The BNP does Apartheid

Here at “An Exercise”, I’m not a big fan of the BNP. Not only are their politics (and some of their politicians) racist, they’re not even true patriots, given that some of them don’t even know how to fly the Union Flag properly. And while in the past I’ve supported the right of Nick Griffin (their leader) to say what he thinks, don’t mistake that for one moment with any agreement with what he thinks.

The BNP however has realised that it needs to reach out beyond it’s narrow racist constituency, so a while back it was involved in launching the Christian Council of Britain, another UK group to campaign for “Christian values”. Hmmmmmmm….. Nothing wrong in that one might think, but what are these Christian values they want to promote?

At their conference in July they adopted a constitution to reflect their mandate. It’s interesting reading, particularly this paragraph:

5. The Gift of Race and Nation. The Christian Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland resolved that it recognises that all men are of one blood (or proto-race) in Adam through to Noah; and that from that one race divergent sub-races have historically devolved – Russian doll-like – (Genesis 11: 1-9) so that we are now different, though related, races and nations of men, all of whom God has made (Psalms 86: 9); which are each to bring their glory into the kingdom of God (Revelation 21: 26). The Christian Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland therefore resolved to recognise the godly importance of race and nation as groups based on this historical and providential process of objective descent: giving rise to different organically-formed communities; sharing and passing-on common genetically inherited (physical, intellectual and character) features, together with cultures, mores, relationships, loyalties, memories, and identities-in-common; and ultimately – by the will of God – national homelands, where an ongoing connection between land and people has developed, and can be encouraged and preserved (Acts 17: 26). The Christian Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland recognises these facts and privileges, especially with regard to the historic British people whose land this is. The Christian Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland therefore resolved especially to welcome the British as such a People, and as individuals, into membership.

Sound familiar? Let’s take a journey back a hundred years and meet a Dutch theologian called Abraham Kuyper. There here is on the right. Kuyper was a neo-Calvinist and the father of a brand of identity theology that lead to Dutch Reform Covenant thinking:

Kuyper insisted that all spheres of life owe their existence to God’s decree in creation and to the common grace he showers on all his created order. Thus decreed into the fabric of life, each sphere has lordship, rule, and sovereignty over itself under God. It can run its own show, as it were, without reference to the other spheres. This would apply, for example, to areas such as family life, economics, education, art and so on. It would also apply to church and state, so that one could validly insist that the church stick to spiritual things while the government gets on with governing and politics. The result is that neither is answerable to the other, but to God alone.

Not only did this principle apply to church and state, but also to nations:

“For God created nations. They exist for Him. They are his Own. And therefore all these nations, and in them humanity, must exist for his glory and consequently after His ordinances, in order that in their well being, when they walk after His ordinances, His divine wisdow may shine forth”.
Abraham Kuyper

This passage from Michael Cassidy’s “The Passing Summer” shows very clearly how Kuyper developed a theology of race and nation that developed in the 20th century into two particularly pernicious forms. The first was “German Christianity”, a heresy in Germany in the 20s and 30s that the chief of these “spheres” was the nation and that therefore the church should submit itself to the nation’s will and be subservient to it. If the church was ekklesia, “the gathering”, then as only a minority gathering it should permit the majority ekklesia its will, and indeed support it as a God ordained thing. This led to the shameful episode of the German Lutheran Church (and others) accepting and even promoting Hitler’s Nazi regime, and surrendering any sense of Christian specificity. Those who rebelled against this surrender to the state formed a “Confessing Church”, of whom many members paid with their lives for this act of independence, most famously Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, theologians who had studied under Kuyper in the Netherlands went back home and combined this new theology of separate identity with Boer nationalism. The result was a potent mix of misapplied Scripture and a 100 years of struggle for Afrikaner survival. Not only was a separate Boer nation a political ideal – it was now an issue of holiness. To mix with other races and nations would be to disobey God. That was why the Boers had lost to the British in two long and bloody wars. It was their free mixing with the blacks who had come into the land they had colonised (to do the farmwork and labouring) that had led to God’s disfavour. The remedy? Separate living, a way of being apart from the other nations and races who lived in the south of Africa. Indeed, since the whites were the favoured nation of God, bringing the Gospel of redemption to the pagan blacks, it was absolutely necessary to maintain the distinctiveness of the white nation and race, for without it they could not do the vast missionary work that God has called them to.

