Six representatives of Presbyterian Church (USA) related theological institutions are among 57 Christian theologians who have signed a letter opposing the nomination of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.
“As theologians across the denominational spectrum, we add our voices to the growing number of Americans who urge you to reject the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions for the position of Attorney General of the United States. We are concerned that Senator Sessions does not embrace the conception of justice that we hold as Christians; we have no confidence in his ability to enforce the values we share as Americans. His racist track record erodes the trust of many of the members of our faith communities and we are united in our opposition to his nomination,” the letter states.
It was delivered to Charles E. Grassley, Senate Judiciary Chairman; Dianne G. Feinstein, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary on January 9 the day before the Senate Judiciary Committee met for the Attorney General Nomination.
Signers affiliated with PCUSA related institutions include:
Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson, President of Auburn Seminary
Macky Alston, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Growth
McCormick Theological Seminary
Dr. Reggie Williams, Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics
Princeton Theological Seminary
George Hunsinger, Hazel Thompson McCord Professor of Systematic Theology
Kaitlyn M. Dugan (Kait), Curator of the Barth Collection
Sonia E. Waters, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology
“As theologians across the denominational spectrum, we add our voices to the growing number of Americans who urge you to reject the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions for the position of Attorney General of the United States. We are concerned that Senator Sessions does not embrace the conception of justice that we hold as Christians; we have no confidence in his ability to enforce the values we share as Americans. His racist track record erodes the trust of many of the members of our faith communities and we are united in our opposition to his nomination.
Why is this important?
The justice that is central to the work of Attorney General is a value that is shared by people of many faiths. As Christians, we are guided in our understanding of justice by the biblical witness to Jesus Christ. As made clear in his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), we are to “seek first the Kingdom,” as the righteous reign of God “on earth, as it is in heaven.” This reign is marked by love, justice and life. In his teachings, Jesus deepens the love of neighbor to the love of enemy. He calls us to move from retaliatory justice to an ethic of restorative justice. He invites those who follow him to an abundant life that crosses borders.
In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus says, “… I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. … Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25). The Sermon on the Mount directs our care to the flourishing of all people, especially the vulnerable, and is consistent with the values of justice and human flourishing that are vital to our American democracy.
While Jesus stood in embodied solidarity with the vulnerable, it is through the law that our country offers protections for its most vulnerable members. Vulnerable populations in our country — victims of police brutality, undocumented workers, LGBTQ persons, women, people of color, and people of non-Christian faiths — are placed at increased risk of further harm when our laws are not upheld. Yet, throughout his career, Senator Sessions has taken positions that compromise the rights of these vulnerable populations. His racist comments reflect prejudice against people of color. His opposition to immigration reform, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights and equal access for persons with disabilities make it unlikely that he shares the Christian vision of justice and protection of the vulnerable that we embrace.
Senator Sessions’ racist remarks and unjust policies make it morally unacceptable for him to be America’s top law-enforcement officer. We urge you to reject his nomination.
The letter also stated that the seminary affiliations were listed for identification purposes only.
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“His racist track record erodes the trust…”
You mean when he prosecuted a white man who murdered a black man and saw to it that the white man was executed for the crime?
Or when he prosecuted the KKK?
You can’r please some folks.
They take the Democrat’s talking points as gospel…but not the Truth of the Gospel.
“We are concerned that Senator Sessions does not embrace the conception of justice that we hold as Christians; we have no confidence in his ability to enforce the values we share as Americans.”
American Values like abortion on demand, illegal immigration, the rise of ISIS, the high murder rate in Chicago, the disaster that is the VA, forcing companies and schools to provide transgendered restrooms, forcing the American people to conform to ideas that are against their religious values and calling them racist and homophobes when they disagree with the religious progressives. 80% of pro-life evangelicals voted for the President-Elect as well as a whole lot of other people who DO NOT like the direction of this country, and if these “theologians” would look at the state of the pcusa they would understand that they are the reason the pcusa is in rapid decline, however much like the frog in the slow boling pot it will be too late when they do.
No one cares what these people think, all you have to do is look at the state of the pcusa and that says it all!
