Like many Australians I’ve been increasingly dismayed at Tony Abbott’s leadership of this country, and the decisions being made in his name which are resulting in the heartless treatment of the vulnerable and at-risk in society. The United Nations this week found that Australia’s detention of refugees, including children, is ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment’ which is forbidden by international law (report here)
That’s a fairly big call, isn’t it? A supposedly advanced and civilised country treating people in way that actually breaks international law and sends asylum seekers back to countries where they have a ‘substantial risk of torture’. We are acting really badly not by some arbitrary yardstick created by the lefties of Australia but by international standards.
And I’ve been wondering how a christian man, a man who spent three years training to be a priest, can have moved so far away from the message of the gospels. How does this happen? How can someone who believes in god and believes that Jesus died because of what he stood for (although I have the feeling that Abbott is a Substitutionary Atonement kind of guy rather than a Moral Influence one) and I’m asssuming has understood and internalised what the New Testament is actually about make these decisions which completely fly in the face of what Jesus was here to talk about?
I was reading James 1:27 this weekend and I came across this;
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless in this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world
Now I suspect that most commentaries will see ‘pollution’ as being lust or immorality or something along those lines (because isn’t it always?), but what came to my mind is that ‘polluted by the world’ is actually referring to a person getting so caught up in the dominant paradigm of their world (in this case, the Liberal Party) that they lose sight of the deep values that should be an intrinsic part of their make up. Tony Abbot has lost the ability stand up for what is right, because he has forgotten what that actually is.
He has become ‘polluted by the world’ and the opinions of those around him have become more important than compassion. If questioned, I’m sure that he would talk about pragmatic and practical and economic concerns but that is just my point. When you forget what is at the heart of what we are here on this earth to do, then you have truly lost your way. He has lost the ability to act justly and to love mercy, which is a bit of a pity because he actually could do something about it if his vision cleared a little.
It’s such a waste of a Prime Minister, really.