Christian Council of Britain: Epilogue?

Giles Fraser writes about Christian rejection of the BNP front group the “Christian Council of Britain” in the Guardian:

Last month, a media-watch organisation started spotting the same faces that appear at BNP rallies regularly appearing at protests over Jerry Springer – the Opera. Local BNP leader Graham Green said: “We are totally opposed to this theatre production, and our members have been helping to hand out pro-Christian leaflets.” But the BNP hadn’t quite thought through their new association. For fundamentalist Christians from organisations like Christian Voice are committed to the literal truth of Genesis: that all human beings are descended from Adam and Eve. Because of this, the human race is of “one blood” (Acts 17: 26).

…Within weeks of setting up the Christian Council of Britain, the alliance was in tatters. “If you don’t believe in Darwinian evolution then you are even dafter than you appear,” the BNP told the national director of Christian Voice, Stephen Green. The love affair was over.

The “media-watch organisation” which first noted BNP hijacking of the Opera protests was MediaWatchWatch; further details were provided by (ahem) me, and the story then got picked up and developed by Ekklesia. Stephen Green’s repudiation of the BNP was noted by the Church Times back in March:

“They’ve got a cheek. If we’d known they were connected with the BNP, we’d have told them where to go,” said Mr Green. “They aren’t sticking up for Christianity: it’s just a front for their racism. I’ve actually been told by someone at the BNP that black people are inferior because of evolution. Evolution doesn’t go down too well with us, either – but can you believe it? We want nothing to do with them.”

That article also noted that

No details of the Christian Council of Britain could be found. “It’s nothing to do with us or me,” said the BNP’s press officer, Dr Phil Edwards. “All I know is, they are a pro-British, British Christian group. It’s separate to the BNP.”

Neither could Dr Edwards furnish details of two churches in Wiltshire that had reportedly “snapped up in bulk” a BNP greetings card produced “in association with county Christians”; or of the “Revd Robert West”, who states that a multiracial society is “a transgression of God’s will”.

Of course, Edwards’ claim was somewhat misleading. Ekklesia quickly noted that the CCoB’s website had been designed by Steve Blake, the BNP’s webmaster, while the Observer reported in April that

Clive Potter, a leading BNP member who was expelled from the Unison trade union for far-right activities, is to be its president.

(Potter, it should be noted, has left at least one comment at MWW)

However, things are not looking good for the Christian Council. Over a month after its website was established, most of its pages still read “details to follow in due course”, while the mysterious “Revd” Robert West, having been suspended from the Tory party, has sunk back into the obscurity he deserves. The BNP appears to have become bored with the project, and has not mentioned it for a while on its own website. But perhaps we can understand why; the Churches Regional Commission for Yorkshire and the Humber has produced a report on the BNP that includes the following anecdote (link added):

During the trial of Nick Griffin in Leeds, members of the “Christian Council of Britain” – a BNP organisation – supported Griffin with placards and Christian symbols…They were singing, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…” Inderjit Bhogal, Director of the Yorkshire and Humber Faiths Forum approached these supporters and asked them, “Where do I fit into your vision of Britain?” “You don’t!” was their reply. He also asked them, “How many of you go to church?” They confirmed that none of them did.

UPDATE: West has now found his spiritual home with the BNP, after complaining about the number of “women, non-white and homosexual or lesbian candidates” currently being put forward by the Tory Party. However, West’s door-to-door campaigning for his new party has not been particularly successful; one unhappy householder decided to administer an icy baptism:

The Reverend Robert West was soaked after knocking on a door in Buttery Close, North Hykeham.

…The woman, who did not wish to be named, told the Echo she had no remorse for her actions.

“He was wearing a dog collar so I asked him whether he was a real reverend,” she said.

“He refused to enter into a debate about it. I had the jug of iced water because I was preparing for friends who were visiting that day.

…”If he comes here again I will empty a whole jug over his head.”

The woman said she had consulted her local vicar because she was concerned Mr West was masquerading as a member of the church while campaigning for the BNP.

(Hat tip: Islamophobia Watch)