The Christian Institute is right to urge its supporters to pray Theresa May will protect religious liberty in the UK, says Julian Mann.

With a crowd cheering the arrest of a Christian street preacher last week in Bristol city centre for causing a 'disturbance' while exhorting people to "obey God and keep His commands", who can honestly deny that Christian freedom is at grave risk in our country?

One can of course question the evangelistic wisdom of certain types of street preaching. But why jeer a preacher in a shopping precinct for saying something one disagrees with? Why not just walk on by?

Besides, what is wrong with exhorting people to obey God's commands in a shopping centre? In a free society, what is wrong even with publicly criticising divorce, homosexuality or Islam provided there is no incitement to hatred against individuals or to violence?

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It may have become tedious to say it, but would Bristol shoppers and the police have reacted in the same way to a Muslim street preacher who exhorted people to obey Allah and keep the commands of the Koran?

What is clear from the reaction of the crowd in the Bristol incident is that there is virtually no electoral advantage for any executive politician in safeguarding Christian freedom of expression. If an evangelical Christian were jailed for speaking publicly against politically correct precepts, such is the public indifference and even hostility to traditional Christianity that one must honestly question whether there would be any serious outcry.

Would the Churches by law established in Britain even raise more than a token objection?

In the current spiritual and moral climate, if Mrs May does act in any significant way to prevent the exclusion of the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ from the public square in our country, she would surely be doing it out of principle rather than for electoral reasons.

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