Statement from Rev Ian Smith
On behalf of the Victorian Council of Churches
As the Churches approach our most sacred period, Easter, the Churches again affirm the Christian tradition of finding life in compassion, inclusion and in welcoming the stranger.
This tradition reminds us of how Jesus reached out to the weak and vulnerable, including those on the fringes of society, and that today, Palm Sunday, is an expression of his life and teachings and the gift of peace for all.
Also this Easter period reminds us that as followers of Jesus, the Church is called to reach out also; to show love, compassion and acceptance to all.
One of the saddening aspects of the current political climate in Australia is that there appears to be a lacking of this sense of human values, compassion or vision.
The rhetoric out of Canberra highlights that political ends are more important than the lives of people. The behaviour of recent governments in refusing to use names, or in anyway refer to those seeking asylum as people demonstrates a clear intent to dehumanise.
However, these are real people, just like us, people fleeing for their and their children’s lives, people living in desperate situations because of race, religious affiliation, political instability or gender, people not breaking any laws, people seeking security, comfort and a assured future.
It’s incumbent upon us as all, to ask, what sort of society we contributing to or ascribing to? One that has, as its hallmark, short term political gains, or, and this is my hope and prayer, a society based on the values of compassion, welcome, inclusion, hope and a fair go.
Rev Ian Smith
Victorian Council of Churches