preacher park UK christianity
© Reuters/Stefan Wermuth
A Christian speaker holds a copy of the Bible at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park, London
The UK Home Office has refused asylum to an Iranian convert, saying that Christianity is not as 'peaceful' as he claims. It even cited Bible verses to support its position. Now the Church of England is stepping in.

The letter from the Home Office now making the rounds on social media uses out of context Bible verses from books like Revelations to disprove the Iranian national's claim in his 2016 asylum request that he abandoned Islam and converted based on the peaceful nature of Christianity.

The letter describes the Bible as being "filled with imagery of revenge, destruction, death and violence," and therefore "inconsistent" with the asylum-seeker's claim that Christianity is peaceful "as opposed to Islam."

Nathan Stevens, the asylum-seeker's caseworker, tweeted an image of the rejection letter, stating he was "genuinely shocked" to read such "unbelievably offensive diatribe."


He is not the only one who found the letter distasteful. The Church of England has even gotten involved, stating its "extreme concern" over the "profound misunderstanding" of biblical texts.
"To use extracts from the Book of Revelation to argue that Christianity is a violent religion is like arguing that a government report on the impact of climate change is advocating drought and flooding."
The Church also said that the religious literacy of Home Office staff needs to be improved considering how critical religion is to the asylum process.
"It is good that the Home Office has recognised that this decision is inconsistent with its policies and that its staff need better training. But the fact that these comments were made at all suggests that the problem goes deeper than a lack of religious literacy among individual civil servants and indicates that the management structures and ethos of the Home Office, when dealing with cases with a religious dimension, need serious overhaul.

"I look forward to hearing what changes in training and practice follow from this worrying example.
The Home Office has responded to the widespread outcry, promising to investigate while noting the letter "is not in accordance with our policy approach to claims based on religious persecution."