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Church leaders condemn far-Right group’s ‘Christian’ march

Members of Britain First protesting outside London Central Mosque last year (AP)

Church leaders from across Britain have condemned a far-Right group for using Christianity as a pre-text for marching through a Muslim area of Luton.

Britain First recently held a “Christian Patrol” in the Bedfordshire town, with members claiming to defend “Christian values” while carrying crosses and handing out anti-Islam pamphlets.

The group, led by former British National Party councillor Paul Golding, declares its commitment to “the maintenance of British national sovereignty, independence and freedom” and for a return to “Christian culture”.

In an interview with Christian Today two years Golding said that Britain “is built on Christianity”, and that “Jesus Christ did use physical violence according to the Gospels in the temple in Jerusalem, and he met a very violent end. He preached love and forgiveness etc, but he also said he didn’t come to bring peace; he came to bring division and a sword, he came to bring fire upon the world to sort the world out.”

Representatives from 14 British churches told the Huffington Post that the group does not represent Christianity.

Fr Damian Howard SJ, speaking on behalf of the Catholic Church, said: “It’s extremely painful for any Christian when the name of Jesus Christ is hijacked to justify hatred and to spread fear and mistrust. It is actually a kind of blasphemy.”

He said he had “no hesitation in denouncing their [Britain First’s] crude and divisive tactics as totally contrary to the true spirit of Christian love.”

Fr Howard added: “Catholics and others will follow the spiritual leadership of Pope Francis who encourages us all to welcome the stranger and to set out on the path of dialogue with people of other religions”