Buddhist and Methodist Fire on Trump's Family Separation Policy

Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Methodists push to expel Sessions from the church

A denominational complaint through formal channels was lodged against Jeff Sessions , the United States Attorney General, by his fellow clergy and laypeople of the United Methodist Church (UMC). Over 600 people have given their signature to the petition. They have collectively condemned his role in the "zero tolerance" policy followed by the Trump administration. The President Trump-helmed government separates parents from their children all along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Attorney General Sessions is an Ashland Methodist Church member in Mobile, Alabama.

The principal author of the said letter is Dave Wright. He is an ordained elder of the UMC. Wright is also the University of Puget Sound chaplain. He hopes the complaint will culminate in productive pastoral conversations between UMC leaders and the Attorney General.

The United Methodist Church group in its statement dated June 18 said Sessions, through his actions, violated Paragraph 2702.3 of the Book of Discipline followed by the denomination. The Attorney General has been charged with racial discrimination, child abuse, and immorality on the issue of forcible separation of children from their parents. He is also accused of, "dissemination of doctrines contrary to the standards and doctrine of the United Methodist Church." This statement was a response to the Session’s official quoting Biblical verses to shore up the “zero tolerance” policy.

The complaint was dispatched to two churches, one in the suburbs of Washington D.C. and another in Alabama – both believed to be linked with Sessions. The complaint mentioned him by full name, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, and reminded the Attorney General of his position in the church hierarchy, a layperson. The document admitted his substantial political influence and the Attorney General's activity as a Sunday School teacher. The document asked for accountability of actions from Sessions which he should provide to his brothers and sisters in the UMC.

The UMC is not alone in its submission. The Soto Zen Buddhist Association on June 18 released a specific statement on the subject of parent-child separation at United States-Mexico border. This statement has been signed by over 200 leaders across all strains of Buddhism. The letter requests an end to the practice followed by United States Customs and Border Protection leading to the separation of immigrants from their children. The Buddhists termed this practice as contravening fundamental human rights that cannot be forgiven by any conscience. The letter calls on those who implemented the policy to visit the child detention facilities “so they can experience for themselves the present effects of their decisions.”

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