Methodist Church launches web resource to help prevent far-right electoral gains

Extreme parties could win European seats with as littleas 9% of the vote

The Methodist Church has launched "Countering PoliticalExtremism," an online information resource for any church or othergroups concerned about the rise of far-right political parties suchas the BNP.

With local and European elections due on June 10, extremeparties are targeting selected councils and Europeanconstituencies. Noting that the BNP's political strategy is basedin part on voter apathy, the new resource features ways ofincreasing interest in elections. It also demonstrates practicalways to enable voters to see the motivation behind the BNP'spresentation of itself and its policies.

Anthea Cox, Secretary for Public Life and Social Justice for theMethodist Church, said that "Over the last eighteen months manylocal churches and church leaders have become fully engaged intrying to overcome political parties that promote racism andintolerance. This resource has been drawn from that experience. Asthe European and local elections approach in June the resourceoffers practical tools to enable people to consider the issuesraised by parties such as the BNP."

Cox added "Local churches are placed at the heart of thecommunity and people look to us for leadership. It is importantthat we underpin our commitment to social justice with theology andprayer and there are resources to enable this included in the website"

The Methodist Church in February stated "the policies andpractice of those who promote racism and religious intolerance areincompatible with the Methodist's church's social witness, biblicalteaching and understanding of the love of God for all people." SaidCox: "The new web resource is the church's offering tocongregations and individuals who recognise the need to considersuch issues in areas where the BNP and other extremist parties arelikely to field candidates in the June European and CouncilElections. The resource offers information, case studies, prayersand group work to help congregations work through the challengingissues presented by this new trend in British politics."