The Dean of Manchester Cathedral has condemned the British National Party after the extremists picketed a service at Manchester Cathedral on Sunday.
Members of the far right wing group - whose followers have been branded 'Nazi thugs' by political leaders - gathered outside the cathedral on Sunday with loudhailers, playing tunes like 'Rule Britannia' and handing out leaflets that said: 'Judas Archbishops Betray Ordinary People', in response to Church of England warnings that the party is divisive in the run-up to the European Parliament elections.
Shocked worshippers were met by the protesters as they filed out of the church, forcing the Dean of the Cathedral, the Very Revd Rogers Govender, to come out and confront them.
The BNP leaflet described the bishops as 'cowardly yes men, functionaries and time servers'. The leaflet quotes from the bible, adding 'archbishops may betray us, but God will not', and calls for a BNP 'day of prayer'.
Speaking afterwards Dean Govender, said; "Manchester Cathedral is a place of tolerance with an inclusive Christian community. It seems odd that the BNP, feeling threatened by these values, decided to picket an act of Christian worship with loudspeakers and offensive leaflets.
"We are proud to be part of the Hope Not Hate campaign; we reject the teachings of the BNP and believe Jesus would reject the BNP as well. We hope this incident will remind good people what little respect the BNP has for Greater Manchester and its communities."
A spokesman for anti-fascist campaigners Searchlight said: "This shows the sheer desperation gripping Nick Griffin's campaign. He clearly sees his hopes of a European seat slipping through his fingers. What kind of person would subject churchgoers attending a peaceful Sunday service this diatribe of prejudice and hate".
Manchester Evening News