Refugee Advocates’ Unholy Nonsense

jesus at the doorI’m not going to get into the habit of defending Tony Abbott, but why are his critics so damn trivial? You could blame him for allowing Peta Credlin to terrorize the ministry – or, alternatively, you could blame thirty grown men and women for allowing themselves to be terrorized by Peta Credlin. You could say, as his detractors do, that resurrecting knighthoods was the waste of a day, but there’s no need to waste the next three months saying it. And if God didn’t want us to eat an onion, he wouldn’t have put it there.

Now we have The Guardian dragging out an infamous Abbott quote from Q&A a few years back, which goes: ‘Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it is not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.’ In response, Josh Bornstein writes, ‘If Christianity helps us understand the federal government, then it is a particularly aggressive and intolerant strain.’ While we’re rightly loathe to dignify Mr. Bornstein’s flogging of a dead monk by acknowledging his doing so, this habit of some to justify open borders with half-baked theology is really quite dangerous.

Mr. Abbott’s wording was, admittedly, clumsy. But you’d have to go rather out of your way to believe he meant that Jesus doesn’t want boat people to land on the shores of the Northern Territory. He meant that Christ was comfortable with the idea that there are nations, and that those nations have an integrity beyond a mere reference to a location. That is to say, ‘Australia’ must mean more than ‘at the end of the street’ or ‘the third parking spot from the left’.

Mr. Bornstein’s error is the same made by all of history’s great cosmopolitans: they want to be a Citizen of the World without first being a citizen of a country. Their passport, they declare wistfully, is issued by the Republic of Man; their nation compasses the human race. But we can only wonder whence they get their idea of a universal nationhood when they disbelieve so passionately in nations.

Put it another way. Christians believe all men are a universal brotherhood under God the Father. But we can only understand the idea of a ‘universal brotherhood’ if we first understand what ‘brotherhood’ is. If you tell me I should care for all of mankind the way I care for my siblings, I know exactly what you mean. But if you then add that I shouldn’t feel any special regard for my siblings, you’ll have lost me.

So Christianity must have ‘nations’ in some way more profound than a means of collecting income taxes, just as it must have ‘families’ in some way more profound than a means of calculating income taxes. We can’t broaden our loyalties by abolishing them. We have to take those ingrained sentiments, like nationhood and family (however inadequate they might be), and broaden them.

‘I don’t see how that changes anything,’ Mr. Bornstein retorts. ‘Surely we can make a place in Australia for those fleeing poverty and war.’ Ah, yes, Mr. Bornstein – now you’ve got it! The Australian people can make a place for the indigent stranger, just as we might set a place at our table for the hungry traveler. But that place wasn’t there to begin with.

My suspicion is that Jesus didn’t intend for us to do away with statelessness by abolishing states any more than he intended for us to do away with homelessness by abolishing homes. It would be noble for a family to offer a homeless man their spare bedroom, but it would be dashed ignorant to say his place was in their spare bedroom. His place is in his own home; if he hasn’t got one, the most charitable thing to do would be to help him secure one. So, too, the Syrian refugee’s place is in a free and prosperous Syria; if he hasn’t got one, the most charitable thing to do would be to help him get one.

Indeed, I’m sure the Syrian refugee will be the very last person to say his place is in Australia. If given the choice between Sydney and a habitable Damascus, we shouldn’t be surprised if he chose the latter without giving it a second thought. We shouldn’t be surprised either if he finds the very question to be offensive. ‘Do you think, Mr. Najar, that Jesus thought your place was to come to Australia – that He intended for your house to be blown up by the Assad government and your family butchered by the Islamic State?’ ‘No,’ I should imagine his reply would be; ‘I don’t think that’s what Jesus intended at all.’

8 thoughts on “Refugee Advocates’ Unholy Nonsense

  • lloveday says:

    I suppose the jerks who criticised TA for eating onion skin would do the same if he ate an unpeeled apple, or carrot, or most fruit and veggies, the peels of which are in many cases, like onions, high in nutrients and it is sign of a wealthy, self-indulgent people that we mostly discard them. I even blend banana peels with the flesh to mix with my oat bran.
    I remember fat-backsided Gillard slamming TA when he competed in a triathlon while Opposition Leader – saying he should be working on policies not indulging in such activities. The same woman wasted buckets of money having us lectured about the need for physical exercise and healthy eating on a daily basis as if we were ignorant children needing bureaucratic help to understand the most basic of activities. Meanwhile her back-side kept expanding and TA stayed looking good – healthy body, healthy mind.

  • Keith Kennelly says:


    All those stupid bloody socialist Frenchmen would stand and salute TA for his admirable taste.

  • dsh2@bigpond.com says:

    What I want to know is did TA remove the dry outer skin of the onion before biting into it. Further, did he eat the rest of the onion or discard it? Actually, I don’t give a damn what he did with that onion but just wanted to point out the triviality of the left and their media acolytes.

  • jonreinertsen@bigpond.com says:

    So we have the rabid left using Jesus to support their views. While at the same time denigrating Christianity at every opportunity!

  • ian.macdougall says:

    Jesus reportedly said “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (KJV)
    This has been a recommendation honoured by his followers: but far more in the breach than in the observance.

  • denandsel@optusnet.com.au says:

    I would have a little more respect for the ‘refugee’ advocates if they weren’t so hypocritical. Instead of demanding that ‘other people’ [especially the government] show some compassion by ‘inviting’ any and all of the world’s would be ‘refugees’ into Australia I would prefer that they themselves show a little bit of compassion by inviting some of the local genuinely homeless people to stay with them. When [if ever] Julian Burnside or Sarah Hansen-Young or Josh Bornstein open up their houses/mansions to homeless people of Australia and feed them and house them I might take note of what they say.

  • Renato Alessio says:

    Refugee Advocates don’t have a monopoly on unholy nonsense. They share it equally with numerous Christian churches in Australia, including the Catholic Church. Take for example Bishop Long’s Statement on behalf of the Catholic Bishops, which can be downloaded at,

    In a nutshell, he states that Governments have a responsibility to manage migration flows, but that the Church is opposed to detention, and he is in effect arguing against deportation of the people who are here. Exactly how a Government exercises the responsibility he acknowledges it has with not one, but with both hands tied behind its back (i.e it shouldn’t detain, it shouldn’t deport), is never addressed. I seriously doubt that just nicely asking people to leave and expecting them to be agreeable is a feasible solution.

Leave a Reply