More than 600 members of the United Methodist Church have issued a formal complaint against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a fellow church member, charging that his “zero tolerance” policy on immigration violates church rules and may constitute child abuse. The complaint charges Sessions with violating the United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline, its code of laws and social principles. The charges could lead to a church trial, though few expect that to happen to the attorney general, the country’s top lawman.
Instead, the 640 Methodists charging Sessions, who include both clergy and lay members, have asked for a “reconciling process that will help this longtime member … step back from his harmful actions and work to repair the damage he is currently causing to immigrants, particularly families and children.” In other words, a spiritual intervention.
“While other individuals and areas of the federal government are implicated in each of these examples,” the complaint reads, “Mr. Sessions — as a long-term United Methodist in a tremendously powerful, public position — is particularly accountable to us, his church.”
The United Methodists’ complaint against Sessions lists four charges: child abuse, immorality, racial discrimination and “dissemination of doctrines contrary to the standards of doctrine of the United Methodist Church.” On the last charge, the complaint accuses Sessions of “misuse of Romans 13 to indicate the necessity of obedience to secular law.”
The president of the American Academy of Pediatrics told CNN the practice is “nothing less than government-sanctioned child abuse.” Administration officials deny that characterization. “We have high standards,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said. “We give them meals and we give them education and we give them medical care. There are videos, there are TVs.”
Surely that makes up for being taken from their parents, right?