Jeff Sessions cited a Bible passage used by American slaveholders to defend Trump’s family separation policy

It’s rarely been used since the Civil War.

By Emily Stewart, vox.com,

Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the Trump administration’s family separation policy for asylum seekers by invoking a controversial passage in the Bible that’s rarely been cited since the Civil War because it was used by Southerners to defend slavery.

This is what Sessions said at a speech to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on Thursday, according to NBC News:

Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. 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.

The historical context spread across Twitter. Yoni Appelbaum, a historian and editor at the Atlantic, showed the passage was cited during key moments in the American debate over slavery:

The Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer and Keith McMillan spoke with experts for a piece that ran Friday morning and concluded that Sessions’s decision to cite Romans 13 is an unusual one, given how the passage has been used historically.

“This is the same argument that Southern slaveholders and the advocates of a Southern way of life made,” John Fea, a professor of American history at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, told the Post.

Abolitionists argued that slavery was unconscionably cruel and pointed, specifically, to separating families as a violation of religious principles, Appelbaum explained. Slavery defenders said the duty to abide by law was part of the Bible and specifically cited Romans 13. Abolitionists, ultimately, won the argument over slavery.

Fea told the Post that after the Civil War, there haven’t been as many references to Romans 13 because the passage’s message about submitting to authority is regarded as un-American. “Whenever Romans 13 was used in the 18th and 19th century — and Sessions seems to be doing the same thing, so in this sense there is some continuity — it’s a way of manipulating the scriptures to justify your own political agenda,” Fea said.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders made the same “the Bible says follow the law” argument on Thursday

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Thursday was asked about Sessions’s invocation of the Bible to defend the administration’s family separation policy. She said she wasn’t “aware” of the attorney general’s specific comments but sided with him on the Bible part.

“I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law,” Sanders said. “That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible.”

When CNN’s Jim Acosta asked whether she believes the practice is moral, Sanders replied, “It’s a moral policy to follow and enforce the law.”

President Donald Trump in a surprise appearance on Fox & Friends on Friday defended the policy as well, but he didn’t mention the Bible. “That’s the law,” he said.

Family separation isn’t the law

The Trump administration has recently implemented a policy of separating children from their parents as they attempt to enter the United States seeking asylum at the US border. They’re typically splitting up families by charging parents with illegal entry into the US and sending them into criminal custody and treating their children as if they were “unaccompanied alien children” who had tried to enter the United States alone.

The policy has sent shock waves across the country, igniting outrage on the part of immigration advocates, human rights groups, and citizens across the political spectrum. Multiple reports of uniquely aggressive or inhumane treatment have added fuel to the fire, including a Honduran man who died by suicide less than a day after being separated from his wife and 3-year-old child by Border Patrol agents, and a Honduran woman who says officials took her daughter away while she was breastfeeding her in a detention center.

The White House is arguing that what it’s doing is just what the legal code says. “We’re a country of law and order, and we’re enforcing the law and protecting our borders,” Sanders said.

Except that’s not the case. As Vox’s Dara Lind points out, there is no law that requires immigrant families to be separated:

The decision to charge everyone crossing the border with illegal entry — and the decision to charge asylum seekers in criminal court rather than waiting to see if they qualify for asylum — are both decisions the Trump administration has made.

Other administration officials back up Trump by pointing to the laws that give extra protections to families, unaccompanied children, and asylum seekers. The administration has been asking Congress to change these laws since it came into office, and has blamed them for stopping Trump from securing the border the way he’d like. (Those aren’t “Democratic laws” either; the law addressing unaccompanied children was passed overwhelmingly in 2008 and signed by George W. Bush, while the restriction on detaining families is a result of federal litigation.)

In that context, the law isn’t forcing Trump to separate families; it’s keeping Trump from doing what he’d perhaps really like to do, which is simply sending families back or keeping them in detention together, and so he has had to resort to plan B.

Romans 13 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Fulfilling the Law Through Love

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV)® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 

13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Fulfilling the Law Through Love

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Romans 13

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV). ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Submission to the Authorities

13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Fulfilling the Law Through Love

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law….

