Below is a press release about a statement that I was involved in writing issued today by a coalition of Church leaders in Birmingham.
It has been published and reported on by
The Sunday Telegraph
The Birmingham Post
The Birmingham Mail
The Methodist Recorder
'BNP HAS NOTHING DO WITH CHRISTIANITY,'SAY CHURCH LEADERS IN BIRMINGHAM
Church leaders from across the city of Birmingham have come together to give a clear message that the divisive policies of the BNP are counter to the gospel of Jesus Christ, as the BBC prepares to include the party's leader Nick Griffin on their premier political programme, Question Time.
The leading clergy, pastors and ministers include Bishops from the Catholic, Anglican and Pentecostal churches, free-church leaders, tutors from the city's theological college, The Queens Foundation, and the Chair of the Council of Black-led Churches, which represents over 200 churces in the Midlands.
In their statement the church leaders distance themselves from claims made during the European Elections that the British National Party stand for a Christian Britain and are defenders of the Christian Heritage of this country.
They say: "The The BNP has nothing to do with Christianity and many of its hate filled, fear generating messages are completely counter to the loving challenge of the Christian gospel.The gospel of Jesus Christ is for all people, and celebrating the international, multi racial, multi ethnic nature of our churches we feel our faith in Jesus calls us to positively engage and work with our neighbours of other faith traditions."
The full text of the statement and a list of signatories follow:
"As representatives of Christian Churches in Birmingham we wish to express our real concern at the invitation given by the BBC to BNP leader Nick Griffin to the popular programme Question Time due to take place next Thursday. The BNP sometimes claims it is standing for 'Christian Britain.' We refute that wholeheartedly and would like to point out that some churches have stated that BNP membership is incompatible with Christian discipleship. The gospel of Jesus Christ is for all people, and celebrating the international, multi racial, multi ethnic nature of our churches we feel our faith in Jesus calls us to positively engage and work with our neighbours of other faith traditions. The BNP has nothing to do with Christianity and many of its hate filled, fear generating messages are completely counter to the loving challenge of the Christian gospel. We celebrate the wonderful God-given diversity of our city, region and nation."
The Revd Bill Anderson - Birmingham District Chair, Methodist Church
The Revd Lorraine Dixon - Deanery Missioner, Anglican Diocese of Birmingham
Major Sam Edgar - Divisional Commander, Salvation Army
The Revd Julian Francis - Centre for Black Ministries and Leadership, Queen's Foundation for Theological Education, Birmingham
The Revd Ray Gaston - Inter Faith Enabler, Birmingham District Methodist Church
The Revd Dr Toby Howarth - Inter Faith Advisor to the Bishop of Birmingham
The Rt Revd William Kenny - Administrator, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham
The Revd Roy Lowes - West Midlands Moderator, United Reformed Church
Dr Andy Mackie - Leader, Riverside Church Birmingham
The Revd Lynnette Mullings - Centre for Black Ministries and Leadership, Queen's Foundation for Theological Education, Birmingham
Dr Anthony Reddie - Research Fellow in Black Theological Studies for The British Methodist Church
Bishop Basil Richards - Church of God of Prophecy
The Rt Revd David Urquhart - Anglican Bishop of Birmingham
Pastor Calvin Young - Chair of the Council of Black-led Churches