And so Apartheid was born.

Of course, however well intentioned this may have been, Apartheid was implemented racistly from the start and had racist assumptions within it. Despite talk of “separate but equal development” and “Homelands”, in reality the white, Boer dominated, government ran South Africa less as an exercise in developing all the nations and races within its borders and more as a private hegemony to benefit the chosen Covenant people of God.

But back to the point. Ultimately Apartheid is a theological issue and must be tackled on that basis. So while it is true that God has created nations and races to glorify him, the theology of Kuyper misses the point that it is the very being together of the nations and races in ekklesia which brings glory to God. Christ saves from every tongue and people and makes them one body in order to display his glory. He is eternally in relationship, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so he creates us in relationship to speak of that.

One example to illustrate this point. Under Kuyperian theology each of the races and nations meets on its own to worship God. When bread is broken and wine is drunk, it is done in separate genetic groups. However, the catholic church has recognised for 2000 years that the Eucharist is a celebration of our togetherness not only with Christ but with all other Christians, and not just those Christians today but all down the ages. We share one loaf and one cup, not just metaphorically but actually. It is an offence to God and to what he has done in creating a multiplicity of nations and races to then exclude some people from Communion on the basis of their genes or national flag. The only Scriptural grounds for withholding the Eucharist is gross sin.

In Christ there is neither male nor female, Jew or Greek, slave or free. All who are in Christ are God’s sons and, far more importantly, all are Abraham’s seed (Gal 3:26-29). While God may have in the past used a specific nation and genetic group to do his specific purposes (and to receive his grace and favour), the coming of Christ destroys that racial boundary. All Christians are inheritors of Abraham – they are all his seed, destroying temporary notions of racial superiority. To even attempt to distinguish between them in the ecclesiastical dimension is to deny what God has done for us.

So I say to the Christian Council of Britain, and all who would consider being involved with them, (including Paul Cameron), that this part of their constitution is a denial of the very core of the redeeming, liberating and uniting Gospel. Shame on the CCB and shame on the BNP for actively reintroducing a duff theology that we all thought was long gone.

5 Comments on “The BNP does Apartheid

  1. I did not know that we in the CCoB had the backing of such a great theologian who is very highly respected in many circles.  If you examine the CCoB line on the gift of race and nation, carefully, you will see that we in fact rejoice in all nations which are to continue into eternity, it seems – at least according to the apostle John in Revelation.   I think that there should be more debate between persons of differing or opposing views on this subject; and perhaps it should be conducted in a politer and less emotive way to generate more light rather than heat. 

    We will be producing more material to show that Nations are a sound theological concept and that it is God’s will for them to continue; and we hope that you will review our propositions without giving way to lowering the level of debate to mere personal vituperation. 

    Revd RMB West, Moderator CCoB. 

