Further to BNP and the Church

by Bene Diction on April 24, 2008

It’s been good to see Richard point out what the BNP actually believes.

Churches speaking up about extremists running for local councils has getting attention on our side of the world. The Joint Public Issues Team comprised of Baptists, Methodists and United Reform Churches have been standing together against political extremism and attempting to educate voters and followers of Christ.

The BNP was started as a racist group in 1982.
One poll suggested the BNP is now acceptable with about 7% of the population as it has attempted to soften it’s message.

The BNP is putting up 750 candidates in May’s local elections.

The Joint Public Issues Team has put together a call to believers who may not grasp why or understand how the BNP is dangerous to Christianity and to democracy.

Policies proposed by extremist parties do not promote the well-being of all members of our society
Co-operation can give extremist parties credibility
Extremist parties are not democratic parties

From the Baptist Union Guidelines for Churches dealing with extremist political parties.
They have an excellent question and answer section. For example:

4. Our local BNP councillor says the party is “defending traditional Christianity”. What do they mean?
Some people who vote BNP do so because they feel that the country is facing frightening forces of change, largely through immigration and the growing number of people from other faiths, particularly Islam.
The BNP claims to offer a way of preserving “our past”, and this includes the preservation of a culture based on Christianity.
But their claim that they are representing or defending “Christianity” is nonsense.
Christianity is neither exclusively white nor British.
Christianity in urban areas has experienced a revival from black Christians. Indeed our
confidence that Christ speaks to all people is reflected in the fact that Christianity is the most
multiracial, multicultural movement on the planet. All Christians should be deeply concerned
that some people are now appropriating Christian language and symbols for policies that are the very opposite of Christian values.

The real agenda behind the claim is a cultural one – partly in opposition to a perceived secular
liberal elite, and largely in an attempt to whip up opposition to Muslims and others of minority
faiths. It also exploits the confusion between faith and race – extremist parties claim they are
not being racist because they are opposing a religion rather than members of a particular race.
The BNP has recently been linked with a body calling itself the Christian Council of Britain.
Although the BNP denies that the Council is a front organisation, it has clearly been involved in
setting up and defending the Council.

The BNP ‘religious’ arm is racist (whites only) anti-Islamic, anti-Asian, anti-immigrant, anti-homosexual. The BBC has their links to terrorist and nationalist groups as well as criminal history and violence of BNP members and leadership.
The front group mentioned above (Christian Council of Britain) promotes a Christian nationalist agenda saying their faith is being thwarted by Islam, political correctness and that their free speech is being quashed.
The Council says it bases it’s belief on reform Protestantism, opposes female and gay ordination, encourages ‘white British Christians’ into it’s organization, on-going separation of races using it’s religious fear and smear tactics.

Ekklesia - BNP members involved in ‘Christian’ front
The Cartoon Blog: BNP lied over Christian Council of Britian

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Mr Evans 05.10.09 at 11:15 am

Hello, I have heard recently that certains churches in the UK have adopted the American method of trying to use their congregations to vote or not vote for various political parties. I don’t know if in America certain political parties `pay` or `donate` to a particular church in return for preached political sermons designed to help or discredit political parties. , but I would like to believe that our UK churches are above this sort of` interference` and would not allow ruling governments or donaters with personal agenders to try to dictate or influence them so as to win votes through the manipulation of the congregation. If a UK church does start to try to politicaly manipulte its congregation and it is not on the `payrole ` of a government or political party, then it would suggest that it is personaly that church or that preacher who seeks to manipulate the congregation. I for one would stand up in protest if I was attending church services and the preacher then advized us who to vote or not vote for. It is for the individual to descide who they want to vote for and who would best serve their country. We can descide for ourselves without the help of the church thankyou very much. The working class man had to fight for his right to vote, and women had to fight even harder. We have all earnt the right to vote for whoever we like now ,and we must always fight to defend that right. I do hope our churches refrain from going the `American` way and do not shame themselves in this sort of behaviour. It is quite possible my comments will get deleted if `Church big brother` discovers this. As it knows , I do have a point.

2

Richard 05.10.09 at 12:45 pm

I’m not sure who “Church big brother’ is, but this is my blog not theirs and if there is any deleting to be done, I’m the one who’ll do it.

I absolutely agree that deciding how to cast a vote is a matter for the individual. But it is also true that there are some parties whose views are completely incompatible with the Christian gospel, and it is the churches’ job to make sure that people are not misled about this.

