THE Bishop of Chester has described as 'nonsense' a newspaper article which claimed a report he was consulted on condones the use of force to protect religious freedoms.
The Sunday Telegraph article claims the report, Faith and Nation, presents the prospect of civil unrest or 'violent revolution' in the face of continuing curtailments on religious freedoms.
The 171-page independent commission's report to the Evangelical Alliance, which represents more than a million Christians, aims to use Christian understanding to address current social, political and cultural challenges.
A section of the report, named Christians and Civil Disobedience, assesses whether it is ever justifiable to resist the state.
It questions how to react when freedoms are impinged upon: 'Societies and governments may be corrupted by power and the desire for domination which, as history confirms, often results in coercion, sometimes with violence.
'Christians are commanded in scripture to resist forces of evil. So does this confer a mandate for civil disobedience? And if so, to what extent?' However, it also states that there is 'an honourable and influential history of Christian pacifism', and adds 'Christians have generally been supporters of the status quo.'
The report proclaims restrictions on religious liberty are of serious concern, especially in the face of Government proposals such as banning religious hatred and outlawing saying Grace in publicly funded institutions.
The Evangelical Alliance say the report has been misrepresented.
Don Roberts, head of public affairs said: 'This section of the document is written in an historical context and assesses how protest has happened through the ages.
'Quotes in the Sunday Telegraph have been taken out of this context and therefore misrepresent what the report says.' A spokesman for the Bishop of Chester said: 'Bishop Peter had a partial role as a consultant to the Evangelical Alliance's report, Faith and Nation, particularly with regard to the role of the established Church.
'Having read the full report, the Bishop regards the Sunday Telegraph's account of it as complete nonsense.'