Evangelicals urge Christians to vote against BNP

By staff writers
April 23, 2007

The Evangelical Alliance is advising people to vote against the British National Party (BNP) in the local elections next week.

In a statement that appeared on their website today, the group said they were encouraging people to use their vote so that other candidates were elected.

The Evangelical statement follows similar ones from church denominations, urging that voters do not allow the BNP to win seats through apathy.

“The BNP is trying to present itself as a respectable and non-racist party,” said an Evangelical Alliance statement.

The thinktank Ekklesia, amongst others, has monitored the activities of the BNP for a number of years and warned that the BNP has been seeking to appeal to voters on the basis that the party would defend 'Christian Britain'.

Ekklesia has also warned that some church leaders and Christian groups are unintentionally playing into the hands of the BNP by becoming more vocal in their calls to stem the tide of secularism, and to defend the predominant ‘Christian culture’ of Britain.

Writing in this weekend's Church Times, Ekklesia director Jonathan Bartley said: "The uncomfortable fact is that this puts the Church into the position of arguing the same political point about national identity as the BNP."

Justin Thacker, Head of Public Theology at the Evangelical Alliance, said: “I don’t see how any Christian could ever support the BNP – its principles are entirely at odds with those of Jesus Christ.

“The BNP is a racist party, which doesn’t seem to realise the contradiction of using St George's day – which celebrates a Christian saint – to peddle its racist propaganda. This demonstrates just what a sham the party’s appeal to Christian values is.

“Other parties are just as concerned about the needs of the nation, and they do not use issues of community cohesion for racist ends.”

Rev Katei Kirby, Chief Executive of the African and Caribbean Evangelical Alliance, said: “The BNP may present its election message as ‘Christian’, but as it is based on the divisive and racist agenda inherent to that party, it is clearly out of step with the message of freedom and belonging that is central to the Christian faith.

“To halt the progress of these misleading messages and the parties that purport them, I urge Christians and those in wider society to exercise their right and vote against such parties in their local elections.”

Neil Jameson, of London Citizens, said: “London Citizens fully supports the position taken by the Evangelical Alliance.

“It is our experience of 10 years of organising in East London that it’s quite possible to work together for the common good across diversity without ever having to appeal to the racist card, which is played so obviously by the BNP in some of our most disadvantaged communities.”

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.