Following the recent court judgement against B&B owner Susanne Wilkinson for turning away a gay couple, the BNP’s Nick Griffin took to Twitter to publish part of the address of the couple, and suggest a ‘British justice team’ might like to cause ‘a bit of drama’ outside their home.
This action was met by outrage, Griffin’s Twitter account suspended, the police were involved to investigate, Labour MEPs formally reported Griffin to the European Parliament, and his full address shared on Facebook.
In response to this, Premier Radio conducted a telephone interview with Griffin to discuss the Tweets.
Rather unhelpfully this interview was picked up by Christian Today with the headline: Nick Griffin says he is prepared to go to jail for Christians and was reported thus:
British National Party leader Nick Griffin has told Premier Christian Radio that he is prepared to go to prison to protect the rights of Christians and heterosexuals.
Speaking on Premier, Mr Griffin said he was “always” prepared to go to jail.
“I don’t want to, but the fact is that we are in, now, a totalitarian society where the indigenous majority of Christians and heterosexuals are the oppressed majority and I’m prepared to go to prison to protect their rights,” he said.
Quite rightly this article caused some anger and Christians demanded an explanation from Premier Radio as to why they gave Griffin an unchallenged platform.
Lester Holloway blogged:
The neo-Nazi used his radio platform to declare that he would “be prepared to go to jail for Christians.” The interview was reported uncritically on Christian Today.
It was some of the most positive media coverage the BNP has received for some time. Regrettably some Christians have allowed their anti-gay beliefs to get in the way of judgement and logic. By appearing to make common cause with the Far Right leader the radio journalists have junked a century of experience of Fascism and its’ bloody consequences, all because they share Griffin’s views on homosexuality.
It’s worth noting that the anger directed at Premier Radio occurred as a result of the poor Christian Today article and before Premier had posted the interview online.
Premier themselves took to Twitter and said:
Like the vast majority of Christians we consider some of Griffin’s views deeply offensive, but like other media outlets in the interest of news coverage we’re occasionally prepared to ask him to explain his actions and comments. He was robustly questioned by one of our journalists, and we also spoke to a spokesperson from the Christian Institute (who are representing the B&B owners in question) who was very critical of Griffin’s comments.
I decided to wait for the interview to be posted online before making a judgement, and it is now available on this link, and as you can hear Griffin’s actions were challenged and condemned by Mike Judge of the Christian Institute.
Although I have warned over and again that the far right are attempting to co-opt Christianity, I am not a ‘no platform’ advocate as I feel these strategies need to be openly exposed and challenged by Christians.
Caution must be exercised however, as giving such folk an uncritical platform serves to legitimise their views, which is precisely what happened during the Revelation TV Debate between Nick Griffin and George Hargreaves back in 2010.
As a result of the Tweets made by Griffin, Cambridgeshire police decided not to press charges, his Twitter account was reinstated, and he gained 3500 extra followers.
On the up side, the vast majority of his followers loathe his views.
Anyway, here’s the link to the interview again and you can decide if Premier blundered and were exploited by Griffin, or if they were right to air the interview in the way they did.