Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama on Monday attempted to explain why his views on immigration were not at odds with his professed religious beliefs.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration reform, Dr. David Fleming of the Champion Forest Baptist Church in Texas noted that Leviticus 19:33-34 calls on believers to treat foreigners in their land "as the native among you."
Sessions responded there was no Scriptural basis "for the idea that a modern nation state can't have a lawful system of immigration." He cited a Biblical story in which the king of Edom denied the Israelites the right to pass through his land as evidence that the God of the Bible supported immigration laws -- though the story seemed to imply the opposite. He warned Fleming and others were "leading little ones astray" by citing Scripture "loosely."
Sessions also noted that various Biblical figures requested permission before entering into foreign lands.
Fleming replied that he never argued the Bible calls for believers to ignore the rule of law, but that didn't mean current immigration laws were just.
"Surely, if our system currently as it is structured were true to those Scriptures that you just quoted, we wouldn't have 11 million plus illegal or undocumented immigrants in our country today," he added. "So, clearly, we don't have the system you described."
Earlier this month, Jesuit Father Sean Carroll noted that several verses in the Bible -- including Exodus 22:21-22, Deuteronomy 27:19, and Zechariah 7:10 -- command the followers of God to protect immigrants and others in need.
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by Sen. Sessions, below: