Faith leaders clash and read Bible verses at Jeff’s sessions in Boston

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A Methodist minister who read a Bible verse and a Baptist pastor who defended him were escorted out of a meeting.


Reverend Darrell Hamilton, front left, pastor of First Baptist Church, Boston, is escorted by Boston police after interrupting Attorney General Jeff Sessions, behind right, during a luncheon hosted by the Boston Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society, Monday, October 29, 2018, in Boston. Sessions spoke about religious freedom during his address. Photo via AP/Steven Senne

Attorney General Jeff Sessions made his voice heard at a meeting in Boston today when two religious leaders confronted him, read a Bible verse and were promptly kicked out by police.

“Brother Jeff, as a United Methodist colleague, I ask you to repent, to care for those in need, to remember that when you do not care for others, you hurt the body of Christ,” a man, identified as Pastor Will. Green of Ballard Vale United Church in Andover, said after reading a Bible verse, which includes the lines “I was hungry and you did not feed me” and “I was a stranger and you did not feed me not accepted”.

Sessions, who was in the middle of a speech before the Federalist Society’s Boston Lawyers Chapter on “The Future of Religious Liberty” at the Omni Parker House, apparently didn’t appreciate being interrupted.

“Well, thank you for those remarks and that attack,” Sessions said, “but I would just like to tell you that we do our best every day to fulfill my responsibility to enforce the laws of the United States.”

Audience members could be heard shouting “Go home!”

When another man, identified as Pastor Darrell Hamilton of Boston’s First Baptist Church, stood up to defend him, at least one person booed and he was also led out of the room.

“I thought we were here to protect religious freedom,” Hamilton said. “I pastor a Baptist church and you are escorting me for exercising my religious freedom. It makes no sense. It is very hypocritical for this group of people to protect religious freedom while you are escorting me to do this work.

Reached by phone Monday, Green said he was motivated to speak out by the Methodist teaching of “social holiness,” the idea that church members should reach out and hold each other accountable.

“As is the case with many people, God has put a lot on my heart these days, and I have been trying to discern like so many people what I am supposed to do about it, how to respond to the injustice that is everywhere,” he says, adding that the Bible verse he read is “a call to accountability, a call to embrace social justice, which is something we are supposed to take very, very seriously as as Christians, so that seemed like a good message to bring to the meeting today.

Specifically, he says, he is concerned about U.S. immigration policy — Sessions has overseen the “zero tolerance” crackdown at the border that has seen hundreds of asylum-seeking families separated —as well as the Trump administration’s attempts to assert the rights of transgender people. Locally, he wants to use his time in the spotlight to advocate for passing Question 3 (the statewide referendum on trans rights), ending ICE co-op in local jails and allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

He also wanted to respond to Sessions’ statement that Green’s Bible verse and commentary amounted to an “attack.”

“I hope Brother Jeff meant it when he said he felt attacked,” he says. “The words of Jesus sometimes feel like an attack because when we take the gospel into our hearts, it challenges us, it calls us to change, it makes us reassess the way we live our lives and treat others. I hope the Holy Spirit is moving inside Brother Jeff.

Another protester was also reportedly kicked out after waving a transgender flag at the meeting and shouting, “We won’t be erased.”

Sessions has already received a less than warm reception in Boston. When he visited last September, the local ACLU threw an ‘unwelcoming party’ for him outside the Moakley courthouse.

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