United Reform Church and Allied Religious Institutions Essay

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United Reform Church and allied religious institutions such as the Methodist Church in Britain have expressed concern over election results for the British National Party (BNP). In the June 2009 elections, the BNP garnered two European Parliament seats and three seats in local councils around the United Kingdom.

The Secretary for Church and Society for the United Reformed Church, Frank Kantor remarked that "We must never become comfortable with the BNP using their position to promote racist policies. We will continue to their messages of hatred and fear. (United Reform Church,)."

A lot of commentators predicted a BNP success largely due to the low voter turnout and political instability in the weeks leading up to the election. The results were however much lower that BNP estimates of the elections returns (ibid).

The Methodist Church's public issues policy adviser Rachel Lampard said that "The limited success of the BNP does not change our steadfast message: God loves all. Racism is a sin. The campaigning work of the Churches and other grass-roots organizations has helped to highlight the need for people to vote positively, especially at a time when public confidence in politics has been shaken (ibid)." Also, the Reverend Graham Sparkes (head of faith and unity for the Baptist Union of Great Britain) also said that "It's deeply disappointing that we now have a racist party representing Britain in Europe for the next five years and it is vital that our remaining UK representatives dedicate themselves to promote the common good (ibid)."

While the initial reaction to the BNP elections results was definitely justified, the success of the party since then has not been nearly as dramatic. Indeed, the BNP has suffered in the press and in the British court system over exclusionary provisions of its constitution that ban non-white members from membership in the party. (Taylor, BNP leader Nick Griffin accused of lying over party's constitution).

The party's chief, Nick Griffin was accused of lying in the British high court during a showdown with the equality and human rights watchdog regarding the party's potentially discriminatory constitution. Griffin failed to show up for his latest court hearing due to kidney stones. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) accused the BNP of failing to comply with a county court judgment earlier this year that ordered the removal of potentially racist clauses from the BNP's constitution. If it does not comply, the party faces a find and/or steep costs or possibly the freezing of its assets if the court rules in favor of the EHRC. The BNP was forced by the high court to remove a "non-white" clause from the party constitution last year after it was ruled that it breached discrimination laws. In March, Judge Paul Collins ruled that the revised constitution was indirectly discriminatory based upon its applicants to oppose "any form of integration or assimilation of ... The indigenous British." The Equality and Human…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Taylor, Matthew. (2010). BNP leader Nick Griffin accused of lying over party's constitution. Available: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/nov/08/nick-griffin-high-court-bnp. Last accessed 11th Nov 2010.

United Reform Church. (2009). Churches concern at BNP election gains. Available: http://www.urc.org.uk/news/2009/june/churches_concern_as_bnp_makes_election_gains.

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