One isn’t shocked by this or that outrage from post-Christian Britain. But this, from the government, is not just post-Christian, it is forthrightly anti-Christian:
The Church of England has attacked the Home Office for using Bible quotes to argue that Christianity is not a peaceful religion in a bid to reject an asylum seeker.
The Iranian national, who has not been identified, claimed asylum in 2016 but his application was rejected after government officials said his conversion from Islam was “inconsistent” with his claim that Christianity is a peaceful religion.
In order to reiterate the point, the Home Office wrote a lengthy and “unbelievably offensive” refusal letter referencing six Bible passages and claiming that the book of Revelation is filled with “images of revenge, destruction, death and violence”.
The Home Office rejection, below the quoted verses concludes: “These examples are inconsistent with your claim that you converted to Christianity after discovering it is a ‘peaceful’ religion, as opposed to Islam which contains violence, rage and revenge.”
It was so bad that even the atheists spoke out:
Stephen Evans, CEO of the National Secular Society, said: “It is wholly inappropriate for the Home Office to use theological justifications for refusing asylum applications.
“Decisions on the merits of an asylum appeal should be based on an assessment of the facts at hand – and not on the state’s interpretation of any given religion. It’s not the role of the Home Office to play theologian.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “This letter is not in accordance with our policy approach to claims based on religious persecution, including conversions to a particular faith.
So that’s a sign of hope, if even the professional secularists think this was an offensive move. Still, the government should find out who made this decision and either sack them, or force them to go for training. Here’s a tweet from the case worker advocating for the Iranian asylum-seeker, who includes images of the Home Office’s letter to his client:
Excerpt from a home office reasons for refusal letter for a convert to Christianity. I’ve seen a lot over the years, but even I was genuinely shocked to read this unbelievably offensive diatribe being used to justify a refusal of asylum. pic.twitter.com/R1wA1HMNwH
— Nathan Stevens (@nathestevens) March 19, 2019
Look, no country is obliged to give any individual asylum, no matter how deserving their case. And it is perfectly valid for a bureaucrat to probe critically at asylum-seekers’ claims to religious conversion, if there is reason to suspect that the individual is falsely claiming conversion to gain asylum for other reasons. But to have some bigoted half-wit in the Home Office cherry-pick passages from the Bible to conclude that a man’s religion — the same religion that is the official religion of the British state! — is “not peaceful” is outrageous. What is the UK government doing to give meaningful religious literacy education to the bureaucrats making these decisions, which are often matters of life or death?
Does this ignorant bureaucrat understand that Her Majesty the Queen is the head of the Church of England? Would he turn his own sovereign away at the border?
By the way, I would love to know how many persecuted Christians the US Government has welcomed as asylum seekers from Muslim majority countries. I bet the number is shamefully low.