President Trump’s spiritual adviser Paula White has become the latest prominent evangelical leader to use Biblical precedent to defend Trump’s policy of family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border, telling the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) that if Jesus had broken immigration laws “he would have been sinful and he would not have been our Messiah.”
White, who recently toured an immigrant detention center in Bristow, Virginia, told CBN on Monday that there was a difference between the immigrants being detained for illegally entering the U.S. and Jesus being a refugee in Egypt.
“I think so many people have taken biblical scriptures out of context on this, to say stuff like, ‘Well, Jesus was a refugee,’ ” White told CBN. “And yes, he did live in Egypt for 3 1/2 years. But it was not illegal. If he had broke the law then he would have been sinful and he would not have been our Messiah.”
White is referring to a part of the Biblical narrative recounted in the gospel of Matthew that describes Jesus and his parents Mary and Joseph fleeing to Egypt shortly after Jesus’s birth to escape King Herod, who sought to slaughter all new infant boys in the area.
As Vox noted, White “did not mention that Jesus was ultimately executed by Judean colonial authorities for perceived political insurrection.”
White, who serves as a member of Trump’s Spiritual Advisory Committee, also described her recent visit to the Youth For Tomorrow child detention center which has housed both unaccompanied immigrant children as well as those torn from their families under the administration’s separation policy.
“It is beyond phenomenal,” White gushed. “Not just three square meals [but] psychiatric care, clinician, medical care, chapel, events, schooling, language, love.”
White said that the trip to the detention center “100 percent” solidified her views on stricter border control.
Last year, White said that God “lifted up” Trump to victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently cited the Bible to defend the administration’s since-ended “zero tolerance” policy of separating detained immigrant families at the border.
“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order,” Sessions said during a speech last month. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also said last month that it is “very biblical to enforce the law” when defending the administration’s immigration policies.