A second evangelical pastor with a long-term Londonderry association also urged his congregation to vote ‘Leave’ in the run up to today’s European Union referendum, polling for which has just closed, the Sentinel has learned.
In a sermon on Sunday, June 19, Rev. Jonathan Campbell of Newbuildings Independent Methodist Church, asked members of his congregation to vote Brexit due to what he described as the European Union’s ‘Romanist’ leanings.
“There are financial reasons, political reasons, legal reasons, cultural reasons, many other reasons why we should leave the EU,” he said.
“But I am not going to speak about those today because this is not a political speech. This is a Church and I’m going to speak today about the spiritual reasons why we should leave the European Union.”
He said there were several reasons the EU should cause alarm to “Bible believing Christians.”
“The first one is Romanism: the Roman Catholic element of the European Union,” he said.
“Now, let me make it clear, and I’ve said this many times before, we love Roman Catholic people, but it’s the system that our argument is with.
“Out problem is with Romanism and the European Union certainly has a major element of Romanism running through it.”
Elaborating, he referred to the origins of the EU flag, which was designed by the devout Catholic Strasbourgeois artist Arsène Heitz.
“If you think about the European flag, the flag of the European Union, it’s got the 12 stars, the 12 yellow stars/golden stars on the blue background. “Do you know that those 12 stars are for Mary?
“You see, we read in Revelation: 12: 1: ‘And there appeared a great wonder in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.
“On December 8, 1955, on the Catholic feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the European ministers/delegates officially adopted the European flag: 12 stars on a blue background designed by a man by the name of Arsène Heitz.
“He’s a devotee of the Virgin Mary. He never missed praying the daily rosary.”
Rev. Campbell argued the flag of the EU symbolised the general ‘Romanism’ of the union.
“It’s based on the 12 stars of ‘mariolatry’ or the worship of Mary.
“There is actually a statue in Strasbourg where the European Parliament is. In the Cathedral there is a statue to the Virgin Mary and guess what’s around her head, 12 stars.
“I don’t think it’s coincidence.”
Mr Heitz, did in fact, acknowledge the flag’s Catholic inspiration in an interview with ‘Lourdes’ magazine, many years after designing it.
Rev. Campbell was expressing a suspicion of the European Union long felt among some evangelical Protestants towards the devout Catholicism of some of the leading figures behind the project such as Konrad Adenauer, Jacques Delors and Robert Schuman.
Former Waterside pastor Rev Ian Brown, had also advocated Brexit from the European Union on scriptural grounds saying that the powers-that-be in Brussels and Strasbourg were intent on establishing a world government with Babylon and the Holy Roman Empire as models.
Rev Brown, who for years pastored Londonderry’s Free Presbyterian congregation, in a sermon on Sunday, June 19, entitled ‘Reasons to Vote for Brexit and against Babel Mark 2,’ said the European elite had blatantly signalled their intent by placing a symbolic statue of Europa riding a bull, outside its institutions on the continue.
He said that by using the Greek legend of the abduction and rape of Europa by Zeus as one of the European Union’s most prominent symbols - there are statues in Brussels and Strasbourg - the bureaucrats at the top of the EU were clearly signalling their intent.
By contrast, the Catholic Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown also weighed in on the Brexit debate saying the reintroduction of border controls would be disruptive socially and economically and has urged Christians to have their say on “Northern Ireland’s place in Europe...with the effects likely to be felt for generations to come”.
In a joint statement issued with the Archbishop of Armagh and Londonderry native Eamon Martin and other northern Bishops he said voters were charged with making a decision with “far-reaching political, economic and cultural implications for the island of Ireland, for these islands, and for the whole of the European Union.”
Whilst largely positive in their appraisal of the European Union, Bishop McKeown and his colleagues, did warn that the supranational institution has strayed from the Christian Democratic vision of Robert Schuman and others.