Nick Griffin: “Be of Good Cheer for Christ Our Lord is Risen”

“After the General Election, all BNP leaflets will carry a Christian Cross”

Edmund Standing notes BNP leader Nick Griffin’s “Special Easter Message”, in which Griffin announces the party’s new emphasis on Christianity. Griffin writes that:

After the General Election, all BNP leaflets will carry a Christian Cross to demonstrate our commitment to maintaining and preserving our Christian heritage as a nation. Politically correct scoundrels like Rowen Williams will cry fowl but we have nothing to be ashamed of as we are the defenders of Britain’s Christian heritage, just like our Crusader ancestors in the Middle Ages.

…The darkest hour is just before the dawn, but be of good cheer for Christ Our Lord is risen!

Griffin explains that he has come to this realisation following a debate with George Hargreaves of the Christian Party:

A special event that happened recently has changed my outlook on our struggle and the situation facing our sacred country. That event was the peaceful, sensible, mature debate with the Christian Party leader George Hargreaves and a large number of Christian Party members. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire debate which was noticeably absent of the usual hysterical fanaticism of the liberal-left.

It made me think long and hard about a new dimension of our struggle: our Christian religion, culture and traditions. In the past too much emphasis has been placed on the ethnic aspect of our present national dilemma, whilst the longest running feature of our identity has been overlooked: the fact that our country has been held together and guided for millennia by our common, ancient religion: Christianity.

And before you misunderstand me, I do not mean the gut-wrenching politically correct quasi-Marxist nonsense spewing forth from the treacherous leaders of the modern Anglican Church. I mean the traditional, upright, decent and honest Christianity that defended Europe from Islamic conquest, the Christianity of the Crusades and the Christianity of our forefathers…

Griffin’s debate with Hargreaves was broadcast on Genesis TV (an extension of Howard and Lesley Conder’s Revelation TV, which was profiled by the Guardian in 2007), and can be found on YouTube. Both Hargreaves and Griffin took questions from Tim Vince and the audience; according to a report on Christian Today:

The two were debating the motion: “That the election of any BNP MP or leader of a Local Authority will be detrimental to Black and ethnic minority Christians in particular and the wider church in general in Britain.”

Mr Griffin revealed that his understanding of Christian heritage was one of “national pride and history”, rather than a personal and corporate dedication to Jesus Christ. When asked about his own relationship with God, he stated his relationship was not so much with Jesus, but rather with an ideal of what the Anglican church as the ‘state church’ should be.

When asked if the BNP would allow black churches to purchase building in certain areas of London, Mr Griffin made it clear that any church composed primarily of ethnic groups would be disallowed in historically white majority areas, and forced to conduct their worship in areas deemed suitable by a white political leadership.

Griffin got some claps for describing Anglican leaders as “wolves in sheeps’ clothing”, but he also praised Archbishop of York John Sentamu, and the former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali. An endorsment of Nazir-Ali is not much of surprise (although it is sure to be unwelcome): Nazir-Ali has suggested that a return to Christian values should be promoted as a matter of national heritage (I blogged this here), and he is controversial for raising the spectre of “no-go” areas for non-Muslims in British cities, without providing any specific examples. However, Sentamu has been vociferous in his criticism of the BNP, and he has been mocked in turn as a Ugandan “spear-thrower” by Griffin’s deputy Simon Darby. Griffin also attacked “an aggressive leftist secularism”.

The BNP’s turn to Christianity has actually been going on for some time – one of the party’s high-profile activists is the Reverend Robert West (whom I have blogged a number of times), and a couple of other “Revs” have been BNP members. Griffin also gave us an “Easter message” last year – that too was a call for British Christians to revive their Crusader past in order to oppose Muslims (although that time he didn’t feel any need to mention of the Resurrection).

However, Edmund has been quick to point out the humbug of this; Griffin is actually known for being irreligious, and for declaring that

The idea of an anthropomorphic God in the sky who happens to take a particular interest in us has never struck me as remotely realistic.

Meanwhile, the BNP’s Legal Director Lee Barnes is an avowed Odinist, with an explicitly anti-Christian perspective:

Christianity is a semitic religion, it is creature of the deserts of the Middle East not the forests of the Northern Europe and its symbol the cross is an instrument of torture not of living redemption.

…The icons of death are what the West once worshipped – Moses, Christ, saints, popes etc etc

Now all these icons of death must be replaced by a living, organic religion which allows our people to reconnect once more with nature, the earth and the divine unfolding of the spiritual within the material and within Man.

Further, Griffin’s claim that turn to Christianity replaces an emphasis on “the ethnic aspect of our present national dilemma” is not quite the case: Rev West’s Christianity specifically denounces “the mixing of races”.

In last summer’s European elections, Hargreaves tried to persuade voters that he was the only candidate who could defeat the BNP, and – as I blogged here – his Christian Party recently entered the “Alliance for Democracy”, alongside the English Democrats and some other fringe-right parties. Griffin is doubtless aware that these parties offer a less toxic alternative to the BNP for nationalist-minded voters, and and he has adapted his rhetoric accordingly. This site has more on the BNP’s actual views.