| Friday, 19 September 2008 Source: Diocese of Lichfield
The Bishop of Stafford has called on people of good will to stand up and speak out against the British National Party.
Speaking ahead of a national BNP rally being held in Stoke-on-Trent tomorrow (Saturday), the Rt Revd Gordon Mursell said: "The BNP are dangerous because they try to make us believe that all our problems are caused by foreigners. This is nonsense.
“The Potteries today face many challenges - we need more investment, better housing, and better public transport for a start. But these challenges have nothing to do with foreigners. They are caused by a lack of vision among our politicians who seem unable to work together for the good of the city and the region.
“The reason the BNP are dangerous is because they claim to be able to improve public services when their real agenda is to repatriate immigrants and encourage locals and incomers to hate one another.
“Christians in particular have a moral duty to oppose the BNP because the Bible explicitly commands us to love the stranger and reverence the alien. We need more outsiders, not less: more skilled workers, more nurses, more office cleaners, and above all more people who bring energy and vision and a willingness to work hard.
“Stoke City Football Club didn't get into the Premier League by hating foreigners. And if we want our city to be where it should be - in the premier league of British cities - we need to welcome everyone of goodwill and work together for the common good. The BNP are bad news."
The Bishop of Stafford has arranged for a church in the centre of Stoke to be open on Saturday morning for a prayer vigil for peace and reconciliation.
Saint Mark’s Church in Broad Street, Shelton, Stoke on Trent, ST1 3BQ, will be open from 8.30am to 11.15am for a silent prayer vigil with short times of led prayers at 9.00, 10.00, and 11.00am.
At other times people will be able to pray at various prayer stations, focussing on different aspects of peace in the city of Stoke and world.