The great lie of conservative politics is that it is of Christian origin, sourced in Biblical scripture, even divine in inspiration. While some of the reactionary rulers in the Bible might serve as role models for contemporary tyrants and conservative politicians alike, to evoke the name of Jesus Christ to support conservative doctrine is inexplicable, unsupportable and basically blasphemy.
To the uninitiated, Jesus Christ was a Jew born in strange and suspicious circumstances a little over 2,000 years ago or so it is believed. Born in a barn and the adopted son of a carpenter, his origins would have been undistinguished except for his mother’s insistence that he was the result of a nocturnal liaison with the Holy Spirit and that she was still a virgin, making his family one of the least traditional on record.
While still a baby, Jesus Christ and his clan fled the Holy Land to Egypt to seek asylum from the mass infanticide enacted by King Herod when he heard he might have a rival in the form of this precocious little prince. Christ’s road to refuge was inspired by the most peculiarly personal of political attacks, an entire generation of sons executed to halt the elevation of a child to the title of King of Jews.
Jesus stayed in a state of asylum until Herod died and returned to his homeland, to become an apprentice carpenter, an apprenticeship he abandoned as he felt he was born to bigger things, that being both lord and ruler of the entire fucking universe.
However the forces of state and theology would combine later in life to make Christ both political prisoner and religious martyr and he would be publicly executed for his beliefs. This time he would not escape persecution, preferring instead to die on a cross in an attempt to offer asylum to his followers in that most perfect place of refuge, a place called Paradise.
In the millennia following his death and subsequent resurrection, an event as miraculous as his birth, Christ would go on to become the most misrepresented voice in history, interesting as debate still continues as to whether he was in fact an historical figure in the first place. His teachings have been used to justify war, religious and ethnic genocide, political and economic tyranny, and the persecution of the poor, disadvantaged, alienated and socially suspect who Christ in his lifetime actively courted. In fact he has been used to represent a whole host of conservative values that have no place in the Gospels beyond the practices of the Pharisees, moneychangers and earthly regents for whom Christ’s teachings held particular contempt.
Prior to his election, the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott evoked the name of Jesus Christ to describe the actions of asylum seekers as unchristian. He claimed the practise of fleeing persecution to arrive by boat thusly: “I don't think it's a very Christian thing to come in by the back door rather than the front door.” Being that he was once a seminarian and had ambitions more for the pulpit than political office, one would suspect he knows what he is talking about.
However you would struggle to find a single utterance to support Tony Abbott’s claim, or in fact any of his stance on asylum seekers. Instead Christ had much to say on receiving the poor, the desperate and the displaced and offering help and hospitality to those in need. Many of his sermons articulated this as did many of his actions tending to those in torment. It was the central concern of many of his parables, metaphorical tales intended to teach a moral code to his followers.
One of the most famous parables is of ‘The Sheep and the Goats’. It describes the Judgement Day, the penultimate date on the Christian calendar, in which The Son of God, ie Christ himself, sits on his throne in judgement of humanity. “All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”
He turns to those who have offered aid to the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the incarcerated and the strangers who have come to their door and promises Paradise. He even claims that in offering asylum and assistance to these peoples, they were actually offering it to Christ himself. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
To those who refused help, who turned them away, whether they came in through the front or the back door, he grants special damnation. “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
What Christ is saying here is that to deny charity and hospitality to those in need, you are effectively rejecting him and condemning God himself to ruin. In rejecting those who seek asylum, you are actually turning away Jesus from your door; by detaining refugees without fair reason, you are in fact incarcerating Christ.
Christ is clear. Those who have extended charity and goodwill to the poor and persecuted will join them in Paradise. Those who have gone against Christ’s explicit teachings, like Abbott and all the politicians before him who denied safe refuge to asylum seekers, are actually going to hell, a place from which there will be no asylum.