 

Separation of children from immigrant parents at the border – Compilation

Titles of articles related to separation of children from immigrant parents at the border – scroll down for excerpt; click link for full text

Huckabee Sanders Defends Ripping Children From Parents, Because It’s “Very Biblical to Enforce the Law”Excerpt – “That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible,” said the White House press secretary by Jon Queally, Common Dreams, June 14, 2018 – Excerpt – Asked to comment on remarks made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier in the day about how the Trump administration’s policy of ripping children out of the arms of their immigrant parents is somehow justified by the Christian Bible, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday afternoon said she could not respond specifically to the AG’s claims but said “it is very biblical to enforce the law.” “That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible,” Huckabee Sanders said in response to the question by CNN’s Jim Acosta …Citing increasingly horrific stories of the children of immigrant and asylum-seeking parents being separated at the border, Acosta said “can you imagine the horror these children must be going through” and asked, “Why is the government doing this?” “Because it’s the law,” Huckabee Sanders responded. “And that’s what the law states.”…subsequent reporters pushed back against the false claims the press secretary was making—namely that their family separation policy was “the law” and not a specific policy choice pushed by President Trump and promoted at the DOJ by Sessions on multiple occasions…

How Liberals Got Lost on the Story of Missing Children at the Border  By Amanda Taub, nytimes.com, May 31, 2018

Anguish at Southwest border as more immigrant children are separated from parents

Hundreds of Immigrant Children Have Been Taken From Parents at the border 

Parents, children ensnared in ‘zero-tolerance’ border prosecutions

Separating parents from their kids at the border contradicts everything we know about children’s welfare

Trump Blames Own Border Policy on Democrats

Excerpts from titles listed above:

Anguish at Southwest border as more immigrant children are separated from parents by Suzanne Gamboa and Daniella Silva, nbcnews.com, May.22.2018

“Wouldn’t you feel anguish if they took your kids? I’d be going crazy. It’s inhumane,” said a public defender in McAllen, Texas.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a goal to criminally prosecute 100 percent of people crossing the border illegally — including families with children. Those who are charged with improper entry — a misdemeanor on the first infraction — are jailed and separated from their children. Previously, most parents had been allowed to remain with their children in family shelters while awaiting asylum cases or deportation proceedings.

The Trump administration’s willingness to take children from their parents has raised concerns about how far authorities should go to stem unauthorized border crossings and what human cost is acceptable in the name of border security and immigration control.

“There is something terrible happening here that Americans would not support if they understood it,” said F. Scott McCown, director of the Children’s Rights Clinic at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law.

Sessions: ‘If you are smuggling a child, we will prosecute you.’

From October 2017 to mid-April, before the new prosecution strategy officially went into effect, more than 700 children were reportedly separated from their parents at the border. The federal government has not released figures from May, but those who work on immigration cases have observed a large increase in the number of children affected. Nogueras said he previously saw only one or two such cases a week in the McAllen courtroom in the Southern District of Texas; last week, he saw about 33 cases.

“Wouldn’t you feel anguish if they took your kids? I’d be going crazy. It’s inhumane,” he [public defender Miguel "Andy" Nogueras] said.

Other attorneys and advocates have reported similar torment among immigrant parents…

“The human cost of this will be great,” Franco [Maureen Franco, a federal public defender for the Western District of Texas] said.

… space in shelters and foster homes is limited; The Washington Post reported the administration plans to open facilities at military bases to house some of the separated children…

Trump administration officials have said the purpose of the new zero-tolerance policy is not explicitly to dissuade families with children from crossing into the U.S. illegally, but rather to protect children from kidnapping and smuggling and to more strictly enforce existing laws….

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued over the family separations and sought an injunction to stop them and is awaiting a ruling…

“This is as bad a practice as I’ve seen in my career,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, who has worked for the ACLU for more than 25 years. “It has such a cruel feel to it.”

