Australia proposes required inculcation of “Australian values” for immigrants – for all immigrants, but Muslim communities feel singled-out. This article purports to summarize recent controversial comments by Her Majesty’s Australian “Liberal” (i.e., sometimes Red, more often Blue, Tory) prime minister, the pm’s heir-apparent, and another government minister. This one suggests a “progressive” critique.
Maybe it’s the Andrew Greeley/David Tracy c/Catholic in me – or just the “progressive…conservative” in me! – but I don’t see it as either/or, but as both/and. We always both ‘hold to’ and ‘aspire to’ our values…just as we always both revere them and fall short of them. We commend our values to immigrants, and hope they’ll agree with us on certain “sine qua non” fundamentals. In fact not all Australian law – or American or Canadian – is made by legislature; alot of it is indeed inherited and customary. But it has been embraced by all, and is the law of all in this realm regardless of religion or ethnicity. Most religions have additional rules for their adherents…but most religions in the Christian world don’t physically assault or kill those who convert out of or simply leave their religion, or dissent within it, nor do they really seek to impose it on non-adherents, political rhetoric notwithstanding. Anymore.
Should countries bar immigrants who don’t embrace their socio-political fundamentals? When there’s a threat (or fact) of violence, or support for or espousing of violence? Is threatening, supporting, espousing, or committing violence, the line which mustn’t be crossed? Is this unreasonable? What about, as we have sometimes seen, “home-grown” threatening, supporting, espousing, or committing violence, from native-born citizens, born into the ideology of violence (of whatever religion or belief system), or converts to it? Logically, citizens, native-born or naturalized, who threaten, support, espouse, or commit violence can be tried, convicted, imprisoned; they used to be exiled or banished too. Non-citizens can be imprisoned or deported. But some immigrants come from lands where violence is expected or allowed, explicitly or tacitly. But not here. If they can’t accept that….