America’s Attorney General apparently said Americans should do what the government tells us to. That’s ‘dog bites man’ news. It’s what government officials do. ‘Man bites dog’ news would be an official telling us to go out and break laws.
This time around, the Attorney General was reminding us that our national government is protecting us from immigrants by taking kids from their families. And that Christian Americans should cooperate because Romans 13 says so. According to him:
- “US attorney general quotes Bible to defend separating families”
BBC News (June 15, 2018)
Not all Americans think breaking up families is a good idea. Even if they are foreigners:
- “A Statement from Daniel Cardinal DiNardo”
USCCB news release (June 13, 2018)
- “U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Urges Administration to Keep Families Together”
USCCB news release (June 1, 2018)
- Family Reunification Program
Children and Migration, USCCB
I suspect the Attorney General’s appeal to ‘Biblical’ authority won’t generate much support. Apart from some of America’s fuddy duddy fringe.
That hasn’t always been the case.
William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech was effective rhetoric in 1896. His audience loved it so much they carried him around on their shoulders after the speech.
The response wasn’t universal. Judge, a satire magazine, showed the great orator standing on hallowed authority. Literally.
Time passed, the bimetallism crisis faded and politicos found new hot buttons to push.
My youthful memories include ‘good Christian Americans’ acting as if they thought Jesus is an American. And having meltdowns over newfangled ideas. Decades later, I still think they were wrong. But I may understand why they were so upset.
That doesn’t make defenders of the status quo — or ‘those crazy kids’ — villains or heroes in the melodrama sense. Just folks who thought they were doing the right thing. (May 12, 2018; April 11, 2018)
Back to 21st century America and the Bible: Romans 13 talks about authority, among other things:
“Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God.”
I could stop reading there, say that every ruler’s wishes are “established by God” — and that everyone who doesn’t agree with me is a Satanic agent. I won’t. It’s not that simple.
Legitimate authority rests on principles established by God. The principles aren’t made up by whoever says they’re in charge. And they don’t change to suit current policies. (Matthew 20:25–26; Catechism, 1897–1951, 1954–1960, 2235–2237)
Obeying legitimate authority isn’t blind obedience. “I was only following orders” isn’t a valid excuse. (Catechism, 2313)
That doesn’t mean keeping immigrants out. Nations with room and resources should accept folks who are “in search of the security and the means of livelihood” they can’t find back home. (Catechism, 2241)
I’d be worried if folks stopped trying to settle in America. Particularly folks who come as families. Having a substantial fraction of “low types” as ancestors affects my views. America would be different without the Irish. But I’m not convinced that it’d be better. (April 2, 2017; November 29, 2016)
I don’t know what rationale the Department of Homeland Security has for breaking up some families who try coming to America. I’d like to think there’s a motive that includes concern for people.
Maybe it’s defending our nation’s youth from un-American influences. Or raising the foreign kids to be obedient little Americans. Or seeing foreigners with kids as a real and present danger to national security.
Whatever the motives, what’s happening seems less than wise. Bear in mind that I’m not a ‘regular American’ by some standards. My ancestry is decidedly un-English.
Even worse, I’m a Catholic. One who takes responsibility seriously. But who doesn’t think the United States Attorney General established the world’s unchanging principles.
And that’s another topic: