Archive for the ‘United Reform Church’ Tag

Th!nk About It: As the European election approaches, the Christians don’t reduce me to tears and/or sleep

This post can also be viewed – and voted for – here.
What do Nick Griffin and Sarfraz Manzoor have to do with the European election? More than most think.

Nick Griffin vs Sarfraz Manzoor? My money's on Manzoor.

Us British Th!nk About It bloggers are at a disadvantage – a disadvantage highlighted, somewhat ironically, by Danish blogger Mads Frederiksen – which is that, with less than 50 days to go, the British media still aren’t covering the European election.

Which, as you can imagine, makes blogging about the European Election in the UK – without writing about the aforementioned lack of media coverage (which I have already overdone) – somewhat difficult.

Thank goodness, then, for Christians; those of the Baptist, Methodist and United Reform churches to be exact. Because this month they released a briefing on the importance of the European elections, which is not just interesting because the Christians appear to be the only people who currently care about Europe – but also because it explicitly warns against the dangers of political extremism.

The briefing (which can be seen here), produced by a joint public issues team, explains the upcoming elections under the titles: who are we electing; what am I voting for and how do I vote.

(The comprehensive way in which the brief explains complex issues in less than 500 words makes me think it might be worth becoming a Christian – imagine how easy life would be with a handy briefing on all difficult topics.)

Then, following in the footsteps of the Bishop of Manchester who in March urged a boycott on the BNP, the leaflet moves on to discuss political extremism – and in doing so, manages to avoid the pitfall of most (all?) other EU propaganda: inducing the reader to tears and/or sleep.

It says that the churches believe “the policies of extremist and racist political parties are incompatible with an understanding of God’s love for all people” – and calls on Christians to counter these parties, stating:

Using your vote is one way that you can stop the racist political parties from being elected.

The briefing highlights how the proportional representation of the European elections makes it easier for extreme parties like theĀ  BNP (British National Party) to get seats, and how the current economic situation might help these parties reach power.

(Indeed, headlines like this hardly fill one with confidence.)

But in order to avoid parties like the BNP getting seats, the innovative Christians urge everyone to use their vote. Good on them.

Indeed, I’m wondering why this reason to vote hasn’t been used more frequently – I’m certainly more likely to vote faced with an argument about banishing the BNP, rather than faced with an advert about, say, light bulbs or chicken packaging.

And just in case anyone’s wondering why the BNP need a good banishing, it’s because this week they announced that journalist Sarfraz Manzoor doesn’t exist. Indeed, its not just Sarfraz Manzoor who doesn’t exist – it’s all Black and Asian Britons. Instead these people should, according to party chairman Nick Griffin, be referred to as “racial foreigners”.

As Manzoor says:

On the plus side, this means I do exist, but rather than watching a film, I may now have to spend the weekend staring into the mirror trying to work out who is staring back at me.

In light of this, the briefing of the Baptist, Methodist and United Reform churches has never been more accurate or relevant.

And in light of this, it makes me all the more angry that this briefing will be read by so few in the UK.