Hundreds of Immigrant Children Have Been Taken From Parents at the border By Caitlin Dickerson, New York Times, April 20, 2018

For months, members of Congress have been demanding answers about how many families are being separated as they are processed at stations along the southwest border, in part because the Trump administration has in the past said it was considering taking children from their parents as a way to deter migrants from coming here.

Officials have repeatedly declined to provide data on how many families have been separated, but suggested that the number was relatively low.

But new data reviewed by The New York Times shows that more than 700 children have been taken from adults claiming to be their parents since October, including more than 100 children under the age of 4.

The data was prepared by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services that takes custody of children who have been removed from migrant parents….a spokesman for the health and human services department on Friday acknowledged in a statement that there were “approximately 700.”…

But Trump administration officials have suggested publicly in the past that they were, indeed, considering a deterrence policy. Last year, John F. Kelly, President Trump’s chief of staff, floated the idea while he was serving as homeland security secretary…

If approved, the plan would have closed detention facilities that are designed to house families and replaced them with separate shelters for adults and children. The White House supported the move and convened a group of officials from several federal agencies to consider its merits. But the Department of Homeland Security has said the policy was never adopted…the children can languish in custody indefinitelyOnce a child has entered the shelter system, there is no firm process to determine whether they have been separated from someone who was legitimately their parent, or for reuniting parents and children who had been mistakenly separated, said a Border Patrol official, who was not authorized to discuss the agency’s policies publicly.

“The idea of punishing parents who are trying to save their children’s lives, and punishing children for being brought to safety by their parents by separating them, is fundamentally cruel and un-American,” said Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission, an advocacy group that conducts interviews and monitoring at immigration detention centers, including those that house children. “It really to me is just a horrific ‘Sophie’s Choice’ for a mom.”…

Protecting children at the border is complicated because there have, indeed, been instances of fraud. … Mr. Trump has repeatedly expressed frustration that the agency has not been aggressive enough in policing the border, according to a person at the White House who is familiar with the discussions.

Officials presented Mr. Trump with a list of proposals, including the plan to routinely separate immigrant adults from their children. The president urged Ms. Nielsen to move forward with the policies, the person said.

But even groups that support stricter immigration policies have stopped short of endorsing a family separation policy. Jessica M. Vaughan, the director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, one such group, said that family separation should only be used as a “last resort.”…

Parents, children ensnared in ‘zero-tolerance’ border prosecutions By Curt Prendergast and Perla Trevizo Arizona Daily Star, May 25, 2018

Parents who cross the border illegally with their children may face criminal charges as federal prosecutors in Tucson follow through on a recent directive from Attorney General Jeff Sessions to prosecute all valid cases… said U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Cosme Lopez.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection started referring families caught crossing illegally for prosecution several weeks ago, Lopez said. Those prosecutions unfold both in Streamline cases and through individual prosecutions….

“When they will be reunited, I cannot say because that’s an immigration matter,” [Christopher] Lewis, [federal prosecutor] said…

In an April 6 memorandum to federal prosecutors, Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy for first-time illegal border crossers. On May 7, he said the Department of Homeland Security was referring 100 percent of illegal crossers for criminal prosecution in federal court.

“If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you,” Sessions said. “It’s that simple.”

The children would be “put into foster care or whatever,” Kelly said in response to criticism that taking a mother from her child is cruel and heartless….

Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector apprehended 2,500 people crossing the border as families from October to the end of April, CBP records show. In the Yuma Sector, agents apprehended nearly 8,000. The borderwide total is nearly 50,000, down from 59,500 during the same period in fiscal 2017.

At Arizona’s ports of entry, about 5,500 people traveling as families were deemed inadmissible from October to April. The borderwide total was 30,000, up from about 21,000 during the same period in fiscal 2017.

