The Anglican Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has thrown his weight behind the Hope Not Hate campaign against racism, following the example of many other civil and faith groups.
Hope Not Hope was established by the anti-racist campaigning magazine Searchlight, which has a long history of exposing groups like the British National Party and its predecessors in the neo-fascist movement like the National Front.
Dr John Sentamu has spoken out strongly against racism, but around the time of the European elections he expressed concern about giving too much coverage to the BNP before denouncing them after encouragement from others in the churches.
The archbishop stressed that all people are "made in the image of God", irrespective of their ethnicity, and said he hoped Christians and others would get behind Hope Not Hate.
“It is an important campaign [...] What matters in this life is turning enemies into friends – not friends into enemies,” the prominent black Anglican leader added.
Dr Sentamu was speaking at the 100th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of Diocesan Church House in Deansgate, Manchester, on Thursday 8 October 2009.
In his message he quoted 1 Corinthians 13, from the New Testament, in which St Paul exhorts believers to practice faith, hope and love, the greatest of which is love, says the apostle.
“You cannot love through hate. Hate is driven by fear. Love banishes all hate. If you do not respect other people, you cannot fully respect yourself,” Dr Sentamu declared.