The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has urged the country’s MPs to reject the government's Rwanda Bill, saying it is at odds with the teaching of Jesus.
The bill seeks to revive Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s plan to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda, ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court.
In a letter, sent to all 59 Scottish representatives at Westminster, the Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton said the Bill would "undermine the UK's credibility to call out human rights abuses across the world".
She wrote that our faith compels us "to advocate for a fair and just system that shows respect to all of God’s children, regardless of where they were born or what their immigration status is".
Speaking to Premier Foster-Fulton explained that Christians in particular have “a gospel bias towards the most vulnerable” and argues the bill “is completely opposite to that call.”
“It says that people are disposable,” she adds. “We work with asylum seekers and refugees, and they live in constant limbo, you want to begin to live your life. And you can't do that if you've got this sword of Damocles hanging over your head.”
People in churches across Scotland have expressed "fear and anxiety", according to Foster-Fulton, that they will be deported to Rwanda.
Foster-Fulton has urged MP’s to resist the Bill and any amendments that restrict asylum seekers and implored the government to “come up with something better.”
“We've gone through a judicial process and deporting people to Rwanda has been deemed unsafe by the Supreme Court of this country.”
"This legislation will only lead to more detentions, more deportations, and an ongoing environment of hostility and mistrust.”
The Supreme Court blocked the government's Rwanda policy because they were worried about the safety of the country.
Following the court decision, the government introduced the Safety of Rwanda Bill which states that in UK law, Rwanda is a safe country.
Conservative councillor and Christian David Taylor has disagreed, saying that with further work, the policy can be delivered safely and compassionately
“I think it is possible that this policy can be done in a Christian way. If the goal is to provide safety for those who are in need, a secure future, a job and so on – I think that can be done in a Christian way.
“Just as there are many theological differences across the church there will be many differences about politics.”
Changes to the legislation are being debated in the House of Commons today, ahead of a vote this evening.