Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott is in the United Kingdom. On Wednesday, he addressed British Conservative Party leaders at the Margaret Thatcher Lecture in London, with a speech focusing on the European migration crisis and refugee policy.
"The imperative to 'love your neighbour as yourself' is at the heart of every Western polity … but right now this wholesome instinct is leading much of Europe into catastrophic error," Abbott said.
That's a reference to the Bible verses Mark 12.28-34, which in full reads: "“The most important [commandment],” answered Jesus, “is this: ...'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these."
Despite the reference to a passage about love and tolerance, Abbott then continued to trumpet Australia's harsh and controversial border policies as a shining light for other countries to emulate.
'Too much mercy for some necessarily undermines mercy for all.' https://t.co/IZpiqsFeH1— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) October 27, 2015
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks on his border security legacy as refugees flood into Europe. https://t.co/OY2sOkosLT— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) October 27, 2015
“The Australian experience proves that the only way to dissuade people seeking to come from afar is not to let them in... It will require some force, it will require massive logistics and expense; it will gnaw at our consciences," he said.
“Yet it is the only way to prevent a tide of humanity surging through Europe and quite possibly changing it forever.”
because there's been altogether too much "love thy neighbour" behaviour and abbott is just the man to stamp that out.— Scott Ludlam (@SenatorLudlam) October 28, 2015
In light of Abbott's reference to the Bible, as well as his comments advocating much tightened border control policies, we've outlined a few more verses he may have overlooked:
1 John 4: "And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister."
Hebrews 13: "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it."
1 Thessalonians 5 (King James Bible): "Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss."
Can't wait for Cardinal Pell to defend Abbott's heresy rejecting central tenet of Christianity. #auspol— Christine Milne (@ChristineMilne) October 27, 2015
Romans 15: "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God."
Romans 14: "As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions."
Psalms 133: "Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!"
Luke 6: "But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked."
Romans 13: "Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."
Please just stop. Someone make it stop. https://t.co/3BeB1G37pc— Jen Robinson (@suigenerisjen) October 28, 2015
Colossians 3: "And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
1 Corinthians 13: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
2 Corinthians 13: "Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you."
1 John 4: "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."
Romans 13: "The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself."
(All verses from the New International Version)