BNP Jesus advert makes church see red

The far-right British National Party has used a picture of Jesus in a billboard campaign in advance of the European elections claiming it is a victim of persecution. The party said it was considering a national campaign, with a spokesman confirming “one or two” billboards were already up. The poster quotes from John 15:20 ” If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” and asks the question “What would Jesus do?” The disclosure comes after the Church of England voted last month to ban clergy and some lay members from joining the BNP. The BNP has also been condemned on several occasions by senior figures in the Church. A spokesman for the BNP said: “We are putting them up there in response to the way the Church has attacked us. We believe we are being persecuted and turned into martyrs.” The latest attack on the BNP came from the Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, Bishop of Manchester, who accused the party last week of preaching a message of “division and hatred” and urged people not to vote for them in the European elections on June 4. Spokesmen for the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu and for the Church of England refused to comment saying the BNP was mounting a “publicity stunt” designed to give the party the “oxygen of publicity”. Jonathan Bartley, co-director of the Christian think tank Ekklesia, said: “Jesus was completely opposed to bigotry. “He is recorded in the Gospels as challenging those who didn’t welcome foreigners – not as working for their exclusion.”

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