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No Security without Justice

Government concern with 'border security' has given way to a range of measures to protect us from potential terrorist acts. Maybe it would be a bit smarter to find out a bit more about our brothers and sisters first?

by Michael Smith

In recent years, the word "security" has become part of our daily vocabulary. It represents protection from misfortune, good health, safety in our communities and workplaces, and has almost become the "good" that is valued at the secular level of our society. The interests of our nation include that which is in "the interest of national security", following the USA's abstract rhetoric. But as a community that holds to Gospel principles, both stated and implicit, we have a responsibility to investigate this notion of security.

Although the term "security" usually refers to abstract "threats" and is rarely more than a tool of political language, it directly impacts those who are painted as threatening. For Christians, our calling is to the care of our brothers and sisters in the world; those sick or imprisoned, those who are poor (financially, spiritually and in all other forms of poverty). As a first principle, we must realise who is our brother and our sister. Jesus taught us to extend our families to include all of humanity. We are also taught not to fear men on earth, since the worst they can do is to put us to death. Our spiritual life and the needs of our human family is more important than our fear of death, disaster or disability.

Security is often described in terms of threats from foreign people. Immigrants are a popular target, as are asylum seekers, and the current favourite: terrorists, which are nearly always presumed to be foreign terrorists. However, few of us need fear death from terrorism. Most people are at much greater risk from traffic accidents, lightning strikes than of death resulting directly from a terrorist act.

Poverty is something that many people fear, since many have known hard times, and are afraid of experiencing them again. Parents are often anxious that their children will never have to experience hardship. It could be said that financial hardship is something worth fearing, and it is worth examining one's self to determine where this fear comes from, and separate it from the causes given or implied by politicians during election campaigns.

By understanding our feelings of insecurity, we may be able to better recognise our brothers and sisters in the world. By knowing them, our family grows to include them, and suddenly we are called to act to prevent them from experiencing violence or poverty, as we would for members of our own immediate family.

As Christians, we must act in order to obtain the best for our human family, wherever in the world they may be.

Michael C. Smith is a student and a member of Acmica.

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