Asylum Seekers

This is an extraordinarily complex issue and one that we should not simplify. However, as followers of Jesus, the church does have a simple mandate to welcome the stranger and to make sure they are treated in a way that is compassionate and loving. No matter how difficult the politics become, people should never be politicised.

Biblical Hospitality and Asylum Seekers

Over the past few years, one of our key public issues in Australia has been the treatment of asylum seekers. This issue raises such complex questions about the nature of political hospitality that it might seem overwhelming. Moreover, our Baptist tradition was forged in the separation of church and state, so we might be tempted to leave these bigger issues of hospitality to the state.

This would be unhelpful for at least two reasons: first, the historic Baptist opposition to dominant, state churches does not imply that our discipleship has had no political commitments. On the contrary, asserting the freedom of religion was a political act. Martin Luther King Jr belonged squarely in the Baptist tradition when he insisted that black Americans should not be treated as second-­‐class citizens. For similar reasons, Australian Baptists rightly joined the groundswell in the 1960s that finally welcomed Aboriginal people back into their own country as citizens with a full range of citizenship rights.

So why should Christians be championing the cause of asylum seekers today? In short, this issue goes to the heart of our identity and calling as the people of God.

Read this entire paper: Biblical Hospitality & Asylum Seekers (64.26 kB)

Asylum Seeker Resolution Oct 2012 (246.01 kB)
Children in Detention Resolution BUV Assembly Minutes 5 Dec 2003 (86.77 kB)
BUV Resolution 15 March 2002 Assembly Minutes (73.62 kB)

Asylum Seekers – Australian Baptist Ministries Letter to PM
Australian Baptist Ministries is calling on all Baptist Churches to join together in an action to sign and send a letter asking the government to call a summit that brings together experts and community leaders to try and find another way forward. In so doing, we believe we witness to the One who called us to love our neighbour as ourselves and to welcome the stranger. The ask of churches is quite simple:

1. Copy the text of the letter (provided via the link below) into your church or personal letterhead, sign it over your credentials (Pastor/Rev) and post or email it to the Prime Minister’s office;

2.Copy the text of the same letter into your church letterhead and invite congregation members to sign it, then post or email it to the Prime Minister’s office;

3. Send an email to mail@ajustcause.com.au to let ABM know you’ve participated in this action.

Letter Template and all information to post or email your letters can be downloaded here

Your church might also like to consider hosting a screening of the feature film Chasing Asylum. Find out more here

Sanctuary, Nauru and Jesus – A Briefing Document for Churches Wondering How to Respond:
Sanctuary (64.62 kB)

Position Paper written by a WA Baptist, Wayne Belcher OAM:
Wayne Belcher (WA Baptist) position paper June 2014 (440.57 kB)

Asylum Seekers – Why We Must Get Political.Ethos, Engage.mail Sunday, 6 October 2013 | Paul Tyson http://www.ethos.org.au/Online-Articles/Engage-Mail/asylum-seekers-why-we-must-get-political.aspx

As an organisation providing supported accommodation for asylum seekers living in the community, Baptcare has developed a policy document Asylum Seekers and has also drawn together a range of resources and options for action for people interested in learning more. These can be found on the Baptcare website at http://www.baptcare.org.au/advocacy/Advocacy/asylum-seekers/Pages/Asylum-seekers.aspx

YouTube clip about upcoming forum on asylum seekers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QF86hMFK7YU

ERC Asylum Seekers Schools Resource Activities for Students Dec 2013 (8.06 MB)
2013: Public Forum on Human Rights and Asylum Seekers (109.46 kB)
Baptist Care Australia Background Paper and Policy Response on Asylum Seekers August 2013 (541.98 kB)

The Uniting Church of Australia has provided an excellent brochure ‘Justice for Asylum Seekers’ setting out the key issues to do with Australia’s response to refugees. Copies of the brochure can be obtained from www.unitingjustice.org.au

Joint Statement from Australian Church Leaders on Asylum Seeker Legislation (115.99 kB)
Barbara Lloyd tells her story of providing asylum for Ali and Hadi (81.64 kB)
How Many Refugees – Doug Hynd (90.08 kB)
Were all Boat People – Gordon Preece (61.06 kB)

What it means to value life: The role of religions in global asylum and protection by Erin Wilson. ABC Religion & Ethics http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2013/06/07/3777488.htm

Refugee Council of Australia 2011 Resource Kit Ch6 (528.49 kB)

Academics for Refugees Policy Paper: A Just and Humane Approach for Refugees
This Policy Paper sets out practical and sound measures to be considered by the Australian government in order to adopt a just and humane approach towards people seeking asylum in Australia. Such an approach recognises that it is lawful to seek asylum and that people should not be penalised for how they arrive in Australia. Download the full Policy Paper.

Academics for Refugees Policy Paper: A Just and Humane Approach for Refugees
This Policy Paper sets out practical and sound measures to be considered by the Australian government in order to adopt a just and humane approach towards people seeking asylum in Australia. Such an approach recognises that it is lawful to seek asylum and that people should not be penalised for how they arrive in Australia. Download the full Policy Paper.

PalmSunday2016RefugeeWalk (2.94 MB)

“Queue jumping”: the view from afar

Asylum Seekers and the Dignity of Work

Baptist Care Australia open letter to the Australian Community on Asylum Seekers 29.8.13 (2.21 MB)

Asylum Seekers – DoMM Calls on Prime Minister for a Compassionate and Collaborative Way Forward (This article no longer exists)

Australia’s view on global refugee problem is ’distorted’, says Tim Costello http://www.news.com.au/national-news/australia8217s-view-on-global-refugee-problem-is-8216distorted8217-says-tim-costello/story-fncynjr2-1226681859346#ixzz2Zj0BJi6Q

Australian Refugees Church Taskforce:
ACRT-WRD press release (332.32 kB)

Asylum Seekers and Universal Human Rights: Does the Bible Still Matter? Mark Brett http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2013/06/17/3783383.htm

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