It’s been a very long week. Can you believe that President Trump’s historic (and largely fruitless) summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was on Tuesday? Neither can I.
On Sunday’s edition of Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver directed much of his ire toward the Trump administration’s unspeakably cruel policy of separating children from their families at the border and housing them in prison-like facilities. During a six-week period since the president and his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, instituted their “zero tolerance” illegal immigration policy, the Trump administration has separated 1,995 children from their parents.
“That’s right: Thousands of children have been forcibly taken from their parents after a policy shift was put into action last month by U.S. attorney general—and least fun thing to find in a Kinder egg—Jeff Sessions,” said Oliver. “Sessions basically started a policy of incarcerating people who crossed the border illegally knowing full well that that incarceration would mean they were separated from their children—many of whom are less than 10 years old with no clear plan as to when they might be reunited.”
Despite Sessions, Chief of Staff John Kelly, and immigration “expert” Stephen Miller all defending the Trump administration’s policy, with Miller recently telling The New York Times, “It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry, period. The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law,” President Trump has repeatedly attempted to blame the Democrats for his own policy.
“He’s following laws, very simply, that were given to us and forced upon us by the Democrats. The Democrats gave us the laws,” Trump told a press scrum Friday morning.
Cue Oliver: “Democrats did not give them these laws, because—and I cannot stress this enough—there is no law that suddenly required separating parents from their children. This is a result of a deliberate policy choice by Jeff Sessions.”
On Thursday, one day before Trump made that specious claim against the Democrats, Sessions defended his administration’s child separation border policy in a speech to police officers in Fort Wayne, Indiana, by invoking the Bible.
“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 the government for his purposes,’” offered Sessions.
However, as sometime Sunday school teacher Stephen Colbert informed Sessions, Romans 13.10 reads, “Love thy neighbor as yourself… Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
“So again: It’s not a law, and also the Bible is not a government document,” argued Oliver. “From a policy perspective, you might as well be citing Green Eggs and Ham… And Romans 13 is possibly the worst Bible passage to bring up, since it was regularly invoked in Civil War times by defenders of slavery.” (This is true.)
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders backed up Sessions’ bizarre Bible defense during a presser, saying, “It is very biblical to enforce the law—that is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible.”
“So, a) Not a fucking law; and b) Lots of things are said in the Bible, but that doesn’t mean you should do them. At one point the Bible demands that the head of government get 100 foreskins, but I don’t think that Sanders is looking for Congress to gather together and start slicing dicks,” said Oliver.
“And the Trump administration might want to go a little easy on holding the Bible up as a moral code, ’cause let’s remember, the Bible is not a big fan of: adultery, gluttony, coveting your neighbor’s wife, pride or wrath,” he continued. “What I’m saying here is: You probably shouldn’t use the Bible to justify separating children from parents, but if you do, maybe make sure that you’re already not breaking so many of its rules that God has to write an extra commandment that says, ‘I was fucking serious.’”