Pro-marriage and pro-life Christians have been likened to violent terrorists by a group of secularists and atheists.
A manifesto calling for the establishment of an “international front against the religious-Right and for secularism” has been signed by homosexual-rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, the National Secular Society’s president Terry Sanderson and prominent atheist A C Grayling.
The Christian Institute has criticised the signatories for equating Christians with groups such as the Islamic State and Boko Haram.
Spokesman for the Institute Simon Calvert commented: “They’re hijacking genuine concern about murderous terrorists to slander evangelicals.
“Clearly, holding traditional views about sexual ethics and having a pro-life stance is not remotely equivalent to the threat caused by groups such as those currently ravaging the Middle East and North Africa.
“The UK is historically a Christian nation, and it would be extremely harmful to let go of that heritage in response to hyped up claims from atheists and secularists who are jumping on a bandwagon.
“People need to recognise where the real threats are coming from and stop picking on Christians.”
The manifesto lists the “Christian-Right in the US and Europe” alongside “Boko Haram in Nigeria” and “the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan” as examples where “secularism and citizenship rights” have been abandoned.
It calls for “complete separation of religion from the state”, “separation of religion from public policy”, and an “end to discrimination against and persecution of LGBT, religious minorities, women, freethinkers, ex-Muslims, and others”.
Peter Tatchell commented: “The launch of the Manifesto for Secularism is a challenge to the global rise of the Religious Right and its menacing values”.
“Even when religion has little or no formal political power, such as in the UK and US, the Religious Right has often sabotaged women’s reproductive rights and equality for LGBT people”, he added.
The Christian Institute has already warned that the Home Secretary’s recent proposals to crack down on ‘extremists’ could be misused against Christians who, for example, support traditional marriage or preach that salvation is through Christ alone.
Theresa May said she wants action to be taken against people who seek to “spread, incite, promote or justify hatred” against others on a number of grounds, including sexual orientation and transsexualism.