25 June 2009

Going West

While leading members of the BNP are afforded the luxury of having themselves pelted with eggs, those lower down the ranks are only thought worthy of cheaper alternatives.

In the case of the BNP's Norwich North by-election candidate this was a jug of iced water expertly flung at pretend prelate the "Reverend" Robert West by an irate housewife in North Hykeham, Lincs, when West - sporting his trademark dog-collar - came calling on behalf of the racist party.

The incident happened in 2006, soon after West resigned from a Conservative Party about to expel him for speaking at BNP meetings and for his role in setting up the BNP's bogus "Christian Council of Britain".

The unnamed housewife later told the Lincolnshire Echo: "He was wearing a dog collar so I asked him whether he was a real reverend. He refused to enter into a debate about it. I had the jug of iced water because I was preparing for friends who were visiting that day. I refuse to apologise. I have no remorse. If he comes here again I will empty a whole jug over his head."

The matter of whether West is a "real reverend" or not has exercised quite a number of people for quite some time, not least those who take a closer interest in religious affairs than the "Rev." West finds comfortable.

In the past West has refused to discuss the validity of his orders - that is, who ordained him, into which church, when and where? Without valid orders, West has no more right to call himself "Reverend" or to pass himself off as a clergyman than you or I.

There have been unsourced reports that West was ordained as an "Elder" into something calling itself the Apostolic Church, but the only legitimate existing British church of that name denied all knowledge of him, telling a researcher for the Love @nd Rage website:
First of all may I confirm that The Apostolic Church does not support the views or the activities of the British National Party. The Church has no political association whatsoever.

On the second matter I am uncertain about who is the Mr Robert West mentioned in the article. One thing is certain: he does not speak on behalf of The Apostolic Church. If this person lives in Lincolnshire he does not attend The Apostolic Church. In fact as a denomination we have no churches in Lincolnshire.

I note that he is quoted as being ‘ordained as an elder’ within the Church. If this person has had any association with The Apostolic Church in the past the only means by which he can maintain either his membership or office is by attending one of our churches. If he were an active member of the Church his views would not be accepted by the Church and disciplinary action would be undertaken by the Church which strongly distances itself from views such as these.
West operates - if that is the word - the Grace Covenant Fellowship from his Holbeach home, the "Fellowship" strongly suspected, like the "Christian Council of Britain", of having a membership of one.

Following the European elections West appeared on BBC television's "The Big Question", in company of ex-Nazi and ex-National Front leader, Andrew Brons. At the beginning of the show West was explictly challenged by Ekklesia director Jonathan Bartley to say how many members the CCB had, and not for the first time shied away from answering. Bartley told West in no uncertain terms that it had one, namely himself, to which West could only grimace lamely.

Back in April, however, on the East Midlands version of The Politics Show, West produced what he claimed to be a diploma from the Apostolic Church Bible College, located in Pen-y-groes, south Wales. An Apostolic college certainly exists in Pen-y-groes, and is indeed run by the Apostolic Church, a Pentecostal Christian denomination founded in the early 20th century. Its title, however, is Apostolic Church School of Ministry (ACSOM), previously the Apostolic Church International Bible School.

What is immediately apparent from its website is that ACSOM and the church to which it is attached are multi-cultural, multi-racial, and inclusive. Its members do not wear dog-collars, nor do they use the title "Reverend". And the last thing they will preach about is the "sin" of race-mixing.

Little wonder, then, that the church is keen to distance itself from the claims of the "Reverend" West.

As Jonathan Bartley asks of the well-watered "cleric": "Will any church come forward to claim him? Or is this another example of BNP deception?"

Well, the voters of Norwich North and Norfolk journalists are going to have every opportunity to find out the answer to Jonathan's question when West and his cohorts of decidedly unsaintly BNP hatemongers descend upon the Fine City in the near future.

Don't forget to ask: who ordained Robert West? Into which church? When? Where? And let's see his written orders, please.

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