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The government’s olive branch to Christians is tinged with hypocrisy

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Even before news of the horrendous Sri Lanka bombings, which killed Christian worshippers, tourists and locals from many faiths, Theresa May had already focused this year’s Easter message on the global persecution of Christians. The foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, sent letters to faith leaders saying he was “appalled” that 245 million Christians worldwide faced discrimination.

It is appalling. And so is the hypocrisy of a government that has itself poured scorn on Christians in recent years. People seeking asylum – a tradition well-known from the Bible – have been denied by Home Office officials for reasons including that if an applicant really believed in Jesus, they would not have needed asylum in the UK in the first place. “You affirmed … that Jesus is your saviour, but then claimed that He would not be able to save you from the Iranian regime,” the Home Office told an Iranian woman in a particularly nightmarish example of circular reasoning. “Your belief in Jesus is halfhearted.”

A separate Iranian applicant was denied asylum, with quotes from Leviticus – “you will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you” – used to argue that Christianity was a religion of “violence, rage and revenge” and “inconsistent” with a desire for peace. These decisions might seem evidence of a........

© The Guardian