U.K. Churches Seek to Counter Far-Right Politics

LONDON – The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church are urging their member churches to take action against far-right and racist politics ahead of the European elections on June 4.

The Churches have produced a briefing pack explaining the importance of citizenship and participating in democratic processes and warning against the threat posed by the BNP.

In the toolkit, churches are advised to keep track of the BNP's electoral performance and publicity material, and develop solutions to the concerns of the local community that are not based on the politics of fear and hatred. The toolkit also recommends that local churches unite in speaking out against racist political organisations.

The Rev. Jonathan Edwards, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, said: "The toolkit for local church leaders is designed to help equip ministers and lay people alike with ideas and information about what they can do to counter racist politics.

"The appropriation of Christian language and imagery by the BNP is deeply offensive – we need churches across Britain to live out a faith that is open and inclusive, rooted in a commitment to love our neighbors as we love ourselves."

Methodist President the Rev. Stephen Poxon said, "Voting isn't just a right – it is a privilege that carries great responsibility. A high turnout at the ballot box is good for democracy and society and will make it harder for extremist parties to succeed."