A question to Tony Abbot on ‘what would Jesus do’ about asylum seekers has sparked a flurry of Jesus references in Australian media.
On the ABC’s Q & A program last night, Brenton Anthony from Canberra sent this question to Abbott: ‘When it comes to asylum seekers, what would Jesus do?’
Melissa Heris also asked: ‘How do you reconcile your strong faith with your harsh position on refugees, given that many asylum seekers are escaping religious persecution in their home country?
His answers included, ‘Don’t forget, Jesus drove the traders from the temple as well.’
Clearly realising he was on holy ground, he carefully continued, ‘Jesus didn’t say yes to everyone, Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it is not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.
‘This idea that Jesus would say to every person who wanted to come to Australia “fine, the door’s open”, I just don’t think is necessarily right,’ Mr Abbott said.
‘(But) let’s not verbal Jesus, He is not here to defend himself.’
One example of media response was on the Today show when, after the story aired on the 7.30am news, Karl Stefonovic commented that ‘now that Tony Abbott has a direct line to Jesus, perhaps we had better be nicer to him…’
Various show personalities then commented on what information they would like Mr Abbott to get for them from Jesus.
These included Steve Jacob’s request for tomorrow’s weather, Karl’s desire to know if the Lions would win next weekend and celebrity chef Julie Woods asking if the fish and chips she was about to cook could be multiplied to feed the whole studio…
While Mr Abbott has indicated he feels his faith is being unnecessarily targetted by the media, there is no doubt it has the effect of bringing Jesus to the fore.
As for what Jesus would do about asylum seekers? I think Mr Abbott was wise not to try and put too many words in Jesus’ mouth. Afterall, his family were asylum seekers to Egypt fleeing the wrath of Herod. One thing is for sure, it would not be a political response, but one of justice and mercy. PH
If you see further Jesus comment as a result of Mr Abbott’s comments, share them here.