scholarship of the press secretary, the Bible is entirely irrelevant to the wisdom or morality of a government policy,” said Little. “This effort to cloak government policy in the trappings of Christianity isn’t just offensive to believers in secular government. It also must deeply offend Christians who don’t want their faith to be used to justify tearing children from their parents’ arms.”

Added Little, “The government of the United States of America was founded upon secularism and the principles of the Enlightenment, even if Jeff Sessions and Sarah Sanders would rather it wasn’t.”

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at