Britain First has been denounced by every major Christian denomination in the UK, The Huffington Post UK can reveal today, a week after the far-right group held a so-called 'Christian patrol' targeting Muslims in Luton.
Representatives of 14 churches and Christian groups have variously described the political party as "extremist", "self-serving" and "blasphemous" and condemned its actions as "hi-jacking the name of Jesus Christ to justify hatred and spread fear".
Britain First Paul Golding, 34, and Deputy leader, Jayda Fransen, 29
In an interview in 2014, he said: "This is a Christian country, whether it's our legal system, our system of government, all our historical figures, Churchill, Nelson, Cromwell, Elizabeth... all of them are Christian. This country is built on Christianity, and we do take it very seriously.
"People think of Jesus as some tree-hugging, sandal-wearing liberal, which is not the case.
"[In the Bible] Jesus Christ uses physical violence at times, like in the temple in Jerusalem, when he physically attacked people who were trading in the temple grounds, and it says in the Bible he came to bring a sword, not to bring peace."
Paul Golding in 2014
Unfortunately for Golding, none of the organisations approached by The Huffington Post UK, which represent the overwhelming majority of the country's 33.2 million Christians, agree. Their comments are listed in full below.
Groups ranging from the Church of England to the Evangelical Alliance have distanced themselves from the far-right political party.
A spokesman for the Evangelical Alliance said: "Let's get this straight. Britain First do not speak for Christians. Their message of hate is entirely at odds with the Christian faith."
The universal condemnation - unprecedented against a political party in recent times - comes after a controversial march staged by Britain First in Luton last weekend.
The so-called "Christian Patrol" saw the group march through what they labelled an "Islamist hotspot", handing out leaflets and arguing with local Muslims.
In a heavily-edited video released on its Facebook page, deputy leader, Jayda Fransen, can be heard shouting: "Britain is our country, not your country, it's a Christian country."
The patrol, which consisted of around 15 Britain First members, was widely condemned. Tell Mama, a project which records anti-Muslim crimes, said it was carried out in an "intimidating" fashion aimed at "inflaming" tensions.
On Saturday, the group are carrying out another march in Dewsbury.
In its 'Statement of Principles" Britain First claim to be "committed to maintaining and strengthening Christianity as the foundation of our society and culture".
But these comments from the Christian groups now clearly undermine much of the ethos driving the far right party.
As well as the Churches, a number of prominent Christian organisations, including CARE and the Fellowship of Reconciliation, also condemned Britain First.
Christian Groups Condemn Britain First
Since its formation in 2011 by former BNP member, Jim Dowson, the group has become a dominant force in social media, attracting nearly 1,300,000 Facebook likes fans and even broadcasting its own news bulletins.
Golding took over leadership in 2014 after Dawson left in protest over the group's mosque invasions.
It has been embroiled in a number of controversies, including repeatedly exploiting the image of murdered soldier Lee Rigby against his family's wishes.
Most recently the group has used the European migrant crisis and the spread of the so-called Islamic State to launch attacks on refugees and Muslims as well as calling for a ban on Islam in the UK.
This decision was taken at a 'national conference' held in the wake of the Paris terror attacks where they also voted to make it an act of "treason" to implement any policy that led to significant "numbers of foreigners entering the country"; withdraw from the United Nations; ban the media from using the word "racism", and abolish the BBC.
Golding has announced he intends to stand in the London Mayoral elections and claimed they would hang their adversaries
A selection of their statement of principles include...
3. Britain First is committed to preserving our ancestral ethnic and cultural heritage, traditions, customs and values. We oppose the colonisation of our homeland through immigration and support the maintenance of the indigenous British people as the demographic majority within our own homeland. Britain First is committed to maintaining and strengthening Christianity as the foundation of our society and culture.
5. Britain First stands opposed to all alien and destructive political or religious doctrines, including Marxism, Liberalism, Fascism, National Socialism, Political Correctness, Euro Federalism and Islam. Britain First is a movement of British nationalism, patriotism and democracy.
A selection of their policies include...
– We will implement a “back to basics” scheme in education focusing on discipline and traditional teaching methods (e.g maths, English and technical skills)
– The reintroduction of grammar schools;
– The reintroduction of competitive sports and Christian assemblies;
– Introduce a “Democracy & Freedom Bill” that makes it a criminal offence (that carries a prison sentence) to refuse services to constituted political parties and their office holders.
– Introduce a total ban on the word “racism” in the media. The word “racism” has for too long been a weapon to undermine debate and to suppress discussion on important matters of nationhood, immigration and political correctness.
– Scrap the entire “foreign aid” budget;
– Scrap all expenditure relating to immigration, such as translation costs, benefits etc;
– Halt all further payments to the European Union;
Britain First has been contacted for comment but has so far failed to respond.