Utah Episcopal Diocese leader rips Trump administration over separation of families

SALT LAKE CITY — Bishop Scott Hayashi of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah blasted Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration for their justifications of separating migrant families at the border.

In a statement released last week, Bishop Hayashi condemned the actions and particularly their use of the Bible in supporting it. He wrote:

“The use of the Bible by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to justify the inhumane policy of separating immigrant families is shameful.

He said: ‘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,’ Sessions said during a speech to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Ind. ‘Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent and fair application of the law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak and protects the lawful.’

Attorney General Sessions cites the same verses that were used to justify the institution of slavery in the United States. Following A.G. Sessions’ ‘logic’, one can imagine him in Germany in WWII utilizing his same thinking to justify the slaughter of the Jewish people.

If you are are a citizen of the United States, remember, what is being done by our nation is being done in our name. If you are a Christian living anywhere in the world – this is being done under the banner of Christianity. This is sin.”

Bishop Hayashi is the first Utah religious leader to openly condemn the actions of separating migrant families. Bishop Oscar Solis of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City called on the Trump administration to rescind the policy.

“I join my brother bishops in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in urging the administration to rescind these policies that tear at our core values as a nation. The Unites United States has long upheld the family as the core unit of civil society. We are, and must continue to be, a beacon of hope for families unable to find basic protections and pathways out of poverty within their home countries.

While the U.S. has a right to protect its borders, it has a moral obligation to do so through means that preserve families and the dignity and sanctity of all life. Refusing asylum to women escaping from domestic violence and separating children from their parents is an unnecessary and aggressive act against human life, and unfathomable from a country with a heart as strong as ours.

For decades, the U.S. bishops have advocated for sensible reforms to our long-broken immigration system. I now not only urge our members of Congress to implement reforms, but implore this nation to enforce existing laws with compassion, with recognition that we are the last hope for so many, and with the full understanding that individual human lives are at the heart of immigration issues.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued its own statement, declaring that families should be kept together. 

Members of Utah’s congressional delegation, including Rep. Mia Love, Rep. Chris Stewart, Rep. John Curtis and Sen. Orrin Hatch have all condemned the Trump administration policy.

Rep. Curtis said he would be meeting with President Trump on Tuesday and planned to bring up the separation of families issue. In a tweet, Gov. Gary Herbert called on the congressional delegation to do pursue solutions “posthaste.”