I’ve never heard of a political party trying to buy church support and can’t imagine it happening in the UK.

‘Methodist Preacher’ has details of conversations between the Electoral Commission and the Methodist Church.

3

Kim 05.10.09 at 4:32 pm

It would indeed be a disgrace, Mr. Evans, were the church to try to “manipulate” its members when it comes to the BNP. According to the OED, to “manipulate” is to “influence cleverly or unscrupulously” - which is exactly what the BNP does (well, adverbally, one out of two anyway). No, the church must come right out and say it: the BNP is a nastly little anti-Christ - and add, pastorally, that anyone who supports the BNP is putting his salvation seriously at risk.

4

Beth 05.11.09 at 8:47 pm

“We can descide for ourselves without the help of the church thankyou very much.”

No, you see, that’s the point - you can’t. Do you think you have a better understanding of theology than the men and women who make up the Church and who are trained and educated in Christian thought? Do you think that you, as an individual, have a more complete and rounded perspective than the corporate body of the Church does? Do you think that Christianity allows you not to listen to the word of Christ, but instead simply to go by your gut feeling?

“I know what I know” just will not do, Mr. Evans. Allowing personal prejudice to dictate your actions in the world is about as profoundly unChristian as you can get. You follow Christ, not yourself, and you do that by listening to what the Churches have to say. And, overwhelmingly, the Churches say that the BNP is a poisonous, hate-filled group which is fundamentally inimical to the message of Christ.

5

Kim 05.11.09 at 9:42 pm

That was tremendous, Beth.

6

Beth 05.11.09 at 9:50 pm

Aww… shucks! Thanks, Kimmy. :D

7

Mr Evans 05.26.09 at 6:44 pm

Thankyou Richard for your level headed comments. Some interesting comments too from the ladies. Some pretty scarery ! My Salvation is most important to me. I try to live my life according to the Will of God and the teachings of his Son Jesus. Maybe not as hard as I should be, but I do try. The thought that my Salvation may be dependent on which way I vote in earthly political affairs is scarery. I’m sure you didn’t realy mean it like that Kim. But you do have a good point. We are all in a dilemawith our concience when it comes to voting. It has cost the common person much suffering to win the right to vote. On those grounds some people feel it is wrong not to vote and we must at lest vote for somebody just to preserve our right. But sometimes I wonder as Christians should we realy be voting for any of these partys at all ?

8

Mr Evans 05.26.09 at 6:50 pm

..We have always known of politicians that are corrupt and on the take. But this year we are starting to realise the extent of some of the crimes they have been up to. With the `expenses claims` fraud it would appear pretty much all of them have been involved. If we then wish to vote, do we use our intellect to decidewhich party is the least evil and corrupt and give them our support for not being as evil as the others ? Or do we just abstain with a no vote protest ?

9

Mr Evans 05.26.09 at 6:57 pm

..The media and rival parties tell me I must not vote BNP. The rival parties also condemn all other parties except their own and sink to new depths with their slur tactics. And now the Church is stepping in and joining in with advise on who I should vote for. Like you say Beth, the Church has a collective wealth of knowledge and theology from their learned men and women. I could not possibly be as well rounded to posses all that knowledge myself. I admit I failed at school and have a poor education. All I have is my inner convictions that come from my prayer and faith in God.

10

Mr Evans 05.26.09 at 7:03 pm

..I sometimes wonder wether Jesus would have ever tried to influence his followeres in a sermon on who to vote for , or wether he would have left it to the individual and their concience. As for the BNP I would rather find out for myself the facts on their policies and what the’re realy about rather than trust the media and their rival parties. Wether Con, Lab,LibDem,BNP,Ukip ect I shall only vote for a party that fullfills its promises and will serve my country best. If noe of the above can deliver then none shall have my vote !

11

Tony Buglass 05.26.09 at 7:05 pm

The point is that it isn’t the vote, or the party you vote for, which impinges upon your salvation, but what it says about you and what’s in your heart. I have friends who between them support all of the major parties. We disagree on certain issues, but I don’t believe that any of the folk I’m thinking of are putting their salvation at risk by their vote. I have difficulties with certain aspects of all the major parties, but I vote for whichever is nearest to my deep convictions about what God wants for his world - which necessarily means a degree of compromise about those bits I don’t agree with.

