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St Luke's Church, Eccleshill - The Link magazine
The Link is published monthly at 40p (Senior Citizens 35p), and we deliver free within the parish and post copies (at the reader's expense) to those who request it. Please contact us if you would like a free copy for a trial period.
March 2009, Page 8.
Synod bans clergy from BNP
To my surprise, General Synod has voted overwhelmingly to ban the clergy from membership of racist organisations, including the British National Party. The motion it passed notes that the Association of Chief Police Officers had banned all police (including staff as well as officers) from racist organisations, specifically including the BNP; and it requests the House of Bishops to formulate and implement a comparable policy for the Church of England, to apply to clergy, ordinands, and such employed lay people as have duties that require them to represent or speak on behalf of the Church. The motion was passed by 322 votes to 13 (I abstained).
Iím against the BNP, and Iíve regularly written articles in this magazine asking people to vote for parties which have at their heart the best interests of all our residents. It seems to me that the Christian faith requires us to look after the welfare of everyone around us, including the refugees and foreigners living amongst us. However, Iím a bit troubled about this resolution. For three reasons:
(i) I believe in free speech, and although I donít agree with what they say, I think itís better to allow them to say it and argue against it, rather than ban them and never have the argument. I think persuasion is better than a ban.
Before going to London to debate this issue I asked for views on the diocesan internet chat group, and also for views from our congregation. The diocese was a bit divided on the question, and some people said they thought the symbolic value of the vote was the most important thing, for its sends a clear message that the BNP is unacceptable. But among our own congregations, 14 of the 16 who replied said our present policy of speaking against the BNP was right, and only 2 thought we should go for a ban.
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This web page created on 5th March 2009 and last updated on 9th June 2009.