CofE should take a stand on BNP

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The Church of England’s Synod is to consider banning clergy from being members of the BNP. This is an interesting move, and I hope that it is successful.

This isn’t thuggish illiberalism on my part, and I’m not trying to argue that the church (or, indeed, any church) should get involved in politics beyond where they currently are. However, politics and religion clearly have an overlap: each draws conclusions about the morality of actions from a pre-defined schema (for the religious their faith in God, and for the political their chosen ideology). Some – myself included – have a complex mixture of both going on.

Given this, it’s entirely possible for the religious and the political to reach the same conclusion, but from radically different starting points. This is the case over racial equality, as it is over poverty, environmentalism, and aiding the vulnerable.

Admittedly banning BNP membership is a direct foray into party politics that many members of the Synod may baulk at, but they must ask themselves: does our faith mean that we believe that people of all races are equal, are equally deserving of our regard, and should live together in community and solidarity?

If the answer is “yes”, as I believe it would be for most Anglicans (and most Christians outside of the Anglican communion), then they must ban clergy BNP membership. The BNP is different. The BNP’s ideology of racial division and hatred places them so far from the political mainstream, and so far from the views of the vast majority of people, that they threaten the very basis of the liberal democracy that we have built.

I am not suggesting by my last statement that the BNP should be banned outright: despite their odiousness, their right to exist must be protected by the state. But I take a strong view on the right of private bodies, including the Church, to exclude the BNP if they wish: this isn’t a denial of “free speech”, it’s free speech being exercised. If the BNP have a problem, then let them organize their own Church and see how many parishioners they get.

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One Response to “CofE should take a stand on BNP”

  1. Captain Jako Says:

    Agree 100%. It’s always worth reminding people what the BNP’s constitution says about their principles:

    2b) “The British National Party stands for the preservation of the national and ethnic character of the British people and is wholly opposed to any form of racial integration between British and non-European peoples. It is therefore committed to stemming and reversing the tide of non-white immigration and to restoring, by legal changes, negotiation and consent, the overwhelmingly white makeup of the British population that existed in Britain prior to 1948”

    You can understand why such race-obsessed morons aren’t allowed in the police, who quite rightly have a duty not to act in a racist way. If the Church of England wants to practically demonstrate its disgust with these sorts of politics then I can think of few better ways than to ban the clergy from joining the BNP.

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