There is a deep tension brewing within my spirit over the conflicting values that are evident in Australian politics and an even deeper tension in how I feel and what I think about it! You may be wondering, "which particular conflicting values are you referring to?" A question that exposes a whole other level of tension!!
For the sake of this post I'll narrow it down to two current issues: The execution of two convicted Australian drug dealers in Indonesia and the detention of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Islands. While these two issues are unrelated, the juxtaposition of our government's response is the source of my tension.
Before I explain my tension, let me be clear what this post is NOT about. This is not a debate about capital punishment, nor is it a discussion about Indonesian law. It is not a judgement of two convicted criminals, nor intended to disregard the impact upon their family and friends. It is not even an expression of my disgust about the government sanctioned abuse of human beings who are exercising their internationally protected right to seek asylum!
The conflicting values that is creating so much tension for me is the politically distorted view of justice and politically motivated expression of mercy by our government!
I am struggling to reconcile the public expression of emotion over the fate of two people who broke the law with the public disregard of human rights of vulnerable people who are legally seeking asylum by our politicians.
I am struggling to reconcile the political pressure being placed on a sovereign nation to show clemency towards two Australian citizens on death row with the political propaganda that is justifying inhumane treatment of hundreds of foreign refugees held in detention by Australia.
I am struggling to reconcile the use of tax funded resources to advocate for drug dealers with the same source of funding being used to abuse asylum seekers.
I am struggling to reconcile the Prime Minister's threat of consequences towards Indonesia if the executions proceed with the Prime Minister's disregard for the consequences of a damning Human Rights Commission report on Australia.
I am struggling to reconcile the media attention surrounding Chan and Sukumaran who, according to Indonesian law deserve to die, with the forgotten name of Reza Barati who, according to International law did not deserve to die.
I am struggling to reconcile our government's defence of the indefencible in both cases.
I am stuggling to reconcile our government's contradictory application of justice and mercy.
While I am unable to reconcile these conflicting values, I do know that I need to guard against allowing my inner tension to perpetuate the same conflict of values in my own attitude towards justice and mercy in these challenging times!
"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly
with your God." (Micah 6:8)
Postscript: At the beginning of this post I clearly stated what it was NOT about. However, at the conclusion of this post I want to make it clear what I'm about by declaring that I do NOT support capital punishment.