Baptists join growing church opposition to BNP
The Revd David Coffey, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Moderator of the Free Churches, has added his voice to calls by both churches in West Yorkshire and the Methodist church and urged Baptists not to vote for the BNP in the upcoming European elections.
Speaking to the Baptist Assembly in Cardiff, the Revd Coffey said, "The politics of the British National Party are not an option to Christians because they are an affront to the nature of God." In his speech he also highlighted prejudice to those of other faiths. "It's a lie that different faith communities cannot live together."
At the weekend, Jonathan Bartley, director of the theological think-tank Ekklesia also continued to defend the decision of churches to urge members to vote against the far right party, in interviews for 10 local BBC radio stations. Last week the BNP attacked church leaders who denounced the party as ìracist and fascistî scaremongers, on BBC Radio Five Live during a phone-in to Ekklesia's director.
In the Public Resolutions session, the Baptist Assembly also called on the Government to remove measures from the 2004 Asylum and Immigration Bill that threaten asylum seekers with the removal of their children if they refuse deportation, the tagging of asylum seekers and extending the Home Secretary's powers to remove asylum seekers without giving due consideration to their claim.
The Assembly is the annual gathering of British Baptists, arranged jointly by the Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB) and BMS World Mission. Nearly 3000 people representing Baptist churches across the country attended the event at the Cardiff International Arena.