Separating parents from their kids at the border contradicts everything we know about children’s welfare By [Dr.] Colleen Kraft, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Opinion section, LATimes, May 03, 2018

…Studies overwhelmingly demonstrate the irreparable harm caused by breaking up families…These parents are given two untenable options. They can return with their children to their home country and the conditions that forced them to flee in the first place. Or they can endure being detained sometimes halfway across the country from their children… In some cases, parents have been deported, leaving a child behind in government custody.The American Academy of Pediatrics has written to the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security — now Kirstjen Nielsen — on at least five occasions opposing the forced separation of parents and children at the border. More than 200 child welfare, juvenile justice and child development organizations signed a letter urging Nielsen to abandon any plans to systematically separate children from their families. Members of Congress have spoken out in opposition. And yet we know the practice continuesDr. Colleen Kraft is the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Trump Blames Own Border Policy on Democrats By D’Angelo Gore, factcheck.org, May 22, 2018

President Donald Trump wrongly blamed Democrats for a Trump administration policy that will separate parents and their young children caught entering the U.S. illegally.

“We have to break up families,” Trump claimed, because of “bad laws that the Democrats gave us.” But there is no such law. Instead, it’s the administration’s decision to criminally prosecute all immigrants who cross the border illegally that will cause children to be separated from their parents…

U.S Attorney General Jeff Sessions outlined the new enforcement actions on May 7.

“If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple,” Sessions said. “If you smuggle illegal aliens across our border, then we will prosecute you. If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law.”…

Because minors cannot be kept in jails for adults, children would be separated from parents charged with committing a crime, Brown explained. Children would then be considered unaccompanied minors and turned over to the refugee resettlement office.

In fact, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who was Homeland Security secretary before Nielsen, indicated in March 2017 that DHS was considering splitting up parents and children as a strategy to deter other families from illegally immigrating to the U.S…the decision to prosecute all offenders is one that was made by the current administration. It is not a law that “Democrats gave us,” as Trump said…

last update: May 27, 2018 by Phyllis Stenerson, editor

How Liberals Got Lost on the Story of Missing Children at the Border By Amanda Taub, nytimes.com, May 31, 2018

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/31/upshot/liberals-immigration-children-border-misinformation.html?em_pos=large&emc=edit_cn_20180601&nl=first-draft&nlid=66282084edit_cn_20180601&ref=headline&te=1

 

U.S. to Grow Grayer, More Diverse, Minorities Will Be Majority by 2042, Census Bureau Says By N.C. Aizenman

WashingtonPost, August 14, 2008

The nation’s population will look dramatically different by mid-century, becoming more racially and ethnically diverse and a good deal older as it increases from about 302 million to 439 million by 2050, according to projections released today by the U.S. Census Bureau…Minorities, about one-third of the U.S. population, are expected to become a majority by 2042 and be 54 percent of U.S. residents by 2050.

Full text

The nation’s population will look dramatically different by mid-century, becoming more racially and ethnically diverse and a good deal older as it increases from about 302 million to 439 million by 2050, according to projections released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The findings are in line with recent analyses published by independent demographers, but they are the first such official Census Bureau projections in years.

Minorities, about one-third of the U.S. population, are expected to become a majority by 2042 and be 54 percent of U.S. residents by 2050.

The shift will happen sooner among children, 44 percent of whom are minority. By 2023, more than half are expected to be minority, and by 2050, the proportion will be 62 percent.

The largest share of children, 39 percent, is projected to be Hispanic, followed by non-Hispanic whites (38 percent), African Americans (11 percent) and Asians (6 percent).

Hispanics, including immigrants and their descendants as well as U.S.-born residents whose American roots stretch back generations, are expected to account for the most growth among minorities. That population is expected to nearly triple by 2050, growing from about one in six residents to one in three.

The black and Asian populations are each expected to increase about 60 percent, with the black share rising from 14 to 15 percent by 2050 and the Asian share jumping from 5 to 9 percent.

The number of people who identify themselves as being from two or more races is also expected to grow, more than tripling to 16.2 million, or 4 percent of the population.

By contrast, the non-Hispanic, single-race white population is expected to grow by less than 2 percent, reducing its share of the overall population from 66 to 46 percent. That group is projected to decline in the 2030s and 2040s, as more members die than are born in or move to the United States.

However, the 65-and-older population is expected to remain mostly white because of the number of whites born during the post-World War II baby boom. By 2030, all boomers will be 65 or older; by 2050, that age group will have more than doubled and will account for more than one in five residents, compared with one in eight today.

