Christians are increasingly concerned about Government plans to crack down on “non-violent extremism” after an opinion poll found that more than a quarter of people said Jesus Christ was an “extremist”.

The poll carried out by ComRes for the Evangelical Alliance found that nearly half of those interviewed believed that it was extremism to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman only.

Dr David Landrum, director of advocacy for the Evangelical Alliance, which represents two million Evangelicals, said: “The language of extremism is a recipe for chaos and division.

“This poll shows the scale of moral confusion in our society with the public having no way of deciding whether something is extreme or not.

“It also shows the division that might ensue if the Government persists in trying to use extremism as a way of regulating peaceful ideas in society.

“Detached from terrorism and incitement to violence, extremism does not work as a litmus test for judging peaceful beliefs and opinions. Indeed, the Government has tried and failed over the last two years to define extremism with any precision and this poll shows that the public share that confusion.”

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