BNP and the Church

by Richard on April 23, 2008

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.’

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1

James 04.23.08 at 5:20 pm

The BNP are such a bunch of tossers.

2

Kim 04.23.08 at 6:34 pm

I get very suspicious when anyone, let alone the BNP, talks of Christian “values” - and especially “family” values (one thing Jesus was not was family-friendly). David Attwood observes that “The language of values is particularly appropriate to an individualist society. It is also very appropriate to a society centred on pursuit of economic success. ‘Value’ itself is an economic term.” Sociologist Frank Furedi further suggests that “It is through values that therapeutic culture attempts to give meaning to the place of the self in society.” And J. D. Hunter offers a third angle on the subject: “Values are truths that have been deprived of their commanding character… Values are personal preferences, inclinations and choice.”

Do you see the irony? All talk about “values” actually undermines rather than underlines any real moral substance because the quintessentially postmodern discourse of choice is inimical to the discourse of claim, on which Christian ethics, at least, must unequivocally insist.

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