Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson: “Using the Bible to Defend Tearing Families Apart Is Blasphemous”

JUN 15, 2018
Contact: Loretta Kane ([email protected] or 917-410-7242)

Faith leaders stand with immigrant families

Statement of Auburn Seminary President Katharine R. Henderson

NEW YORK — Yesterday, the U.S. attorney general and the White House press secretary invoked the Bible to defend the Trump administration’s policy of separating undocumented immigrant families and holding children in detention centers at the border.

The Rev. Dr. Henderson issued the following statement:

“We are sickened by the reality of 10,000 children held by our government in detention spaces along the border. It is barbaric, unconscionable and sinful to tear children — including nursing babies — away from parents. We are creating trauma for families that will never be fully healed. The unnecessary policy, which criminalizes desperate parents seeking to survive, is ethically indefensible, and we as the citizens of this nation are complicit and culpable as long as it continues.

“For the attorney general to use the Bible to defend this policy and practice is blasphemous.

“As a Christian pastor and seminary president, I know that a core tenet in many of our sacred texts is the value of hospitality. Jesus urges us to answer the question ‘Who is our neighbor?’ with inclusivity and welcome. Jesus especially loved children: ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’

“We are heartened to see that people of faith across the political spectrum are joining together to condemn this inhumane policy. This is not a question of ‘right” and “left,’ but right and wrong.

“As we observe this Father’s Day, we recognize that fathers simply want to be with their children. We join with those of all other faith traditions and people of conscience in calling on our government to reverse this policy that runs contrary to every principle of family and ethics that Americans hold sacred. They have crossed a line. We know it and we must act.”


Auburn Seminary is a leadership development and research institute, working to build the field of the multifaith movement for justice. From local to global, Auburn equips leaders of faith and moral courage and brings together unlikely partners to address today’s seemingly intractable challenges, strengthen communities and inspire hope.

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