Wednesday, 9 June 2004

National Front protest

Updated Sunday 4 pm Today’s Observer had this In Brief squib:

‘Gay priest’ protest attacked

The National Front’s decision to organise a protest march against the appointment of a gay man as Dean of St Albans has come under fire from anti-fascist groups and gay rights organisations. Canon Jeffrey John, a gay but celibate priest, is due to become Dean on 2 July. The NF, which says up to 150 of its members will march on St Albans Cathedral in the next few days, says it is protesting at the ‘subversion’ of the church.

Updated Thursday 6 pm

The St Albans Observer website reports today that the far-right racist political party The National Front is going to stage a protest in St Albans. The National Front is a political movement based on the principle of Racial Nationalism.
Far-right to stage gay dean protest. Part of the story (which is not in the printed edition of the Observer, but rather in the sister paper the St Albans Review) reads:

FAR-RIGHT group the National Front is organising a protest march against the installation of a gay priest as Dean of St Albans.
Deputy chairman Bernard Franklin said the NF was aggrieved at the “subversion” of the Church of England and said up to 150 members would be taking action in protest at Canon Jeffrey John’s appointment.
Members will march to St Albans Abbey for the installation ceremony next month and distribute leaflets outside outlining their concerns at the “watering down of the Church’s message”.
He added: “As Christians we are concerned that the Church is failing as an institution.
“The pews are empty and what is preached now is more about being nice to each other than anything else. It’s meaningless in our view.
“We have nothing against Jeffrey John as a person and he is probably a nice enough bloke but the Church has been infiltrated and is being destroyed from within.”
The installation of Canon John takes place at 5pm on Friday, July 2. Hundreds of local dignitaries and clergymen will attend.
The Prime Minister’s secretary of appointments William Chapman will officially install Canon John as dean while the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Rev Christopher Herbert, will induct him as Rector of the Parish.
The National Front has not yet confirmed where and when the march will start.
Police said they were not aware of the NF’s plans but said members of the public had a right to peaceful protest, hinting that the march would not be prevented.
Chief Inspector Jeff Taylor said: “If such an event does take place, the police would be required to ensure the event passes peacefully. The police role is to protect public safety and prevent a breach of the peace.”

The St Albans Review also carries an editorial comment:

Opposition to the appointment of gay priest Canon Jeffrey John as Dean of St Albans has come mostly from the Church of England’s own evangelical wing.
But this week the Review has learnt that the National Front has added its voice to the chorus of disapproval, adding an unsavoury element to an already polluted story.
Up to 150 members of the extremist movement intend to march to St Albans Abbey on July 2, the day of Canon John’s installation, to make their opposition felt.
These are the bare facts. The nature of the National Front’s opposition is less clear-cut.
It claims to have nothing against Canon John on a personal level but professes to be concerned at the way the Church of England has been infiltrated - like most other public institutions - by a shadowy cabal hell-bent on the destruction of nation states in favour of their own commercial interests.
It wants to see the Church restored to its supposed former glory with more emphasis on what it sees as the true message of Christianity.
Essentially it believes political correctness has diluted what is preached to the point where no-one is permitted to question the notion of racial and sexual tolerance.
The problem is that any legitimate concerns the movement has about the concepts of free speech and democracy are largely undercut by the utterly racist and extremist ideology it espouses.
Dismissing the National Front as an offensive fringe movement is too easy. Highlighting the intrinsic inaccuracies of their spurious and intolerant message is the more favourable course of action.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 9 June 2004 at 4:34 PM GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: St Albans

Distressing news, but I can’t imagine anyone being surprised that the National Front and conservative evangelicals are bedfellows in this protest (ironic humor intended ;)

Posted by: David Huff at June 10, 2004 08:18 PM

So what of the Anti-National Front march against racism?

Posted by: Andy at July 4, 2004 04:47 PM