URC urges congregations to take a stand against racist parties

By agency reporter
3 Feb 2010

The United Reformed Church has contacted its leaders and congregations, reminding them of its long standing opposition to extreme right-wing and racist political parties, and urging them to act in accordance with the URC resolution that “[t]he United Reformed Church believes support for extremist parties to be incompatible with Christian discipleship.”

The anti-racist resolution was passed in January 2004 and as the country readies itself for a general election in the near future, the URC "believes it timely to remember and re-emphasise that voting can be seen as both a civic and moral duty – and that support of parties that discriminate on racial grounds has no place amongst Christians."

John Marsh, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, commented: “As the election approaches I urge all Christians to consider carefully where they place their cross on the ballot paper. Let us focus clearly on the truth that we are all members of one race - the human race."

He continued: "Within God’s Kingdom there is no place for racial hatred and I call upon us all to remain firm in our commitment to practise and promote racial justice and inclusion.”

Both denominationally and ecumenically, the British churches have published information on countering political extremism. The guidelines advise against allowing an extremist party to use church premises and recommends that political parties with racist policies are not invited to participate in election hustings meetings held on church premises.

The United Reformed Church has brought together English Presbyterians, English, Welsh and Scottish Congregationalists, and members of the Churches of Christ, through unions in 1972, 1981 and 2000. There are 100,000 people making up 1600 congregations, with nearly 800 ministers, paid and unpaid. There are some 70 million Reformed Christians worldwide.

See: http://www.urc.org.uk/what_we_do/rjmm/docs/Political%20Extremism and http://www.ctbi.org.uk/427

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