Churches urged to take action ahead of European elections

• Election pack highlights BNP threat

On 4 June 2009 every adult in the UK will have the opportunity tovote in the European Parliament Elections. There will also be someEnglish County Council elections.

A briefing from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the MethodistChurch and the United Reformed Church explains the importance ofcitizenship and participating in democratic processes.

A new toolkit has also been produced by the three churches to helpequip and affirm local church leaders to take action to counterfar-right and racist politics.

Methodist President Revd Stephen Poxon said, "Voting isn't just aright - it is a privilege that carries great responsibility. A highturnout at the ballot box is good for democracy and society andwill make it harder for extremist parties to succeed."

"The European Union directly influences many aspects of our lives,"added Revd John Marsh, Moderator of the General Assembly of theUnited Reformed Church, "The European Parliament is the only EUbody elected by its citizens, and it is a powerful and importantlegislature for all 27 member countries."

The briefing and toolkit are available online at www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/jpitpolitics.

Revd Jonathan Edwards, General Secretary of the Baptist Union ofGreat Britain, said, "The toolkit for local church leaders isdesigned to help equip ministers and lay people alike with ideasand information about what they can do to counter racist politics.The appropriation of Christian language and imagery by the BNP isdeeply offensive - we need churches across Britain to live out afaith that is open and inclusive, rooted in a commitment to loveour neighbours as we love ourselves."