A Bishop has warned a would-be councillor he cannot serve as a lay pastoral assistant if he continues to stand for a far-right political party.
Reverend Karen Gorham, the Bishop of Sherborne, said Britain First candidate Ken Kearsey’s beliefs are ‘incompatible’ with church service. Mr Kearsey is campaigning in the Littlemoor and Preston division of Weymouth for the new Dorset Council.
On promotional leaflets, he describes himself as a ‘committed Christian, vegan and active animals rights campaigner’ and says Britain First aims to ‘halt immigration, deport illegals, defend free speech, end halal slaughter [and] oppose Islamisation’.
Mr Kearsey was recently commissioned as a lay pastoral assistant. However, Mrs Gorham has since written to him explaining this will be withdrawn if he continues as a member of Britain First.
Mr Kearsey was due to complete his vows on Palm Sunday.
The bishop said:
“I am relieved that this has come to light beforehand and the incompatibility of beliefs acknowledged.
“At a time when we are seeking mutual respect, tolerance and love among people of different faiths to counter hatred, particularly in light of what has happened in New Zealand, you will hopefully understand why I need to write this letter.”
The diocese said in a statement: “[Britain First] has been criticised by every major Christian denomination in the UK, as is their so-called claim to be defenders of Christian values, demonstrated by a hatred of Islam.
“We in the Diocese of Salisbury want to make it absolutely clear that the established and local church wants nothing to do with anything which incites hatred and spreads fear and mistrust.”
A new community group, Stand Up to Racism, has been established in Weymouth in response to Mr Kearsey’s council bid.
Written By: Alex Winter
First Published 25.03.19: https://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/17524292.churchs-warning-to-christian-over-his-bid-to-stand-for-britain-first/