Immigration in Australia

3348 Words14 Pages
A Baptist policy on immigration and asylum seekers The world currently faces a global refugee crisis with up to 40 million displaced people (the majority of whom are women and children). Australia currently accepts around 13,750 refugees each year as part of total planned annual immigration of around 182,000 people. This paper identifies social and political problems relating to asylum seekers and refugees. It examines the biblical teaching on a responsible Christian approach to asylum seekers and refugees, and discusses some of the ways in which Australian Baptists have responded to the challenges of immigration and asylum seekers. It concludes with a new policy proposal for the consideration of Australian Baptist Ministries, the…show more content…
After the division of the kingdom, many Israelites experienced displacement, loss and trauma when they were exiled to Assyria and Babylon, and even when some of them returned to the land, life was never the same (e.g. 2 Kings 24:14-16; but see also Jeremiah 29:4-7). Ancient Israel possessed laws designed to ensure the just treatment of “strangers” and “aliens,” persons who were not ethnic members of the nation but who were protected by law (e.g. Deuteronomy 24:17-18). The law also recognised the non-assimilating “stranger” (Leviticus 19:33-34a), whose different customs were respected and protected. And, despite Israel’s commitment to racial and religious purity, these foreigners were able to share in Israel’s cultural and religious life. The story of Rahab (Joshua 6:24f) and Ruth (Ruth 1:1-22; 4:13-17) demonstrate the radical nature of Israel’s commitment to the welfare of the vulnerable and the outsider. The reason often given for these gracious principles was the memory of the harsh experience of the Israelites when they were slaves in Egypt (e.g. Exodus 23:9; Deuteronomy 10:17-19). Further, the welcome and care of foreigners was structured into Israel’s gleaning and tithing laws (Leviticus 19:9-10; Deuteronomy 14:28-29). Finally, there were designated places of sanctuary (not detention) in ancient Israel, where refugees could live in peace and safety while their claims were being processed (Numbers 35:6-15). The New
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