Learn to do good: seek justice, Rescue the oppressed, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.
The Prophet Isaiah
Who might be the oppressed? Today, in our own country, Australia, among the oppressed are those displaced people, arriving on our shores, in need of our mercy and welcome. In a Gospel-centred response to these people, there is no room for discrimination based on how they got here. Our mandate is simply: Learn to do good. In this Year of Mercy and in this season of Lent, we are all called to assess our own response to these, our brothers and sisters in need. They are looking to us to see the face of God’s Mercy in their pain-filled lives. How will we respond? Pope Francis has uttered some profoundly inviting and challenging words about going forth to meet humanity: “Let us imitate Christ in his movement of love, in his going forth to meet humanity. Let us go forth and open doors”, he says. What a glorious invitation! It is also one which requires soul-searching and conversation. As we come to the end of Week 1 of Lent, mindful of our call to be merciful as God is merciful, I invite you to spend some time reflecting on the #LetThemStay campaign and to have conversations about this in your families, with your daughters. It is only by honest and open conversation, asking questions, debunking those sensationalising untruths we are all too sadly presented with in the media, and above all by bringing God’s voice into our conversing, that we might all move forward in a truly Christ-inspired response.
Ms Kerry McCullough
Dean of Mission
REFUGEE COUNCIL BULLETIN
For nearly two weeks now, the #LetThemStay campaign has shifted the focus of the refugee debate on to the detrimental impacts of Australia’s indefinite offshore detention policy. Churches, community groups, doctors, nurses, teachers, principals and many thousands of people across Australia have taken action, even taking to the streets, to demand a shift in Australia’s approach. Thank you to all of you who have added your support. Over the next two weeks, the campaign is switching to the local electorate as politicians go home on a parliamentary break. There’s a lot happening, so please do get involved.
Academics and policy makers across Australia have been utilising our policy paper Australia’s Response to Regional Protection to frame the debate about Australia’s response to refugees in a way which respects basic rights. A common hope is that Australia can regain credibility in the international sphere by beginning to treat people seeking asylum with dignity and respect and work towards more sustainable answers for displaced people.
There is a lot of excellent information and thought-provoking, conversation starters on the Australian Refugee Council website.