May I please share with you my article just published with Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, titled: ”Ancient Laws and New Canadian Refugee Legislation: Evaluating Bill C-31 in Light of the Book of Deuteronomy“. Refuge is a prestigious academic journal held at
York and Queens University, ON, Canada, in the broad discipline of cultural studies. I am pleased about this publication for two reasons. Firstly, the sad new parochialism surrounding refugee legislation in many western countries must be critiqued from every possible angle. The Old Testament Scriptures provides a robust and authoritative foundation for critique and, as I conclude in the article, Scripture roundly declares recent Canadian refugee legislation, Bill C-31, as immoral. Secondly, while this article is seeped in scripture, the journal itself is not religious. The church often receives bad press regarding issues of social justice (often deservedly) and I feel this article contributes to the effort, shared among many good people, to buy some ground back in this regard – to display the ‘good news’ of the kingdom of God.
Below the abstract to follow, is a link to an Australian companion to this article, which addresses recent developments in Australian refugee policy.
Some important innovations within Bill C-31, Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, run contrary to the biblical ethics espoused in the book of Deuteronomy, from the Judeo-Christian scriptures. Components of Bill C-31—such as mandatory detention, no right of appeal, and a five-year delay for application for permanent residence (all these apply to only certain groups of claimants)—are challenged by the ethics, system of justice, and polity of Deuteronomy. In Deuteronomy, the Hebrew word “ger” (“stranger”) occurs twenty-one times, indicating the importance of ethics concerning the stranger for this book. Townships and families in Israel have the responsibility to include the stranger in their agricultural, ritual, and cultural lives. Deuteronomy’s ethic towards the stranger is embedded in Israel’s own history of being a “stranger” or “refugee.”
The Australian companion to this article is: Laws of Inclusion and Strategies of Exclusion: New Australian Asylum Seeker Policy Under the Scrutiny of Deuteronomy, published with CASE magazine, September 2013.