Similarly, the 85-and-older population is expected to more than triple, accounting for about 4 percent of U.S. residents in 2050, compared with fewer than 2 percent today.

The percentage of the population that is of working age will drop from 63 to 57 percent. As is the case with children, the working-age population is projected to become majority-minority before 2050. By mid-century, it is expected to be 30 percent Hispanic, 15 percent black and nearly 10 percent Asian.

William H. Frey, a researcher with the Brookings Institution, said the demographic changes could presage equally profound political cleavages.

“Politically, whites will be much more interested in issues like health care and pensions,” he said. “At the same time, the growing minority population — Hispanics, especially — will be concerned about more youthful issues, like schools.”

Other analysts focused on the potential environmental and quality-of-life effects of the projected population increases and the degree to which immigration might affect them.

“What this population rise means to me is anywhere from 40 to 80 million more cars on the road, 35 to 40 million more houses built,” said Steven Camarota, a researcher at the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors stricter limits on immigration.

“As a consequence of federal immigration policy, we’re going to be a significantly more densely settled country,” Camarota said, “and it’s important to recognize that this is a choice we’re making. This is not the weather that we have no control over. This is something we can change, so it’s worth asking ourselves if this is something we want.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/13/AR2008081303524.html

Moral Politics

“All politics is moral.” George Lakoff

“All of the various fields of human inquiry — theology and philosophy and morality and psychology meet rather beautifully in politics. And sometimes I wonder if politics isn’t exactly that, it’s the taking of all the sort of great ineffable and trying to make them have some meaning in the actually historical moment on earth in which we live.” Tony Kushner – writer of “Lincoln” interview with Bill Moyers

We live in an anti-political moment, when many people — young people especially — think politics is a low, nasty, corrupt and usually fruitless business. It’s much nobler to do community service or just avoid all that putrid noise…. you can do more good in politics than in any other sphere…Politics is noble because it involves personal compromise for the public good…politics is the best place to develop the highest virtuesWhy We Love Politics By DAVID BROOKS, New York Times, November 22, 2012

The Spiritual Crisis Underlying American Politics By John Amodeo, PsychCentral.com, October 14, 2013

The Bible Paradox by Big Think Editors, October 20, 2013 – Excerpt – Nearly 80 percent of all Americans think the Bible is either literally true or is the inspired word of God. And yet, most Americans have no idea what is actually in the Bible…so we have the paradoxical situation in which we as a culture “have invested the words of this book with amazing authority even when we don’t know what these words are and what they mean.” So says Joel Baden, Associate Professor of Old Testament at Yale Divinity School…“The Bible has effectively ceased to become a text,” Baden argues, but instead has become a symbol of power and authority “that is undergirded by the relatively uninformed faith commitments of the majority of the American public. To speak in the name of the Bible is to claim a piece of that authority.” And this is a power that can be abused, and often is…Our religious traditions have taught us to read the Bible this way. Since we are conditioned to search the Bible for one meaning, we have lost the ability to be careful readers…if we are to continue to invest as much authority in the Bible as we do, Baden says, we — as serious readers of the text — cannot pretend that the Bible is a single, clear statement of belief. Rather, “it is a jumble of beliefs…This text that our culture holds most sacred is a living reminder that human interaction is founded on dialogue and not monologue — the inclusion of differences, not their exclusion.

Why the Government Shutdown Is Unbiblical by Jim Wallis, Sojourners, posted on Huffingtonpost.com, Oct 3, 2013 — the poorest and most vulnerable who are always hurt the most in a crisis like this…that is our job in politics — to talk about what happens to themThe biblical purpose of government is to protect from evil and to promote the good.That vision of “common good” is what we have lost, and there is nothing more important in our public life than to find it again…To be opposed to government per se, especially when that opposition serves the ultimate power of other wealthy and powerful interests, is simply not a biblical position. Transparency, accountability, and service are the ethics of good government. “Of the people, by the people, and for the people” is still a good measure and goal of civil authority…

