Australia’s asylum seeker/refugee policy: the Bible, discussion and resources

In my view, Australia’s refugee policy should be a concern for Christians. In the following I want to suggest several articles, blog posts, and internet resources for those who are interested in the issues around this important topic for Australia. I will then list some Scriptures that are relevant to the discussion (with the help of Dr Christopher Wright’s book).

Resources from the Salvation Army website 

Australian Churches Refugee Task Force

Paul Tyson’s piece on ETHOS Engage Mail

Articles by Mark Glanville

An article at Public Christianity

An article at Bible Society

An article in CASE Magazine

Australian Refugee Policy for Dummies 1

Australian Refugee Policy for Dummies 2

Australian Refugee Policy for Dummies 3

Australian Refugee Policy for Dummies 4

Australian Refugee Policy for Dummies 5

Asylum Seekers Resource Centre website

(I do not necessarily agree with the opinions expressed by the authors and websites above. But I hope they are useful for our ongoing discussion in Australia.)

I find the following quote from Dr Christopher Wright useful.

What did the Old Testament law have to offer such foreigners? A great deal… The Old Testament speaks of protection from general oppression (Ex. 22:21; Lev. 19:33) and from unfair treatment in court (Ex. 23:9; Deut 10:17-19; 24:17-18); inclusion in Sabbath rest (Ex. 20:9—11; 23:12; Deut. 5:12-15) and inclusion in worship and cov­enant ceremonies of Passover (Ex. 12:45-49), the annual festivals (Deut. 16), the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:29), and covenant renewal ceremonies (Deut. 29:10-13; 31:12); the economic benefit of the triennial tithes (Deut. 1-1:28-29; 26:12-13) and access to agricultural produce (gleaning rights) (Lev. 19:9- 10; Deut. 24:19-22); and equality before the law with native born (Lev. 19:34).

Source: Christopher Wright, The God I Don’t Understand (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008), pages 103-4.

See also the similarity between the second greatest commandment (as Jesus affirms) and the instruction to look after foreigners (both found in the same chapter in Leviticus).

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the LORD. (Lev 19:18)

The foreigners residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God. (Lev 19:34)

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