Thinking Anglicans

General Synod – Tuesday press previews and reports

The BBC previews one debate: Church debates BNP ban for clergy.

And The Telegraph and The Guardian both carry a Press Association report of the debate.
The Telegraph General Synod backs ban on clergy joining the BNP
The Guardian Church of England backs draft ban on clergy joining the BNP


  • This sounds to be a very social-justice oriented move on the part of the General Synod. When human rights are in jeopardy by the activities or the philosophy of any particular political system, the clergy have no right to be part of that system.

    This has always been a problem for the leadership of the Christian Churches. Any movement which encourages discrimination against any lawful sector of society existing within that society, should be out of bounds to the clergy. That is simply the Gospel ethic. How can the Church retain any vailidity for the procloamation of the Gospel if its leaders are linked with oppressive regimes?

    This is why the Church of England really needs to look closely at its attitudes towards the ministry of women and gays in the Church. Misogyny and homophobia – together with the Racism that the BNP embraces – no longer have any place in the administration and teaching of the Church.

    Either a clergy-person believes in the Gospel ethic of inclusivity, or they do not. You can’t have it both ways. And this matter is right at the heart of current diputes within the Provinces of the Anglican Communion

  • While agreeing that no cleric (and, frankly, no Christian) should belong to any fascist party, I do find the wording of the measure a bit troubling. There was a time, not so long ago, when the bench of Libservative of Conserveral bishops would have been quite prepared to declare membership in the UK Labour Party as incompatible with a clerical vocation.

  • True, Malcom. But then the Labour Party does not have a vested interest in racism.

  • I understand that, Ron. But what I had seen to that point spoke only of parties which contravened Christian principles, or words to that effect. Apparently there was an explicit reference to policies about race, which would answer my principle concern.

    It’s not that long ago that one could likely have found a solid majority of Bishops (there was no General Synod yet) who would have considered a social democratic political party to violate Christian principles. One must have a care in the wording of motions no matter how laudable their intent. In the first references I saw, it wasn’t clear that it specifically referred to the BNP’s frankly satanic views on race.

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