Jeff Sessions’ Speech on Religious Liberty Interrupted by Methodist, Baptist Ministers Protesting Trump Administration Policy

The Rev. Darrell Hamilton, center left, a pastor at First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, Mass., is escorted away by a Boston police officer after interrupting remarks by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, not shown, at a luncheon organized by the Boston Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society, on Oct. 29, 2018, in Boston. Sessions spoke about religious liberty during his remarks. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was only moments into a speech on religious liberty Monday (Oct. 29) before he was interrupted by two ministers who called on him to “repent” for his role in enforcing Trump administration policy.

Sessions was speaking about “The Future of Religious Liberty” at a meeting in Boston hosted by the Boston Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group. But as soon as he began his remarks, a United Methodist minister, the Rev. Will Green of Ballard Vale United Church in Andover, Mass., began reciting Scripture.

“Remember the words of Jesus: I was hungry and you did not feed me. I was a stranger, and you did not welcome me,” Green began, standing as he recited other parts of Matthew 25. He then referenced the attorney general’s Christian denomination: “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.”

Sessions thanked Green for his comments, then referred to the pastor’s remarks as an “attack,” as Green was removed from the meeting by police.

“I will just tell you we do our best every day to fulfill my responsibility to enforce the laws of the United States,” Sessions said.

Green later told Religion News Service that he understood why Sessions described his remarks, which were primarily a recitation of Scripture, as an attack.

“Sometimes when we encounter Jesus it does feel like we are being attacked,” he said, “because when we encounter (it) we can see clearly that what we are doing on this earth is an obstacle to Jesus.”

A local chapter of Faith in Action, which organizes faith communities for various causes, later tweeted that Green worked with the group. Green noted in the interview with RNS that his protest was mirrored by a larger demonstration outside the building. He said concerns about Sessions’ posture on immigrants and refugees — as well as other Department of Justice policies — fueled his protest.

“I interrupted Attorney General Sessions today because his entire political agenda is antithetical to the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said. “Brother Jeff and I are members of the United Methodist Church, so I think I have a responsibility to call him to account about the harm he’s doing.”

He explained that he saw his protest “in the Methodist, Wesleyan tradition as an expression of social holiness.”

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SOURCE: Religion News Service, Jack Jenkins