The Synod of Wales in the URC has just emailed me a “Pre-Election Briefing for Church Leaders: Making Public Statements”, which comes from the “Joint Public Issues Team: Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Churches Working Together”. This italicised paragraph from the briefing is followed by my response to the Synod. I would be interested in comments, especially from ministerial colleagues.
Charities must not support or oppose a political party or candidate. The Methodist Church has, for example, stated that “racism is a denial of the gospel” and has urged people to vote for positive policies of inclusion and not for racism or division. It would be acceptable to produce a statement along these lines. However it would not be acceptable to name particular parties, for example “Methodist Church urges members not to vote for the BNP”.
Now here is a reason if ever there was one for the Church to cease to stand under the umbrella “charity” (which we presumably do for financial reasons - a stance in itself quite morally questionable). Particularly in areas where the BNP has a real chance of success, or even of making an impact, the church must not be mealy-mouthed but must preach and teach confessionally, publicly, and unconditionally that for Christians to vote for the BNP, let alone belong to the BNP, constitutes heretical belief and blasphemous behaviour. Any church that would muzzle the Word of God when it comes to a platform of racism, fear, and hatred is an apostate church: Anathema sit!
Yours in Christ (not Caesar!)