However, as far as the BNP is concerned, there can be no compromise. They are Nazis. There is so little difference between the ideology of the current British National Party and the German National Socialist Party of the 30s, including their appeal to middle-class church people. The Nazis ‘nationalised’ the churches into the Glaubensbewegung Deutsche Christen - the “Faith Movement of German Christians”, under the leadership of Reichsbischof Muller. Hitler was the new ‘messiah’ given by Providence, and would lead the people into a new age of prosperity and purity. Many ordinary church-going Germans swallowed it, at least in part because of the belief that religion and politics didn’t mix. Sound familiar? Those who saw through it, and formed the Bekennende Kirche (Confessing Church) at Barmen in 1934 found themselves persecuted by a vicious state - Karl Barth was expelled and sent back to Switzerland, Pastor Martin Nielmoller and his colleagues faced years in concentration camps, and eventually thousands of ordinary Christians were martyred for objecting to the Nazi regime.

The BNP’s appeal to ‘vote like Jesus would’ is awful - wonderfully ironic, that a racist party with a plan for a Nordic, Celtic, and Anglo-Saxon master-race should appeal to the most famous Jew in history to support their evil plans. There may well be Christians who vote BNP out of ignorance - but if one Asian family is destroyed as a consequence, they will have that blood on their hands. Ignorance is no defence. I cannot conceive of any Christian purposely voting for a racist agenda, so I am forced to conclude that anyone consciously choosing to support that agenda cannot be a Christian. “By their fruits you shall know them.”

My Church cannot tell me who to vote for. It can guide me in who I may or may not support, in all integrity. That is part of the guiding function of the Body of Christ, as Beth said.

12

Mr Evans 05.26.09 at 7:12 pm

..with God’s Grace I look froward to finding my way home to eternal Paradise. Meantime he has put me on Earth in a country I love and am grateful for. So naturaly I would wish to vote for a party that will preserve and protect my country. I don’t belong to a denominational church. I am a free thinking Christian. Therefore I do not come under any obligations to follow a particular Churches request. The closest box I fit is that of a heratic. From my understanding that is one who has a conviction in God but does not follow the set doctines of the orthodox churches. Thankfully I live in a time and country where the Church no longer has the power to burn me on the stake if I choose to have a difference of opinion ! Maybe I will burn in eternal damnation anyway if I put an X in the wrong box on voting day and my Salvation forfeited.

13

Mr Evans 05.26.09 at 7:25 pm

..But I would prefer to believe that God is bigger than man in his petty little political earthly transient squabbles, and what realy counts in The Lords eyes is whats in ones heart, regardles of whatever political views one has. I like to believe that there are many God fearing politicians out there. Some have had to make some pretty hard decisions that have weighed heavily on their concience. But I would like to believe that God knows their true heart and would not even condemn a politician. Afterall, they have a noble duty to be a civil servant and serve their peoples best interests, not their own. I think any God fearing politician that understands his true role as a servant will always be Blessed. The best help we can offer our politicians is our sincere prayers that they remain open to help from above. Even if one believes those politicians to be`hate filled nasty little anti Christs` ! Strong words, but who are we to know our politicans true hearts. It would be wrong of us to judge, lest we be judged ourselves. Best leave that to God. Meantime the best we can do for our civil servants is to offer them our prayers.
God Bless

14

Mr Evans 05.26.09 at 8:04 pm

Thankyou Tony, some well said words.Glad you vote with your own convictions. Yes it is true the Church should be a guiding function, but ultimately leaving the final choice to the individual. It would be wrong for any Church to do otherwise. Or they would not be respecting God Gift of free will. Good history lesson on The Nazis. But personaly I will not be pointing the finger at the BNP and acusing them of being identical in every way to the Nazi movement. Maybe people will just think I’m ignorant and naive to the world, and maybe I am . But I am not pig headed enough to know when to admit I am wrong . If I am shown a better understanding I will admit mine was lacking and adopt the better view. I am very wary of the way media works and slur tactic parties use. So I would rather watch and learn and make my own mind up about the BNP.
People seem to have forgotton that there is such a thing as positive patriotic and nationalistic views. Almost every other country displayes it and they are admired for it. Whereas if the British show it warning bells go off. And if the English do it (outside of football season) then there is serious panic. We have had our pride in our nation seriously eroded over the years. It is even frowned down upon by our own people. So any party promoting us to be proud in ouselves once again is going to have appeal to anyone who feels the loss of our national pride. I like to believe that God wants us to love our individual countries , our own little promised lands and for us to be good caretakers of them, his gift to us.
But I am not naive enough to accept that nationalism can also be misguided in negative ways. And I would not support negative nationalism but I refuse to be condemned for being proud to be English ,having a love of my country and a desire to protect it from forces that seek to undermine it . I can’t see whats wrong with that. So naturaly I would wish to support a party that also claimes to care about my country and is n’t just out for what it can get for itself. So my challenge is to all parties to deliver the goods if they want my vote!

