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BNP: 'does not speak for UK Christians' says EA

The British National Party are not the defenders of genuine Christianity, the Evangelical Alliance has said ahead of Nick Griffin’s appearance on BBC1's Question Time tonight.
 
The appearance of the British National Party’s leader, Nick Griffin on BBC1's Question Time offers a further opportunity to emphatically reject any claims that they are the defenders of Christianity.
 
The BBC invited Nick Griffin to participate following the election of two BNP candidates to the European Parliament in June 2009. To maintain its political neutrality, the BBC decided that it could not ignore the BNP’s presence in the British political sphere.
 
Steve Clifford, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance (pictured) said:  “We unequivocally condemn any attempt to use the Christian faith to promote racist nationalist policies and expect the BNP’s policies to be exposed for what they are on Question Time.”
 
The British National Party have regularly attempted to promote themselves as the only party standing up for Christian values. The Evangelical Alliance totally rejects any such claim.

Meanwhile religious think-tank Ekklesia has warned that if churches are to be effective in challenging the BNP, they need to drop the rhetoric which fuels the party's ideology.

The advice comes after a number of churches and church leaders issued statements distancing themselves from the BNP prior to Nick Griffin's appearance on BBC1's Question Time.

The statements expressed concern that the BNP was portraying itself as a "Christian" party.

But Ekklesia, which has been studying the relationship between the BNP and the churches for the last five years, says that references to "Christian Britain", often employed by church leaders, are encouraging the association of national identity with religion, and playing into the racist party's hands.

Jonathan Bartley, Ekklesia's co-director said: "Whilst the major church denominations have rightly been outspoken in their challenge to the BNP, their messages have consistently been undermined by continual references to 'Christian Britain'.

"With their work in deprived communities and care for immigrants and asylum seekers, churches are ideally placed to challenge racism. But they also need to dissect and reject the conflatation of faith, race and nation, not endorse it. If they do not, they will continue to play into the BNP's hands."

In 2004 the think-tank highlighted how the BNP was seeking to identify itself as a 'Christian' party, and recruit members by using a mythology of 'white Christian Britain', and establishing a front organisation called 'The Christian Council of Britain'. Analysis of the BNP's membership list revealed a number of party members self-identifying as Christians and as active members of churches.

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