Amos 6:21-24 (read it in The Message) – why are we doing anything else but pursuing justice for those who desperately need it – God is pretty clear that this is what He would have us do. Jesus was pretty clear on this – Love God, Love Others.
But we are too comfortable, we don’t want to give anything up, or it’s too hard to figure out what to do…so we do nothing.
Men, women, children (refugees and asylum seekers) are being locked up in detention centres, in what are described as brutal conditions, on an island so that we don’t have to deal with it on Australian soil. Locked up. Prisoners. They are people fleeing from circumstances we don’t even take the time to try to understand because we just buy into the line that they should not be here.
The U.N. condemns what is happening with Australia’s offshore detention, yet it continues. And another person has just died. How is any of this ok? Are we so de-sensitised?
I don’t claim that the path forward is easy or without complication, but we have to treat people with dignity and value. If you claim to be a follower of Jesus, I don’t see that we have a choice here, we should be letting love, not fear, rule our response. Each of these people are made in the image of God, do we see them that way?
Once we start to show that we want a different solution – only then will those who hold the power begin to look for one. But while we are silent, nothing will change.
It is hard to speak up, especially when you might feel that you don’t know who or what to believe, and so what we are being sold is so compelling because those in power have done such a good job at telling this story for so long:
- People are coming here illegally so we need to send a message that will stop them from coming;
- Stopping the boats is for their own good, it stops them drowning, and prevents human trafficking;
- These people don’t have a right to be in our country, we have to protect ourselves.
Not one of these arguments give us license to treat human beings the way they are being treated. We can’t continue to look away.
Like I said, I don’t claim that an alternate way forward is easy, but when did we decide not to do the right thing because it was too hard?
So what can you practically do?
- Read multiple news sources, find the stories, get educated on the facts, don’t just believe the soundbites;
- Call your local member of parliament and let them know you are not ok that we are treating people this way and ask what they are doing about it;
- Engage with those who are doing something about it, find out what you can do, how you can advocate and engage – Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, Common Grace, Refugee Action Coalition, Refugee Council of Australia;
- Keep talking about it until things change.
I can’t stand your religious meetings.
I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That’s what I want. That’s all I want.