The Methodist Church has spoken out against a body calling itself "The Christian Council of Britain" after the thinktank Ekklesia reported its connections with the British National Party (BNP).
It followed earlier warnings by the thinktank that the BNP was increasingly attempting to employ religious arguments.
In a statement quoting the Ekklesia report, Anthea Cox, Methodist Coordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social justice, said, ìI 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.
The Church reaffirmed its 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 valuesî Anthea Cox continued.
"The CCB has claimed that the Bible justifies its support for the BNPís repatriation policy. But the Revd Ken Howcroft, Coordinating Secretary for Conference and Communication, said ìthis 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 Acts Paul writes ëIn Christ there is no Jew or Gentile,í and this makes it clear that there is no Christian basis for racial discrimination or separation.î
Last week, the person involved in setting up the CCB publicly confirmed that the BNP was involved in supporting and facilitating the establishment of the organisation.