Monday, May 25, 2009

C of E -v- BNP

It is regrettable that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have urged us not to vote for the BNP. The Church has already voted to ban members of the BNP and other racist parties from becoming ordained – which must be a good thing – but to tell wider society not to vote for a particular political party is quite another.

In our (albeit rapidly shrinking) democracy, anyone who can put up a deposit must be allowed to stand for parliament, and we must be allowed the freedom to vote for the candidate of our choice. And while our churches of course must criticise government policy of they believe it runs counter to the teachings of their faith, I do not believe religious leaders should involve themselves in party politics. They certainly have no business telling any of us how we should vote. Their job is to preach the Gospel as they understand it, and leave us alone to judge who in the political sphere might best put the spirit of that Gospel into practice within Westminster.

I also find it worrying that the Archbishops have been so confident in criticising a political party that is intrinsically racist, misogynist and homophobic. The Church of England is not yet in a position to take the moral high ground on such matters.

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