Maybe another group of Christian theologians should examine more closely what those PCUSA leaders believe and write a letter to the Board of Directors opposing their leadership in a Christian seminary! When you point a finger at someone the other four are pointing back to you.
Once again, PCUSA jumps into politics. Sessions said he will uphold the law, he will not legislate, but will enforce the laws as determined by the congress of the United States. Lynch meted out justice based upon skin color and religion not by what the law states. Obama chose not to follow the law or the constitution. PCUSA chooses not to follow the orthodoxy of the bible but instead picks and chooses, then rewrites scripture to fit a liberal view on politics. Could the church just get back to helping souls find Christ, please.
Just out of curiosity. Exactly what did these tenured academics have to say when the Holder administration used the full force of its office to demonize and humiliate law enforcement and public safety post Ferguson, and more or less turn the office into the tax supported adjunct of the BLM movement. With the expected result of the spiking of the murder, homicide rates in Chicago and Baltimore to Baghdad or Damascus levels of collapse. Further what did they have to say when the Attorney General used the full force of the office to persecute the Catholic order Little Sisters of Charity over the ACA mandates. Oh, silence I suspect.
Note to those ensconced in shelter of their halls in Princeton, New York and alike. Get your facts straight and know when you venture out of the security bubble you exist in you are out of your depth. Like in the real world where people actually talk back to you and not all are hanging on your every word.
Have any of these leaders had a personal conversation with Sessions? Have they tried to discern the man’s heart? Where are the citations of specific examples? Sounds close to bearing false witness.
Unfortunately this is so typical of too many of the leaders and academics in our denomination. They are not only out of touch with the real world most of us live in , but I have to wonder how so many got out of touch with scripture. And they wonder why the PC(USA) is rapidly declining.
I have been following the confirmation hearings of Sen. Sessions and cannot imagine a more principled person to do the job for the American people.
Sounds like a bunch of “can’t believe we lost” Democrats ! They never voiced an objection to Obamba or Holder for some of their questionable policies. Advised to stick to religion & stay out of politics. Your comments only make it easier for Presbyterians to leave the ship.
Here are the email addresses for the six signers who are connected to the PC(USA)
I sent them this:
I just read the text of the letter that the six of you joined in signing, which urged the US Senate not to confirm Jeff Sessions as the next Attorney General. I have written to you particularly because you were identified as “representatives of Presbyterian Church (USA) related theological institutions” in an article on the Layman that included the text.
It is pathetic enough that the best biblical justification this letter could muster in support of its political activism was a general wave towards the Sermon on the Mount as justifying, I don’t know, “Justice.” It amounts to, “We oppose Sen. Sessions’ nomination because… Jesus said Justice.” Is that the sort of vague, pointless argument you are teaching your students?
Perhaps none of you actually wrote that mess. But you signed your name to it, and it is no more enlightening or instructive than the work of a half-literate undergraduate. And certainly no more insightful about justice under God. Is there nothing more to say about God’s law and man’s?
More obnoxious still, the letter refers to “racist statements” Sessions allegedly made, 30 years ago, which he has repeatedly and emphatically denied. This letter treats those allegations as though they were facts, and commonly accepted knowledge. That assertion is false and defamatory. It certainly means you all are bearing false witness against this man.
I have no doubt that not one of you knows him, has ever met him, or even took the time to research his record as a lawyer, a state Attorney General, or a US Senator on your own. Yet you signed this reckless, poorly reasoned, infantile and (it must be said) inconsequential letter. Caveat subscriptor.
I am embarrassed for all of you. It is hard for actions taken by the PC(USA) to surprise me any more. But I am yet dismayed when I see credentialed theologians and those connected to teaching the next generation of ministers of Word and Sacrament so thoughtlessly contributing to the ugliness of our politics, name-calling like schoolyard bullies, and carelessly lying about people they have never met and know nothing about.
Disgrace be upon you all.
Another reason why PCUSA is a declining denomination and losing churches at an unprecedented pace.
Unfortunately these supposed theologians and academics have again proved they’re mere mouthpieces of the Democratic National Committee. No longer capable of independent analysis and thought. But then advocacy will be the last to go for all connected to the PCUSA to include affiliated seminaries. Quality, integrity to Scripture and even any semblance of grace all long gone. Great things being taught in the seminary today.