Julian Burnside published an opinion piece on Australian Asylum Seeker policy today in the Sydney Morning Herald. (Please read). It was clear and factual. It outlined an eminently reasonable and humane asylum policy for a country signed to to the UN Refugee Convention. And yet, on reading it I felt a deep sadness because in many ways the basic facts that Burnside outlines should be pretty obvious to us and yet the solution he outlines appears politically impossible. It suggests to me a fundamental callousness and failure of moral perception in our broader society. So I am going to get a little bit angry right now.
I am increasingly outraged that political leaders of all parties are willing to seek power through inciting our society to do further injustice against those who are already fleeing terrible injustice. Furthermore, I believe that increasingly the behaviour of our leading politians on Asylum Seeker policy strikes materially and philosophically at the political foundations of our society. A democratic society based on the rule of law cannot survive a political class who has no regard for truthful political communication and no respect for the legal system they are elected to serve. Political leaders who make claims about asylum seekers that are demonstrably false with regard to Australian and International law are either too ignorant of that law to administer it, or lack the integrity required to protect it, in either case they are not worthy of the office granted them as servants of law of the Australian people.
As a Christian, I believe that the government of every nation is ultimately in the hands of Jesus Christ, that his resurrection from death was his divine appointment to the position of ultimate political authority. Therefore every human institution of government either knowingly or unwittingly serves him, owes its legitimacy only to him, and will finally be called to account for its administration of his justice. There will be a day when those who seek asylum from the perverted justice of the rulers of the earth, will find their long awaited remedy in the government of Jesus Christ. At that point the final words of Psalm 2 verse 12 will ring out, “Blessed are all who find asylum with him”.
Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
Kiss his son, or he will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
(Psalm 2:10-12 NIV11)
I have great affection for my Australian heritage and love for our democratic and egalitarian political traditions, and for that reason I beg our leaders, do not mock the justice of God.