15

Tony Buglass 05.26.09 at 10:07 pm

Two thoughts.

First, the Church is bigger than any denomination. I will listen to a good teacher of any tradition. The only question as far as I’m concerned is whether he nows what he’s talking about it. That way, I (and people like you) can be guided by the whole tradition of the whole Body of Christ. You use the word “heretic” - well, ‘haeresis’ originally meant ‘opinion’, so you can share your opinion freely with us. The question which arises is whether that opinion is defensible - again, a function of the Body, usually known as ‘discernment.’

As far as nationalism is concerned, the Church and the Kingdom are supranationalist. Where nationalism amounts to treasuring our culture as a gift which we can share with the wider community, that is part of the jigsaw which is God’s Kingdom. Where nationalism becomes exclusive and builds barriers, it is in direct contradiction to God’s Kingdom - Eph.2:14; Gal.3:28.

Like you, I’m glad to be English. I want the best for my country, too. But not at the expense of a world community living in peace and harmony. If the BNP tell you they’re for Britain and Christ, they’re lying through their teeth. If they stand for Britain alone, they stand against Christ. Make your choice, pal, make your choice.

16

Tony Buglass 05.26.09 at 10:11 pm

“But personaly I will not be pointing the finger at the BNP and acusing them of being identical in every way to the Nazi movement.”

I will. Don’t be fooled. THose who will not learn from history will be doomed to repeat it.

And whatever you do, don’t let June 4th go without voting because you’re not happy with the major parties. This is a Euro-election - it runs by propertional representation, which means if there is a low turnout the BNP fraction will be proportionately bigger, so they may gain a seat because people don’t vote. Vote for whoever you like, to make sure there is a high number of votes, so the BNP are shown up to be the tiny fraction they really are.

17

Kim 05.26.09 at 11:41 pm

Hi again Mr. Evans,

Earlier, Tony mentioned the Barmen Declaration (1934), a confession issued by a “little flock” of German Protestant Christians in opposition to the nationalist, anti-Semitic, and racist teachings of of the so-called German Christian Movement that was putting country before God. Here are a few of the Declaration’s most important statements - and ever-relevant for Christians who are tempted to heed the voice of other lords (often know by the ending “ism” - like Natonalism and Racism) than the one Lord Jesus Christ.

8.11 Jesus Christ, as he is attested to us in Holy Scripture, is the one Word of God which we have to hear, and which we have to trust and obey in life and in death.

8.12 We reject the false doctrine that the church could and should recognise as a source of its proclamation, beyond and besides this one Word of God, yet other events, powers, historic figures, and truths as God’s revelation.

8.15 We reject the false doctrine that there could be areas of our life in which we would not belong to Jesus Christ but to other lords, areas in which we would not need justification and sanctification through him.

8.18 We reject the false doctrine that the Church could have permission to hand over the form of its message and of its order to whatever it itself might wish or to the vicissitudes of the prevailing ideological and political convictions of the day.

You worry about “forces that seek to undermine” your country. That is the classic language of the false doctrines of nationalism and racism/ethnic fear and hatred, with their insidious manipulations of Christian teaching, against which Barmen contends. It is to these ideological idols that the BNP bows. They undermine the faith of the church of Jesus Christ. It is about those forces that you should worry.

18

Beth 05.27.09 at 12:05 pm

“Some interesting comments too from the ladies.”

Kim’s a guy, Mr. Evans, and I haven’t been a “lady” since about 1994.

“naturaly I would wish to support a party that also claimes to care about my country and is n’t just out for what it can get for itself.”

Show me a party that isn’t run on the lines of self-interest, and I’ll show you my small herd of flying pigs. “Claims” is the appropriate word. Look at what has happened to countries which have run themselves according to the kinds of doctrine preached by the BNP - they have ruined themselves and become international pariahs. If a party truly cares about the country, it will focus its energies on making it strong and internationally viable, not on ridiculous, wasteful policies like “voluntary repatriation” of non-whites. Do you think we can spare all the citizens of ethnic minorities who we are lucky enough to call our countrymen and -women? Do you think we can spare every Sikh and Jew in Britain? I certainly don’t. But the BNP would make it impossible for them to stay here.

