Though the denomination is the least likely in the US to administer church discipline, critical voices have been swirling around its highest-ranking politician.
Earlier this week, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions was interrupted by a Methodist minister in a clerical collar who shouted verses from Matthew 25 during a religious liberty event in Boston.
“Brother Jeff, as a fellow United Methodist, I call upon you to repent, to care for those in need, to remember that when you do not care for others, you are wounding the body of Christ,” said Will Green, pastor of of Ballard Vale United Church in Massachusetts.
Green’s remarks, followed by another outcry from a Baptist pastor, led both clergy to be escorted from the event. The Trump cabinet member briefly responded, “Thank you for those remarks and attack, but I would just tell you we do our best every day to fulfill my responsibility to enforce the laws of the United States.”
In a news clip gone viral, Green said to Sessions’s face what some members of the nation’s second-largest Protestant body have articulated in statements, tweets, and casual conversation: They’re unsettled to see a fellow member of the United Methodist Church (UMC) enforcing policies their tradition opposes, specifically, the White House directive to apprehend and separate families crossing the US border.
United Methodist leaders have adopted resolutions in favor of comprehensive immigration reform and declared Sessions’s own zero-tolerance stance as “unnecessarily cruel.” More than 600 clergy and laypeople filed an official complaint against him with the UMC, though it was ultimately dismissed by his district this summer.
“I don’t believe there’s anything in the Scripture or anything in my theology that says a secular nation state cannot have lawful laws to control immigration,” …
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