BNP furious after Church of England bans clergy from having party membership

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The BNP has accused the Church of England of abandoning biblical teachings by accepting gay clergy – in response to a clerical ban on belonging to the BNP.

The Church of England announced on Tuesday that none of its clergy would be allowed membership of the BNP or the National Front because of the racist rhetoric of both organisations.

It is the first time Anglican priests have formally been banned from membership of any political party.

Clergy who defy the ban would be subject to disciplinary procedures under a clause in canon law which requires them to be “wholesome examples and patterns to the flock of Christ” in their public and private lives.

Bishops declared that both the BNP and National Front are “incompatible with the teaching of the Church of England” because of their respective stances on “equality of persons or groups of different races”.

The Daily Telegraph reports it follows a vote in the General Synod four years ago calling for the Church to adopt a similar policy towards the two groups as police forces already have.

A Church spokesman said that other groups such as the English Defence League are not included because they do not have the same formal structure as the BNP and National Front.

Simon Darby, former deputy leader of the BNP, claimed that some Anglican clergy are members of the party but refused to name them. He also claimed that the BNP had members on the General Synod.

He said that the Church of England had abandoned the teaching of the Bible, by accepting gay clergy and had been “hijacked by people who are more interested in neo-marxism”.

“This is more politicisation of the church,” he said to The Telegraph.

“These are people that don’t bother teaching the Bible, they are more interested in being politically correct.

“Where is it going to end? Am I, because I am a member of the BNP not going to be buried on church ground?”

Mr Darby also claimed that parties such as UKIP could also be banned.

The BNP’s own website describes the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who was born in Uganda, as an “African invader”.

Asked whether he considered the Archbishop of York an “African invader” he said: “I wouldn’t say an invader, it’s a bit strong – invading politically I would say definitely.

“But he is certainly African.

The BNP performed poorly in last month’s European elections. Party leader Nick Griffin lost his seat in the European Parliament.

Before the polls Griffin defended a BNP Youth video which claimed that “militant homosexuals” were part of an “unholy alliance” trying to “destroy the traditional family unit”.

The 54-year-old previously described gay people as “creepy” and admitted that he would like to ban civil partnerships.

He was criticised last August for homophobic and racist remarks, when he labelled a Twitter user a “hysterical little poof”.

In October 2012 he was criticised for posting the address of a gay couple on the internet and calling for his supporters to demonstrate outside their Cambridgeshire home.

He was declared bankrupt in January this year.

In an exclusive interview with PinkNews last month, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, spoke of how homophobic bullying was always “unacceptable and totally wrong”.