19

Mr Evans 05.27.09 at 11:04 pm

Appologies for getting anyones genders mixed up ! Yes , your right, finding an honest political party is like trying to find a herd of flying pigs ! It puts me back again into that moral dilema of wether I should give my support to any of these political parties.
An interesting comment was `but if one Asian family is destroyed as a consequence, they will have that blood on their hands.` I was shocked at our governments unjustified wars in Iraq and the carnage that came from it and continues. I realized that I voted for them. I helped put them in power. It is uncomfortable for me to think that I may be partly responsible for Labour backed atrocities and war crimes.

20

Mr Evans 05.27.09 at 11:14 pm

.. I realy feel for Tony Blair . I voted for him in the knowledge he was a God fearing man and a family man. I did note vote for Gordon Brown who has come in through the back door. I put my trust in Mr Blair. I know he did not make the decision to go to war lightly and he admits there is not a day goes past that he does not reflect on his decisions. But wether we are linked to governments consequences if we voted for them is a difficult one to swallow. It would be like the world blaming every German who voted for the Nazis for being part responsible for the Holocaust . Whereas they were ignorant at the time of where it would all end.

21

Mr Evans 05.27.09 at 11:29 pm

.. but back to the dilema of June 4th. If it is true that the BNP are such a small insignificant party then there is nothing their opponents need fear. But for a small party that at one time had no airing they certainly are well known now , thanks to all the free publicity. even negative publicity serves them and lets the public know they are about and breaking through into mainstream media and politics. The advice to vote for another party just so the BNP don’t look significant concerns my concience. It would mean I would again have to be giving my vote to a corrupted bunch of money grabbing self centered crooks. Two wrongs don’t make a right. It is still wrong to vote for the party considered to be the least corrupt. Personaly I think I may have to abstain from voting and keep a clear concience and we will just have to see how insignificant and small the BNP realy are on voting day.

22

DaveW 05.28.09 at 7:53 am

“It would be like the world blaming every German who voted for the Nazis for being part responsible for the Holocaust . Whereas they were ignorant at the time of where it would all end.”

The BNP have made it very clear where they want it to end if they are elected. Anyone who votes for them cannot claim to be ignorant of what they intend to do to many of the people of this country.

23

Kim 05.28.09 at 11:58 am

Yes, Mr. Evans, many MPs would seem to be “a corrupted bunch of money grabbing self centered crooks”. But why on earth should anyone think that BNP politicians would be any different? For that matter, it astonishes me that some people seem to think that all we need is a herd of Esther Rantzens in Parliament and everything will be hunky-dory. Certainly Christians should be skeptical of such facile optimism, not only because of the doctrine of (original) sin, but above all because of Paul’s teaching on “the principalities and powers” (cf. “institutional” sin) - Parliament as well as the various political parties themselves are just such powers. And the most pernicious powers are nation-states.

Politicians are at their most dangerous - and idolatrous - when they make patriotic appeal to the nation state as if it were sacred: “our distinctive identity”, “our glorious past”, “our noble traditions”, “our Christian values”, and other such Orwellian discourse - the worst of all is “God and country” - which, by its sentimentality, its selective readings of history, its rhetorical excessiveness and exaggeration, serves only one purpose: deception. All political parties are guilty of such specious rhetoric to some extent, but it seems to me that the BNP is different here not just in degree but in kind. It is not just that its members, like the rest of us, are more or less sinful; it’s that the party is ideologically corrupt to the core.

24

Tony Buglass 06.01.09 at 9:57 am

“I realy feel for Tony Blair . I voted for him in the knowledge he was a God fearing man and a family man. I did note vote for Gordon Brown”

Actually, I voted for neither person: I voted for Labour. We don’t vote for Prime Ministes - we vote for he party, and whoever is the leader of that party will therefore lead the government. So the idea that Gordon Brown shouldn’t be Prime Minister because nobody voted for him is rubbish. Both men could be called God-fearing - Blair as a high Anglo-Catholic (at the time) and Brown as a Presbyterian son of the manse. Yes, I have problems with some of their decisions, but I wsan’t the person in the hot seat when the decisions were taken, so I can’t make such dogmatic statements about them. Hindsight is a wonderful gift, isn’t it. The truth is that politics is a murky and complex swirl of issues, and it doesn’t matter how high your ideals, there are points at which you will get your hands dirty.

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