Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Extraordinary People of Faiith

Trespassing charges against nine religious leaders who protested in the Adelaide Hills electorate office of federal MP Jamie Briggs in June have been dismissed by the Adelaide Magistrates Court. (Full report from ABC)

#LoveMakesAWay is a movement of Christians seeking an end to Australia's inhumane asylum seeker policies through prayer and nonviolent love in action.

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To asylum seekers the Australian Government says "NO WAY!" But we are a growing movement of Christians that says #LoveMakesAWay.

Love Makes A Way organises events and actions, including civil disobedience actions, to publicly witness to the injustice of Australia's asylum seeker policies, and to a better way.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

As of April 2014 there are 1138 children in detention in Australia's detention centres. This is in addition to the thousands of adults, desperate people fleeing terrible situations. Professor Pat McGorry, previous Australian of the Year, has said that our detention centres are “factories for producing mental illness.” An Australian and New Zealand study of children who had been detained for more than one year revealed that 100% suffered from some form of mental illness attributable to their detention.

We believe, as followers of the refugee Jesus, that this situation is unacceptable, and that the time has come for us to boldly speak and act.

But to end Australia's inhumane asylum seeker policies we cannot rely on anger, hate or propaganda. Instead we must seek to speak the truth in a spirit of nonviolent love, as Christ taught us. It is only by doing so, and inviting others to join us, that we will see the transformation of people. Such transformation is the only way to build a better society because true justice requires transformed people who can be just.

In all our actions we seek not to demonise the perpetrators of these policies, but rather to invite them to a better way, and to promise to support them in this. We also seek to change public attitudes, particularly within the Church, and wish to encourage and empower people to love both asylum seekers and those who have acted unjustly. We also hope to inspire people to take bold actions that witness to God's love for all people, even civil disobedience actions where necessary.

We know ours is not the only response to Australia’s current asylum seeker policies, and we are thankful for the range of responses people have been making to speak and act for justice. But we also believe that ours is one of many necessary responses in light of the seriousness of our current policies.

In regards to civil disobedience as a method, we are influenced by the actions and teaching of people like Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, and most importantly Jesus Christ. We believe King's words summarise well our approach to civil disobedience:

“Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored … Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured

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