January 21, 2009

Church of England asked to ban BNP

by David Masters

The Church of England will be asked to ban clergy from joining the British National Party (BNP) by one of its members.

The General Synod, which votes on church matters, is being asked to adopt a policy similar to the one held by the Association of Chief Police Officers, which bans employees from BNP membership.

The request comes after the names of 12,000 BNP members were posted on the Internet in November, five of whom were listed as ‘Reverends’.

The Church said none of these was a serving or licensed clergy member.

General Synod secretary William Fittall, said it is already Church of England policy that people with racist views should not join the clergy.

He added that it will be difficult for the church to install a policy specifically aimed at the BNP.

Church policy dictates that members of the clergy cannot be disciplined for their political views, Fittall said.

Vasantha Gnanadoss, the Church member calling for the change in policy, said banning clergy members from joining the BNP would make it more difficult for the organisation to claim it has support from the church.

In recent years, the BNP has sought to identify itself as Christian, Gnanadoss said.

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