THE far-right British National Party (BNP) has grabbed at Jesus to attract Christian votes in the European elections in June.
A poster it has created for the election, according to Church Times:
Reflects the party’s concerted attempt to portray itself as defender of Britain’s Christian heritage and â€˜Christian’ values.
Nick Griffin, the party leader, invited supporters in an email message to preview the billboard, which, he says, is:
Aimed at attracting even more Christian voters.
The billboard message criticises the Church of England in particular for passing a resolution at the February Synod that membership of the BNP was incompatible with being a member of the clergy.
What has become of the Christian church in this country? Instead of inclusively â€˜embracing all’ which the church claims as its basis, certain groups within that body have banned people from their ranks. . . . Surely if God calls a man to his service, no church has the right to contradict HIS holy will!
Jonathan Bartley, co-director of the think tank Ekklesia, which has been monitoring the BNP’s identification with Christianity, said of the billboard:
This is clearly a gross misrepresentation of both Jesus Christ and Christianity. Jesus was completely opposed to bigotry.
The West Yorkshire Ecumenical Council has mounted a campaign, “Use your Cross â€” Vote for Hope in Yorkshire”, which urges everyone to vote on 4 June for other parties, even if they do not normally vote in the European elections.
The campaign literature says:
Christians assert that all human beings are created equally in the image of God â€¦ The Christian vision of society is one where each person is treated with dignity and respect, whatever their race or religion. It is a vision of hope. The Christian churches are totally opposed to the BNP.