Attorney General Jeff Sessions is using the Bible to justify separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border and Stephen Colbert is not having it.
The Late Show host, who has embraced his Catholic identity in a more prominent way since leaving The Colbert Report behind—he knows the Bible by heart, and taught Sunday school—spent several minutes Thursday night laying into Sessions for getting it wrong on this fundamental moral issue.
After telling a few jokes about Father’s Day gifts, Colbert said, “Let’s face it. The only things dads really want for Father’s Day is to be with their kids, which is why what’s happening on our southern border is so shocking.
“This is the conversation everybody should be having,” he said. “Attorney General and ‘man daydreaming about legally changing his name to Jim Crow’ Jeff Sessions has instituted a new policy to separate immigrant kids from their parents at the border.
“Now if that sounds evil, then good news, your ears are working,” Colbert added.
The host expressed dismay that Americans are currently “putting up with our government saying, ‘If you come to the United States, the worst thing imaginable will happen to you. We will take your children away from you, with no guarantee you’ll see them again.’”
“That is using cruelty as a deterrent,” he said. “Clearly, no decent human being could defend that. So Jeff Sessions did.”
After playing the clip in which Sessions cited biblical verses to defend the administration’s actions, Colbert told him, “Hey, don’t bring God into this. First of all, I don’t think God picked you, because I don’t worship Vladimir Putin. And, the only thing in the Bible close to this is a king threatening to cut a baby in two, and he was joking.”
Colbert acknowledged that Romans 13:1 says, essentially, “you gotta have laws.” But if the attorney general had read “just a little bit further” into Romans 13:10, he would arrive at “Love thy neighbor as yourself… Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
Noting that the administration is apparently considering erecting tent cities to shelter these children, Colbert said, “It wouldn’t matter if you took these children to really nice hotels—or Trump hotels—we’d still be the only country in the whole damn world doing it, because it’s just plain wrong.”
The host urged his viewers to call their elected representatives this Father’s Day and “demand they do something.”
“I sincerely believe that it doesn’t matter who you voted for,” Colbert concluded. “If we let this happen in our name, we are a feckless… country.”