A Message from UCA President Stuart McMillan
As followers of Christ, our faith calls us to love our neighbour and welcome the stranger.
We have particular responsibility to challenge unjust systems and speak on behalf of those who are marginalised and in exile. Right now, it is harder than ever for refugees and people seeking asylum to find a safe place to live and to rebuild their lives. Australia’s policies are making it tougher for families living in detention or in the community to gain their right to protection.
I am thankful to many in the Uniting Church who are already doing so much to support refugees, through practical and pastoral care, prayer and advocacy.
In Refugee Week (17-23 June), I encourage Uniting Church members to think about how they can tell those in Government that we can do better for refugees.
In the lead up to the next election, all major parties will be re-assessing their policy position on this issue.
Visit your local MP and share your desire for a more compassionate and humane response to refugees and people seeking asylum. The more people in our community who speak up on this issue, the more likely we are to create a real opportunity for change.
When we advocate for others in this way, we give life to our faith in Jesus.
We are reminded in the Uniting Church’s Statement on refugees Shelter from the Storm
When advocacy and service are done with integrity, and as a proclamation of the Gospel, the Church bears witness to Christ, and enters fully into the faith and mission of the whole Christian church.
Together, as members of the body of Christ, may we seek a just society that upholds the dignity of every person where all can have hope for a decent peace-filled life for themselves and their families.
Stuart McMillan, President, Uniting Church in Australia, June 2018
The film ‘Border Politics’ has been launched in Melbourne as part of Refugee Week and screenings will take place in other cities in July (a Q&A screening on July 4th at Mitcham cinemas in Adelaide) and may be of interest to those who would like to explore more deeply the politics around border control and the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. The film follows human rights barrister Julian Burnside as he traverses the globe examining the harsh treatment meted out to refugees by most Western democracies.
This contemporary story is about the threat to human rights, the loss of democratic values and our increasingly heartless treatment of ‘the other’.
Seventy years after the world constructed international conventions to ensure the horrors of World War 2 wouldn’t be repeated, Burnside finds it terrifying to see Australian and other western political leaders exploiting fears around border protection to extend political power.
Burnside defines humanity with the universally recognized Golden Rule – Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You as a benchmark. He questions whether the West has lost its moral compass by adopting ideas that reject humanity and undermine democracy. He concludes this erosion of human rights poses a threat to the very democratic values that define Western society.
(Information about screenings here)