December 24, 2013
THE federal government’s treatment of asylum seekers suggests there would be “no room at the inn” for Mary and Joseph in a modern day Australia, Anglican Archbishop of Adelaide Jeffrey Driver says.
In a Christmas message, Archbishop Driver says that in 2013, the holy family could be called internally displaced persons, travelling to Bethlehem to comply with a census ordered by a “super-power” that “wanted to impose its administrative structures”.
A few days later, fleeing across the border to Egypt to escape a massacre, they had become refugees.
Archbishop driver says recent decisions by the commonwealth on asylum seekers to call such people who flee their homes illegal arrivals and to limit the number of temporary protection visas, suggest that they would not be welcome if they arrived in Australia today.
Archbishop Driver said no one was arguing that Australia have an open-door policy for limitless arrivals.
But he said that policy must be humane.
“The story of Christmas and the holy family calls for something better than we are presently seeing, an extraordinarily expensive process that risks dehumanising even those lucky enough to get into it,” he said.
“Room at the Inn?
“Surely there must be, at least for some of the most frail and vulnerable no matter how they come.”