Media Centre

No connection to the "Christian Council of Britain"

Originally published 22 March 2006

The response of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) to the Christian Council of Britain appears below. The Church of England is a member of CTBI, the instrument of Churches in Britain for thinking, working  and praying together.

Churches Together in Britain and Ireland associates itself with the recent statement from the Methodist Church concerning a body calling itself the "Christian Council of Britain", and wishes to make absolutely clear that there is no connection between CTBI or its predecessor the British Council of Churches and the "Christian Council of Britain".

The statement from the Methodist Church said: 

A body calling itself the Christian Council of Britain and apparently associated with the BNP recently started joining protests against Jerry Springer: The Opera. Anthea Cox, Methodist Coordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social justice, said, “I am outraged that the BNP and its allies are using Christianity to further their agenda of segregation and division. I think most Christians will be deeply affronted by this and want to speak out against such misguided extremism. We reaffirm our earlier statements that Christian belief is incompatible with any political party or philosophy that is based on hatred or treats people as inferior because of their race, beliefs or for any other reason. We are deeply concerned that some people are now appropriating Christian language and symbols for policies that are the very opposite of Christian values.”

The CCB has claimed that the Bible justifies its support for the BNP’s repatriation policy. But the Revd Ken Howcroft, Coordinating Secretary for Conference and Communication, said “this was a way of interpreting scripture that was used to justify apartheid in South Africa, the banning of mixed-race marriages and the setting up of homelands. The South African Council of Churches condemned this interpretation, and some of the churches that did support this interpretation later formally repented. In Galatians, Paul writes ‘In Christ there is no Jew or Gentile,’ and this makes it clear that there is no Christian basis for racial discrimination or separation.”

 

The General Synod of the Church of England passed this motion in a debate on community relationships on 9 February 2004:

 

‘That this Synod, noting the recent success of the British National Party

in local elections in parts of Lancashire:

 

(a) believe that any political movement that seeks to divide our

communities on the basis of ethnicity is an affront to the nature

of God revealed in creation and Scripture and is a grave danger

to harmonious community relationships; consequently voting

for and/or supporting a political party that offers racist policies

is incompatible with Christian discipleship;

 

(b) call on all Christians in England to nurture a loathing of the sin

of racism and to model the teaching of Christ in loving all our

neighbours; and

 

(c) commit the Church of England to work in partnership with our

ecumenical partners, other faith groups, voluntary and statutory

organizations, mainstream political parties and all people of

goodwill, in building cohesive communities and affirming our

multi-ethnic, culturally and religiously diverse society.’