The Evangelical Alliance’s survey on British values found that 81% of evangelicals think ‘policies designed to counter extremism may make it harder for Christians to express their faith in public’.

The EA’s director of advocacy, Dr Dave Landrum, said, ‘There are concerns about the government’s overreacting to fears about radicalisation and terrorism in a way that might undermine the very freedoms that the government is purporting to protect.’

The home secretary, Theresa May, has said that the government’s strategy would incorporate new legislation likely to include powers to take action against individuals or groups who are considered to be espousing extremist views. She denied it would constitute an attack on freedom of speech.

According to the survey, the Christian faith has played a key role in providing values to British society throughout its history, but this legacy is swiftly eroding.

Ninety-three per cent of the 1,700 evangelicals surveyed agreed that Christianity had strongly shaped historic British values, but less than a third (31%) felt that it still shaped values today.