Monday, 25 January 2010

Hackney Christians - money, power, demonic possession

The last two issues of Private Eye have noted high profile "squillionaires" backing the Dalston-based Christian Party. One is hedge fund manager Crispin Odey who paid himself £28m in 2008. He gave Reverend George Hargreaves' Christian Party £25,000.

The other is Sir Paul Judge - former Director General of the Conservative Party who now sits on the boards of several large companies - who has teamed up with the Christian Party to form the Popular Alliance

But pop producer turned politician Hargreaves, and his party, don't seem to be short of cash -

His Hackney-based operations seem to attract support: Between them, East London Christian Choir School and the Hephzibah Christian Centre on Beechwood Road showed £493,229 revenue in 2007 - the last time they were audited - (Accounts Hephizbah Christian Centre) - £310,000 of this was in donations received.

Back in 2004, the Daily Mail reported: "The song (So Macho) reached number two in 1985, sold over a million copies and still generates around £10,000 a month for the man who wrote it, the Rev George Hargreaves, a songwriter and promoter turned Christian."

Hargreaves' response to an atheist campaign of bus posters saying "There is no god" was a counter campaign of bus posters saying "There is a god" which couldn't have been cheap.

But does he have local support in Hackney? For example the Hackney and Walthamstow - based KICC - which apparently made £4.9m in 2008 and has a 12,000-strong congregation - Or Guardian version (2009) - Richer than St Pauls with headquarters in Waterden Road, Hackney. It's leader, Matthew Ashimolowo, seems to have supported another of Hargreaves' operations the CPA? (Christian People's Alliance).

And Hargreaves' views certainly set him apart from the majority of the borough's political figures who tend to be skeptical of religion - (Does your councillor believe in ghosts?)

A clash with Diane Abbott could be interesting. Her reaction to media hype about child exorcism and ritual murder was: Ban these witchcraft churches (not the original) she said: "Multiculturalism is one thing, but I draw the line at being asked to respect the views of people who believe in demonic possession." She said that "fringe churches", specifically African ones, were "a serious problem" in some London Boroughs - most notably Hackney.

I don't know how serious he was when he said it, but Hargreaves' seems to think the whole of Wales is cursed by Satan: According to the Western Mail, Hargreaves said: "Wales is the only country in history to have a red dragon on its national flag. This is the very symbol of the devil described in The Book of Revelation 12:3. This is nothing less than the sign of Satan, the devil, Lucifer that ancient serpent who deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. No other nation has had this red dragon as its ruling symbol. Wales has been under demonic oppression and under many curses because of this unwise choice."

The Christian Party has yet to reply to an email asking whether it has any plans to battle for the soul of Hackney.

Psychology professor interprets Hackney politicians...
  • Do Hackney politicians believe in ghosts?
  • Religious charity anomaly in Tower Hamlets
  • Most Hackney charities are religious
  • Is the supernatural significant?

  • The Christian Party was last mentioned in Blood and Property when its founder, Reverend George Hargreaves, was (unfairly) accused of vote harvesting in Nigeria - by what appeared to be a BNP blogger. Hackney Christian politician in BNP 'mistake'.

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