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The television version of Hilary Mantel’s novel Wolf Hall is the latest account to challenge St Thomas More’s reputation as a courageous defender of the rights of conscience. Was he, in truth, a liberal icon, a religious fanatic or something in between?
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Clergy in the Church of England have been banned from joining two extreme right-wing political parties, the British National Party (BNP) and the National Front (NF).
The House of Bishops voted last month to make membership of either party a potential disciplinary offence, declaring that it was unbecoming and inappropriate conduct.
“The constitution, polices, objectives, activities or public statements of the National Front and the British National Party are incompatible with the teaching of the Church of England in relation to the equality of persons or groups of different races,” the Church of England said in a statement today.
The formal declaration means that a complaint can be made against any cleric who is a member of, promotes or expresses support for the BNP or the NF. It will come into force on 11 July unless 25 members of the Church’s General Synod vote for it to be debated at its next meeting in July in York.