More than 600 United Methodist clergy and laypeople have signed a formal denominational complaint against fellow United Methodist Attorney General Jeff Sessions, condemning his role in the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy of separating children from their parents along the U.S.-Mexico border. The charges include child abuse, immorality, racial discrimination and “dissemination of doctrines contrary to the standards of doctrine of the United Methodist Church.”
The complaint was sent on Monday (June 18) afternoon to two churches, one in Alabama and the other in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, said to be affiliated with the chief lawyer of the U.S. government.
“We, the undersigned laity and clergy of the United Methodist Church, issue a formal complaint against fellow United Methodist layperson Jefferson Beauregard Sessions,” reads the letter, which was provided to Religion News Service.
The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement last weekcondemning the policy, and individual bishops have suggested sending a delegation to the border, protesting outside courthouses and instituting “canonical penalties” for Catholics who carry out the policies. That same week, the Southern Baptist Convention also passed a resolution at its convention calling for immigration reform that maintains “the priority of family unity.”
Christian denominations such as the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have also either issued statements or had their leaders sign on to letters blasting the policy, as have numerous non-Christian groups such as the Islamic Society of North America, the Union for Reform Judaism and Buddhist leaders.