Hundreds of United Methodist clergy charge Jeff Sessions with child abuse, immorality and racial discrimination

"As his denomination, we have an ethical obligation to speak boldly when one of our members is engaged in causing significant harm," the charges read.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

More than 600 United Methodist clergy and church members say they will bring charges against fellow United Methodist Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s attorney general, over his implementation of the president’s “zero tolerance” policy which has resulted in the separation of children from their parents at the border.

According to the United Methodist news wire, Sessions is accused of child abuse, immorality, racial discrimination and “dissemination of doctrines contrary to the established standards of doctrines” of the church.

"While other individuals and areas of the federal government are implicated in each of these examples, Mr. Sessions—as a long-term United Methodist in a tremendously powerful, public position—is particularly accountable to us, his church,” the complaint reads. “He is ours, and we are his. As his denomination, we have an ethical obligation to speak boldly when one of our members is engaged in causing significant harm in matters contrary to the Discipline on the global stage.”

“I really never would have thought I’d be working on charges against anybody in the Methodist connection, much less a lay person,” Pacific Northwest Conference elder Rev. David Wright said. Wright is an organizer of the charges against Sessions.

“I hope his pastor can have a good conversation with him and come to a good resolution that helps him reclaim his values that many of us feel he’s violated as a Methodist,” Wright added.

Last week, the United Methodist Board of Church & Society criticized Sessions for using the Bible to justify the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.

"The ethical teachings of Romans 12-16 describe that consecrated Christian life requires the duties of love and hospitality,” the board wrote. “The commandment in Chapter 13 to ‘be subject to the governing authorities' is bracketed by preceding and following passages containing the command to ‘love.’”

"To argue that these policies are consistent with Christian teaching is unsound, a flawed interpretation, and a shocking violation of the spirit of the Gospel," the church board argued.

The move by over 600 United Methodist church members to charge Sessions is unusual, but an “authority on church history and polity” told the United Methodist newswire the complaint is unlikely to move past the district level.

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Elizabeth Preza is the Managing Editor of AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @lizacisms.