Jesus taught his followers to welcome strangers in need. More than welcome them, to recognise himself in those people.
"I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me" (Matthew 25:35-36).
Asylum seekers are just such people.
The Christian faith is not alone among religious traditions in placing at the core of its moral teachings the principles of welcoming the stranger, caring for the neighbour in need and treating others as we ourselves would want to be treated.
These policies passed today punish rather than welcome the stranger in need.
They are a grave moral failure, unworthy of us all as human beings, and especially unworthy of those of us who would follow Jesus.
Rev Prof Andrew Dutney
President, Uniting Church in Australia, Assembly
16 August 2012