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Yes but...

With the recognition that it is now only months until the next UK General Election, the various denominations and theological thinkers are giving guidance to churches on hosting hustings and who not to invite and why it is right so to do.  And intuitively I agree - the extremist parties are good at interpreting an invitation to be present as an endorsement of their views (bit like the rest of us really!) and it is important not to be naive.


Having lived in an area with an extremist local councillor at both district and county levels I began to see it wasn't so simple.  If these are your democratically elected representatives then 'don't touch' is not the most helpful response as it leaves you with no voice, no one to speak for you on issues that matter... it almost plays into exactly the extreme we want to avoid.  I was fortunate, the local structures where I was meant we had plural representation and there were other councillors I could have approached, but once it becomes MPs the same is not the case.

I know that BUGB and the C of E (and I am sure others) are quietly working at thinking creatively about what to do when it moves from hypothetical to real; about how to support churches in areas where extremist parties are in post.  I don't know what the answers are, I just know that as with most things the easy answers are usually the wrong answers.

As Baptist with our oh so proud claims of a history of defending freedom of conscience we have the challenge of recognising the freedom of others to stand for things we find abhorrent whilst seeking how to be a prophetic voice into that context.  Keep it hypothetical and it's easy; when it's on your doorstep and when it's real, well then the challenge really begins.

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