'Would You Send Jesus to Rwanda?' British Lawmaker Grilled Over Asylum Plan

A British lawmaker was asked if he would send Jesus to Rwanda during an appearance on morning television.

Last week, Britain announced that it had struck a deal with Rwanda that would see some of the people who arrive in the U.K. put on one-way flights to the East African country, where their asylum claims would be processed.

The plan has been widely condemned, with Gillian Triggs, an assistant secretary-general at the UNHCR, describing it as an "egregious breach" of international and refugee law.

The issue was brought up during Good Morning Britain, and due to it being Easter Monday, Jesus was used as an example when host Adil Ray questioned Energy Minister Greg Hands.

"Mr Hands, here we are celebrating Easter this weekend, the life and times of Jesus Christ, who himself was a refugee," Ray said.

He went on to point out that under the government's plan, Jesus "would be sent to Rwanda" if he arrived in the U.K. today. "Is that right? Would you send Jesus to Rwanda?" Ray said.

Hands appeared a bit shocked by the question and let out a laugh, as Ray pushed him to answer what he said was a "simple question."

"I'm sorry, I think it's a ludicrous question," Hands replied. "We're 2,000 years later, there's 28,000 people have made an illegal journey from France to the U.K., between two entirely safe countries, 27 people have died. It's 2,000 years after the Easter story."

In a tweet alongside a screenshot from an article saying Hands "struggled to say" whether the Conservative government would send Jesus to Rwanda, Hands wrote: "To be honest, I struggled with the question itself, not with providing an answer…"

Hands' office has been contacted for further comment.

His comments came after the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby took the unusual step of bringing politics into his Easter sermon on Sunday and criticized the government's plan.

There are "serious ethical questions about sending asylum-seekers overseas," Welby said during the sermon at Canterbury cathedral.

He said that while "the details are for politics and politicians, the principle must stand the judgment of God and it cannot."

He added that "sub-contracting out our responsibilities, even to a country that seeks to do well, like Rwanda, is the opposite of the nature of God who himself took responsibility for our failures."

U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel fired back at Welby and other critics in a joint opinion piece written with Rwandan foreign minister Vincent Biruta in The Times of London newspaper on Monday.

"We are taking bold and innovative steps and it's surprising that those institutions that criticise the plans fail to offer their own solutions," they wrote.

Greg Hands addresses climate summit
Minister of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Hands addresses a session on day five of the COP26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow on November 4, 2021. Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images