Disclaimer: I am including a image of the poster as there’s no point talking about something you may not have seen. Hopefully, five minutes after the BNP politicians and press had wandered off, someone did the decent thing and threw a can of paint at it. No endorsement of the BNP or encouragement to vote for them is intended. (Or taken. Hopefully)
It’s an interesting image of a blond, blue eyed Jesus. Not even remotely Jewish looking. (Even Alf Garnett was willing to admit that Jesus was Jewish. On his mother’s side).
I suppose the question, “What would Jesus do?” and the use of a Bible verse is meant make people believe that voting for the BNP is okay because their policies are in line with Jesus’ teachings. And part of their overall strategy to convince people that they’re really quite respectable. Although trying to work out What Jesus Would Do isn’t as easy as the nice wristband implies – there are whole tomes arguing that Jesus is anti- and pro homosexuals; anti and pro-women in church leadership; anti- and pro-social welfare; anti and pro-bankers etc. We’ll find out eventually and I suspect that some of the answers will surprise everyone. Including me. But one thing I am 100% sure of is that the God who preached of hope, love, inclusion and justice – “Love your neighbour” – would not put his cross next to the BNP’s candidate’s box come polling day.
The bit which interested me is the way the BNP – and others – are all keen to point out that Jesus agrees with us or that we agree with Jesus etc. It’s strange the way that people want Jesus on their side – I’m not sure why that is – maybe it’s because we think our version of Jesus is more palatable or more loving or holy than theirs. I’m not sure that He’s always that co-operative or easy to pin down. Anne Lamott wrote, “You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do”.
I’m pleased to see that various church groups have called the BNP on this. The Archbishops of York and Canterbury issued a joint statement condemning the BNP’s divisive policies and their attempt to hijack the language of faith. They have made it totally clear that they are encouraging people to vote and discouraging people to vote for one party does not imply support for another. The posters are, apparently, only on display in
Encouraging people to vote and be aware of who and what they’re voting for can only be a good thing. There’s a lot of cynicism and apathy towards politicians and elections at the moment – mainly due to politician’s habit of claiming stuff on expenses that they really ought to be paying for out of their own wages – and this is the type of climate that parties like the BNP thrive in. And their reinvention has been worryingly successful. There have been alot of letters on one of the free papers in London saying that they're not racist, supportive of hard working immigrants and have some good policies etc. So, now I’ve worked out who not to vote for, I need to work out who I will.