The Australian government's shunning of asylum seekers means there would be "no room at the inn" for Mary and Joseph in a modern day Australia, Anglican Archbishop of Adelaide Jeffrey Driver has declared.
In his Christmas message, Archbishop Driver says that, in 2013, the Holy Family would be deemed internally displaced persons, travelling to Bethlehem to comply with a census ordered by a superpower that "wanted to impose its administrative structures".
Later, fleeing across the border to Egypt to escape a massacre, Jesus' family had effectively become refugees, he pointed out.
The archbishop has strongly criticised recent decisions by the Commonwealth on asylum seekers in the light of the Christmas story and the Christian message.
Labelling those who flee their homes "illegal arrivals" and seeking to limit temporary protection visas, suggests that Jesus' family would be unwelcome in modern Australia, he said.
"The story of Christmas and the holy family calls for something better than we are presently seeing, an extraordinarily expensive process that risks dehumanising even those lucky enough to get into it," the Anglican Archbishop of Adelaide declared.
"Room at the Inn? Surely there must be, at least for some of the most frail and vulnerable no matter how they come," he concluded.
* Christmas on Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/christmas