Updated Wednesday (twice) and again Friday (scroll down)
See also later article here.
The UK Government recently announced plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. This has been extensively reported in the media but in case you missed it, here are links to the official Home Office press release, and to the text of Home Secretary’s speech in Kigali.
Bishops of the Church of England have expressed criticism, including:
…And this season is also why there are such serious ethical questions about sending asylum seekers overseas. The details are for politics. The principle must stand the judgement of God and it cannot. It cannot carry the weight of resurrection justice, of life conquering death. It cannot carry the weight of the resurrection that was first to the least valued, for it privileges the rich and strong. And it cannot carry the weight of our national responsibility as a country formed by Christian values, because sub-contracting out our responsibilities, even to a country that seeks to do well like Rwanda, is the opposite of the nature of God who himself took responsibility for our failures…
…Or rather, Christ finds us. He comes to us, as he came to Mary Magdalene, and he asks why we’re crying and who we’re looking for.
He has returned to take us with him. Like Mary and like Elizabeth who will be baptised in just a moment, He know us by name. He shows us what really matters. He shows us what we should strive for, which is why, among so many other things that trouble our world at the moment, it is so depressing and so distressing this week to find that asylum seekers fleeing war, famine and oppression from deeply troubled parts of the world will not be treated with the dignity and compassion that is the right of every human being, and instead of being dealt with quickly and efficiently here on our soil, will be shipped to Rwanda.
We can do better than this. We can do better than this because of what we see in the Risen Christ a vision for our humanity, which breaks barriers down – not new obstacles put in the path. After all, there is, in law, no such thing as an illegal asylum seeker. It is the people who exploit them that we need to crack down on, not our sisters and brothers in their need…
Full text of letter (PDF)
Press Association via Independent: Johnson accused of ‘disgraceful’ attack on Welby over Rwanda policy criticism
The Tablet Ruth Gledhill: Cardinal and Archbishop condemn Rwanda asylum plan
Telegraph Allison Pearson: Judge yourself first, Justin Welby, before preaching to the rest of us
Archbishop Cranmer: Boris Johnson’s ‘disgraceful slur’ against the Archbishop of Canterbury
Church Times Stephen Bates: Press: Tory papers turn on Welby for asylum ‘rant’
Church Times Angela Tilby: Welby’s Easter sermon deepened divisions
Independent: Editorial: Justin Welby is right – the Rwanda plan raises troubling ethical questions (registration required)
Independent Cathy Newman: Thank heavens for Justin Welby: the Church has a duty to speak truth to power