Tony Abbott, our delightful opposition leader, stated recently what Jesus would say and do regarding asylum seekers in Australia. It showed yet again that Abbott’s Catholic beliefs are a cover for his arch-Conservative views and that he really has no idea what he’s talking about. As a lapsed and possibly now agnostic Catholic, I know more about the bible than Abbot appears to.
Here is what he said recently, which really makes me wish he’d just stop talking and embarrassing the rest of us:
“Jesus didn’t say yes to everyone,” Mr Abbott said on ABC television’s Q&A program, according to the Herald Sun.
“Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.”
Mr Abbott was quizzed extensively on his criticisms of the Rudd Government’s softening of Australia’s border protection policies and how that criticism squared with his own strong Catholic faith.
Asked what Jesus would do on the issue of asylum-seekers, he replied: “Don’t forget, Jesus drove the traders from the temple as well.”
“This idea that Jesus would say to every person who wanted to come to Australia, ‘Fine, the door’s open’, I just don’t think is necessarily right,” Mr Abbott said.
“(But) let’s not verbal Jesus, he is not here to defend himself.”
Ok, now lets look at what Jesus is actually attributed as saying on such issues:
Matthew 7: 1 – 5
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
So Abbott, don’t judge others because you do not have the authority to do so.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
Both of these quotes would suggest that a welcoming and loving heart are the call of the day and not one that would willingly exclude others, whether it be from entering a country or seeking asylum.
And as far as Jesus driving people from the temple goes, the story is as follows:
Matthew 21: 12 – 13
Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, ” ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.'”
Which has nothing to do with keeping asylum seekers from seeking asylum in Australia or any other country they can make it to and choose to seek asylum in. Jesus spoke of befriending outcasts, the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 and, Zacchaeus the tax collector in Luke 19:1-2. He healed Lepers (Luke 17:11-19) and others with diseases and disabilities. He taught about humbleness and acceptance of others. He is not the man that Tony Abbott keeps thinking he is. And on a final note, a quote from Luke 18:9-14 that Tony Abbott needs to consider:
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”