I was meaning to blog about this a few weeks ago but I happened across this article on the BBC news website today and it reminded me.
The BNP are using Jesus’ words in a poster campaign to try and garner support from the Christian community. The exact quote they are using is, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (John 15:20). Let’s leave behind the fact that this rather ignores the context (Jesus immediately follows this by saying “If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.”, and the whole thing is set within the context of people being rejected because they follow Christ).
The BNP just seem to be using the same tactic they use with all their other campaigns: fear and paranoia (or, as geeks like to put it, FUD: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt – what Microsoft like to spread about their competitors. But that’s another story). They bandy about the cry that we are “losing our national identity”. In this case, they claim that we are losing our Christian identity.
Now (to borrow a phrase from Gavin & Stacey) I won’t lie to you – I am a bit concerned about the spread of Islam in this country. But not because it’s somehow eroding our Christian identity and values or what have you.
In my opinion, Christianity should not spread by legislation or force. God’s kingdom is a heavenly kingdom, not made by human hands. Take these words, for example:
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)
Which, to me, seems to highlight the problems with the BNP’s approach. On their poster, the BNP conclude with the words “What Would Jesus Do?” (their emphasis). I think we know the answer to that question. And it’s definitely not what the BNP would do.
I just hope that the BNP’s usage of this poster campaign won’t make people think that the Christians in this country actually endorse their message!