Two prominent opinion formers in British religion have joined in a campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, comparing it to a new Reformation.
Adrian Hilton, who is from the conservative end of the spectrum and writes the influential Archbishop Cranmer blog, has allied himself with Giles Fraser, priest-in-charge at St Mary's Newington in south London.
Fraser is also regarded as among the most influential of contemporary commentators but is on the left, and in the tradition of Labour giants such as Tony Benn. His Brexit stance comes from his concerns about the erosion of British sovereignty.
Christians for Britain is already active on Twitter:
Others have said it, but when your best friend tells you, don't you pause, listen, acknowledge truth and apologise? pic.twitter.com/7K7bGKXOc7— Christians4Britain (@Xtians4Britain) February 24, 2016
The group even has its own "creed", advocating a Europe based on the fundamental values of Christianity with diverse nations "freely associating in pursuit of the spiritual, political and moral common good."
Fraser, who will be appearing on Question Time tomorrow night to debate the issue, told Christian Today: "There has historically been a long tradition of left-wing 'outers' epitomised by Tony Benn. It is a shame the tradition of left-wing Euro-scepticism has shrunk."
Fraser said his reasons had nothing to do with economics or migration.
"I want us to welcome more refugees. For me, it is specifically about representation and democracy." As an example of how Europe is lacking in these areas, he questioned how many people could name their MEP.
"The Reformation was a Brexit. We did not want to be ruled theologically from Rome. And I do not want to be ruled politically from Brussells."
Hilton told Christian Today that he recognised Church hierarchies were generally in favour of staying in and even the Holy See has indicated it would prefer a Europe with Britain in. But he argued that too many laws were being introduced by Europe which affected British people but they had no say in. "They are not subject to any kind of democratic accountability," he said, adding: "I just happen to believe that the nation state is the best way to order the world."
Hilton said an example of how unjust the current system can be came last year when Greece had austerity effectively imposed on it by Europe. "It does not suit all nation states," he said. "It causes immense suffering."
On the website, Hilton and Fraser say: "Almost all the church leaderships advocate 'Remain', and many bishops certainly do. It falls to laity and other clergy to persuade people of the value and virtue of being a BeLeaver."
They add: "We are told there are huge risks in leaving: in fact, the risks of remaining are much greater."