LONDON - The Church of England may dismiss clergy if they back political parties promoting the "sin of racism", its bishops agreed on Tuesday in an unprecedented move by the mother church of the world's 80 million Anglicans.

William Fittall, secretary general of the Church's General Synod, said they would be disciplined if they joined or sought support for the British National Party or National Front, whose views the Church considers incompatible with its teachings.

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It was the first time Church of England clergy have been banned from joining a political party.

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