A recent ‘Party election broadcast’ by the BNP made reference to their support for “Christian values”.
This is not new. The BNP has tried this tactic before, sometimes through what amount to ‘front’ organisations such as the Christian Council of Britain. I’ve been remnded of responses which the Methodist Church has made in the past to the BNP’s attempt to appropriate Christian language, and there seemed no harm in repeating these statements (which come from 2006).
Anthea Cox, Methodist Coordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social justice, said, ‘I am outraged that the BNP and its allies are using Christianity to further their agenda of segregation and division. I think most Christians will be deeply affronted by this and want to speak out against such misguided extremism. We reaffirm our earlier statements that Christian belief is incompatible with any political party or philosophy that is based on hatred or treats people as inferior because of their race, beliefs or for any other reason. We are deeply concerned that some people are now appropriating Christian language and symbols for policies that are the very opposite of Christian values.’
The CCB has claimed that the Bible justifies its support for the BNP’s repatriation policy. But the Revd Ken Howcroft, Coordinating Secretary for Conference and Communication, said ‘this was a way of interpreting scripture that was used to justify apartheid in South Africa, the banning of mixed-race marriages and the setting up of homelands. The South African Council of Churches condemned this interpretation, and some of the churches that did support this interpretation later formally repented. In Galatians Paul writes ‘In Christ there is no Jew or Gentile,’ and this makes it clear that there is no Christian basis for racial discrimination or separation.’