We need to expose the truth about certain Christian groups that are happy to ally themselves with far-right politics. Foremost among them is Christian Concern (previously called Christian Concern For Our Nation).
Christian Concern claims to speak up for Christian values in public life. They are one of the main groups behind the Coalition for Marriage, which has drawn in more moderately conservative Christians and gained significant media coverage with its outrageously untrue claim that the legalisation of same-sex marriages would allow churches to be sued for not holding them. Many middle-of-the-road Christians have been happy to endorse the group’s ‘Not Ashamed’ campaign, which encourages Christians to be open about their faith.
Rumours have long circulated that the leaders of Christian Concern held a meeting by phone with Tommy Robinson when he was leader of the English Defence League. Christian Concern last month had the opportunity to get rid of these rumours, when they were asked outright by a journalist (not me) if they were true. Christian Concern’s press officer, after consulting with its leaders, told the journalist that they had no comment to make.
Christian Concern deny being party-political – they had to apologise to their supporters in 2010 when they appeared to endorse the tiny Christian party. But in 2011, the group held a meeting on ‘Dismantling Multiculturalism’ with Gerard Batten, Ukip MEP for London. Proposals they appear to have agreed on include a ban on kosher and halal food in schools and hospitals, an end to Islamic banking in the UK and a ban on non-English signs in public (Batten has since tried to play it all down, saying these were only ideas). By last year, Christian Concern’s bulletins to supporters were commenting on Ukip’s local election success in joyful terms.
Symon Hill writes at Politics.co.uk, 6 June 2014