America Is Not a Christian Nation and Never Has Been: Why Is the Right Obsessed With Pushing a Revisionist History? By Amanda Marcotte, AlterNet, October 16, 2013 

A Religious Legacy, With Its Leftward Tilt, Is Reconsidered By JENNIFER SCHUESSLER, New York Times, July 23, 2013

Religion challenges left and right By E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post, August 4 

Religious progressives hold stronger appeal among Millennials By Robby Jones, Washington Post, July 18, 2013 The Washington Post Company

Six challenges for organizing a progressive religious movement By Robert P. Jones, Washington Post, August 2, 2013

Why Progressives Can’t Ignore Religion by Mike Lux, Alter­Net, Febru­ary 27, 2012  ..Wall or no wall, politics and religion have always been inextricably intertwined, and we won’t win until we recognize and deal with that fact…

LGBT Advocates Need Public Progressive Faith

Why Few Americans View Climate Change as a Moral Problemby Ezra Markowitz, BigThink.com, June 15, 2012 – . The moral judgment system—the set of cognitive, emotional, social and motivational mechanisms responsible for producing our perceptions of right and wrong—has been receiving a lot of attention recently, only some of it good. A slew of best-selling books, dozens of exciting new research findings, and a host of current events have converged to produce a rapidly growing interest in the role that moral judgment and intuition play in shaping everything from the effects of “green” products on ethical decision-making to growing political polarization…If climate advocates and communicators want people to perceive climate change as a moral imperative—and they should given that our moral intuitions are powerful motivators of action—then they’ll need to develop creative, evidence-based ways of confronting the challenges discussed above.…

Another Word on “God and the Twenty-First Century” by Michael Benedikt, Tikkun, March 5, 2011 – It is no longer necessary to invoke the name of God to explain or promote compassionate action. Today we understand we have evolved that capacity…what are commandments? Ways of bringing goodness to life through actions, through deeds…These are the words of three champions of monotheism [Judaism, Christianity, Islam]…But what should followers of these theist traditions think of the good practiced by nonbelievers — people who would say it’s quite unnecessary, and even counterproductive, to bring “God” into ordinary morality, who would offer that morality can and should be understood from an entirely scientific, evolutionary, and historical point of view thus: the capacity for empathy, fairness, and altruism is wired into human beings and even other higher mammals from birth, thanks to millions of generations of reproduction-with-variation under the constraints of natural selection. Similarly, the laws of civility — from the Eightfold Way and the Ten Commandments to the Magna Carta, the Geneva Convention, and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights — are the culturally transmitted legacy of thousands of years of human social evolution overlaid upon older, natural reproductive-selective processes. Whereas laws of civility may once have needed the rhetorical force of God-talk to establish themselves, today they can be embraced rationally in the service of peace and prosperity.

The Faithful Budget 

Why the Great Religious Realignment is a Great Secular Opportunity 

Seven Deadly American Sins

The Cry for Democratic Moral Leadership and Effective Communication by George Lakoff, Truthout.org, September 2, 2010  - ..Morality is behind everything in politics – and progressives and conservatives have different moral systems….America is, and has always been, fundamentally about Americans caring about each other and acting responsibly on that care. Empathy…is the basis of our form of government. Responsibility is both personal and social…Argue for your values. Frame all issues in terms of your value…

Obama’s ‘God talk’ was highlight of his convention acceptance speech

Do We Need Faith to Believe in Progress? by Andrew Cohen, 21st Century Living, April 20, 2012

Prophetic Politics: Charting A Healthy Role For Religion In Public Life By Robert Jensen, Countercurrents.org, February 3, 2012 – A review of Walter Brueggemann, The Practice of Prophetic Imagination: Preaching an Emancipatory Word (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012).

We need a new Social Gospel: the moral imperative of collective bargaining by Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite Washington Post – On Faith, February 23, 2011

What Does the Morality of Americans Have to Do With Immigration in America? by Katherine Fennelly, Professor, University of Minnesota. HuffingtonPost.com, July 9, 2010

Philosophy of Religion by Richard Taylor, Philosophy Now, 2004