Pentecost, European Elections and the BNP

Last Sunday, Christian churches of all denominations celebrated Pentecost. Most churches will have heard again the reading of Acts chapter 2. It tells how, during the celebration of the Jewish Festival of Shavuot, the followers of the risen and ascended Christ were overwhelmed by the presence of the Holy Spirit experienced as wind and fire. Empowered and transformed, they began to proclaim the good news of Jesus to a multinational gathering.  Representatives of the world’s peoples heard the disciples speaking in the mother tongue of each nation. The church, a new humanity made up of people from all the nations of the known world, was born. Surely, no one hearing such a story and believing it can leave worship on Sunday then vote for the BNP on Thursday.

The problem in Didsbury is that people may just not vote at all. The proportional representation system used for European Parliamentary elections is such that, if the turnout is low, parties like the BNP can gain enough of a percentage nationwide to win some seats. Thus every vote cast for a mainstream party is a vote against the BNP.

Leaders of the mainstream Christian Churches of Greater Manchester, including the Baptists, have joined together to issue a statement in support of the Hope not hate campaign and to “urge all followers of Christ to use their vote wisely, and not to vote for any political party or candidate promoting division, exclusion, and blame, or in any other way seeking to stir up racial and ethnic hatred”.

At the moment, I am every bit as disillusioned with politics as the next person. I have never been more tempted not to vote but on Thursday I’ll be walking down to Ivy Cottage to cast my vote against the BNP.

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