  2. Dear Peter,
    We have corresponded at some length privately. Thank you. However, to answer some of the points that you have publicly made:
    I have been a member of the Conservative Party, the Lincolnshire Council for Racial Equality, and the British National Party. How do they compare? Well, the British National Party compares very favourably with the other two: they are thoughtful, courteous and courageous – a credit to politics. The Racial Equality Council, however – whatever their protestations to the contrary – seemed to be only out for their own ethnic (or religious) group and to be unconcerned with the inevitable give-and-take needed in a deeply divided society. Perhaps this is just human nature. They also did not seem to notice the native population. The Conservatives were, to my mind, lacking in the courage of their own convictions – if they had any.
    You have said that the British National Party are racist. This is just a statement on your part rather than an argument. They say, however, that they simply want to keep Britain British. My own view on this, as a Christian minister of the gospel, is that the Nazis were racist: they wanted to turn large chunks of Poland, for example, into lebensraum (living room) for the Third Reich. However, Gordon Brown wants to turn large parts of Britain into lebensraum for the Third World! I am compelled to ask you what is the difference? The British National Party are opposing, not promoting, this kind of thing; so I am a bit bemused as to what you mean by unwittingly comparing the BNP to both the Labour Party and the Nazis, whom the Labour Party – not the BNP – are emulating!!!
    Moreover in your theology you seem to be exultant about the idea of “togetherness” as though it will usher in, through the Church no less, a brave new world of unity, peace, amity and concord. Where can we can find any of this sort of plain naivety and utterly deluded utopianism in the Bible as to the potentiality of man? And as for the Church, haven’t you heard of the ‘Holy’ Inquisition? The Church’s record is not a good one. Doesn’t the Bible have a rather more realistic view of mankind – of all men, even Churchmen – especially in the mass or when corrupted by power? Moreover, if bringing everyone back together again in a lock-in society is the way forward, why did God choose to separate us into nations and countries in the first place – and it was His doing, not ours. You are not seriously suggesting, are you, that God is a closet reader of Abraham Kuyper, and others that you have mentioned, or that He is heading towards a Boer theology?
    Neither are we in the Christian Council of Britain.
    Christian Greetings, Revd RMB West
    Christian Council of Britain.

  3. As a former Conservative and Church of England member, now disgusted with both, I’ve noticed how often people who criticize the British National Party rely mostly on comparing them with some other group or ideology such as the Fascists or Nazis, and then spending most of the time pointing out their faults. We as readers or listeners are then supposed to transfer our distaste for what is elaborated on, to the BNP itself ; and overlook it’s actual policies, which most of us would probably agree with.
    Abraham Kuyper and his philosophy are new to me, but the same principle applies. As for Apartheid, I cannot imagine why it would be considered wrong for a small nation like the Boers to want to preserve their identity, and the right to govern themselves. Whether or not it was applied in a ‘racist’ way I can’t comment; not least since that terribly overused word seems to be applied to anyone & anything not actively hostile to the right of Whites to exist. As I understand what happened in South Africa, the ideal of providing both Blacks and Whites their own ‘place in the sun’ barely got off the ground because of economic boycotts from overseas aimed at forcing a black majority government, and communist-supported terrorism making the retention of central (and White) control an absolute necessity.
    As far as the BNP is concerned, it similarly stands for preserving the racial and cultural identity of the British people ( unarguably, in their own land) as well as returning to traditional values centred around patriotism, marriage & the family, strict law & order, discipline & high standards, and national independence; and, yes, “Christian values” as they were observed for hundreds of years in Britain before ‘liberation theology’ turned the church into a front for marxist revolutionary change. If these principles were applied in daily life, in education, the NHS, police & courts, in our dealings with the EU and so on, it would be a much better country to live in.
    “Redeeming, liberating and uniting …” sounds fine; but if it actually translates into my being required to agree to my nation disappearing forever into a melting pot with millions of Third World immigrants – to say nothing of a choice between the chaotic, corrupt, crime-ridden, permissive society being created by our present politicians, or some future Islamic state – then the BNP is not only a desirable alternative, but the only alternative.

  4. Let me respond to this latest comment by L Grey.
    i) I think you’ll find that nowhere have I taken the “Oh look, the BNP are just far-right, therefore evil Nazis. QED” approach. I’ve dealt with the actual text of the CCoB statement and shown how it is the same theology as the Apartheid and German Christian theologians.
    ii) In that light, I would like to see you actually interact with Apartheid theology, because often when people do so they begin to see the subtlety of what went wrong in South Africa. To be honest, it would have been an interesting experiment if the South African Government of the 40s and 50s had actually managed to implement proper, and equally resourced, “separate development” of all the communities in their nation. n reality, the whites received the vast majority of the nation’s resources, and this had absolutely nothing to do with embargoes and sanctions regimes (which only really came into force in the 70s).
    iii) None of the rest of your comment engages with the theological issue at hand – it’s simply a rant of protectionist politics. I’m glad you felt able to get it off your chest, but it doesn’t progress this specific conversation in the slightest.

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