David Cameron says the UK is a Christian country

David Cameron David Cameron called himself a "committed" but "vaguely practising" Christian

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David Cameron has said the UK is a Christian country "and we should not be afraid to say so".

In a speech in Oxford on the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, the prime minister called for a revival of traditional Christian values to counter Britain's "moral collapse".

He said "live and let live" had too often become "do what you please".

The PM said it was wrong to suggest that standing up for Christianity was "somehow doing down other faiths".

Describing himself as a "committed" but only "vaguely practising" Christian, the PM admitted he was "full of doubts" about big theological issues.

'Don't do God'

But he staunchly defended the role of religion in politics and said the Bible in particular was crucial to British values.

How religious is the UK?

  • Christian: 72%
  • No religion: 16%
  • Muslim: 3%
  • Hindu: 1%
  • Figures from 2001 Census
  • In British Attitudes Survey in 2010, 43% were Christian and 51% no religion

"We are a Christian country and we should not be afraid to say so," he told the audience at Christ Church.

"Let me be clear: I am not in any way saying that to have another faith - or no faith - is somehow wrong.

"I know and fully respect that many people in this country do not have a religion.

"And I am also incredibly proud that Britain is home to many different faith communities, who do so much to make our country stronger.

"But what I am saying is that the Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today."

Mr Cameron said people often argued that "politicians shouldn't 'do God'" - a reference to a comment famously made by former No 10 spin doctor Alistair Campbell when Tony Blair was asked about his religion.

"If by that they mean we shouldn't try to claim a direct line to God for one particular political party, they could not be more right," the PM said.

"But we shouldn't let our caution about that stand in the way of recognising both what our faith communities bring to our country, and also just how incredibly important faith is to so many people in Britain."

Mr Cameron also said it was "easier for people to believe and practise other faiths when Britain has confidence in its Christian identity".

"Many people tell me it is much easier to be Jewish or Muslim here in Britain than it is in a secular country like France," he said.

"Why? Because the tolerance that Christianity demands of our society provides greater space for other religious faiths too.

"And because many of the values of a Christian country are shared by people of all faiths and indeed by people of no faith at all."


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  • Comment number 393.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 392.

    The basis of morality is truth, It must be, or it cannot be defined either objectively or subjectively. It therefore follows that faith, which has no truth value, cannot ever be the basis of morality or ethics.

    Taxes on land were first levied by the King at the suggestion of the Church to protect churches from pillage by the Danes 1020 years ago. That's the morality of Christianity in England.

  • rate this

    Comment number 391.

    40 years ago I was taught RE in a secondary school. It was the Christian faith we discussed. Though I cannot claim to be a Christian, much of what I was taught has been useful in my adult life. The value system of honesty, belief in right and wrong, of standing up for what you believe in and much more works today, as it did then. The only trouble is that RE isn't taught like that now. It's not PC.

  • rate this

    Comment number 390.

    Dear Mr Cameron, I am not a Christian, please don't label me so.

  • rate this

    Comment number 389.

    Christopher Hitchens may be gone but I am determined to carry his torch for rational thinking. Which came first morality or religion? We all cherry pick what we mean by 'Christian Values' because of our innate sense of morality. I have taught children from 3 years old who clearly understand what right and wrong is, unless they have been corrupted by adults.

  • rate this

    Comment number 388.

    If 51% of british people have no religion, then the UK is not a Cristian country, it's an atheist country, and the majority of us just want everyone to get along together ! Religion, the biggest single cause of war, and the biggest cause of death & misery in the world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 387.

    Unfortunately for Christians their blind faith became the enemy of natural reasoning. However I think we should still enjoy the historical traditions it created without feeling guilty. Its not a crime after all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 386.

    I am somewhat surprised to see Mr Cameron describing himself as a Christian. Although I would not describe myself as a Christian, I am a bit of a fan of Jesus, particularly the sermon on the mount, and when he drove the moneylenders out of the temple. I wonder what Jesus would have said about this Conservative government??

  • rate this

    Comment number 385.

    "Why? Because the tolerance that Christianity demands of our society provides greater space for other religious faiths too."

    Is that the tolerance towards homosexuality the bible preaches? or that section where God says "go ahead, worship other gods, I'm cool with that"

    As for complaints of non-christians opening presents on 25th. Christianity hijacked yule now commerce has hijacked christmas!

  • rate this

    Comment number 384.

    Another dumb line from a poor talking head.

  • rate this

    Comment number 383.

    26. Deputydave62
    "...Compared to how many will go shopping, how many will visit friends and family, how many will have a feast or party?"

    I think you will find many people will visit friends and family, taking a small gift (the purpose of that shopping).

  • rate this

    Comment number 382.

    Be realistic, if someone rocked up here as Augustus did, toured around and said that a "saviour" is born telling the fictional story of a character called Jesus would we believe him? When this nonsense was spread around, people were little above animal instinct and were terrorised into paricipation and once ingrained. generations were cowered, still today having this rubbish foisted upon us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 381.

    It is very odd to describe the UK as a Christian country. Perhaps a hundred years ago it might have been broadly correct, but only 1-2% seem to be active Christians these days. Is Cameron just doing the US-style adopt-a-faith in order to broaden his appeal?

    Steven Quas Collins

  • rate this

    Comment number 380.

    Who said the Christians keep nicking other religion's festivals? Just because the Norse midwinter festival of Yule involved going into the woods and dragging back a big Yule log to burn to celebrate the sun's return, and the spring festival of the Saxon goddess Eoster (pronounced Easter) whos symbols were the egg and the bunny

  • rate this

    Comment number 379.

    As most of our moral decline has been lead from the top of society, it will be nice to see him preaching to the city, to business and to politicians over the next few months. I actually suspect that this will become a bit more of the demonisation of the working class to whom we cannot give jobs. After all religion was just another arm of politics used to keep the plebs in line.

  • rate this

    Comment number 378.

    funny how he comes out with this after the man who could verbaly destroy him for it passed away

  • rate this

    Comment number 377.

    I don't even know what Christianity is. It is certainly not ornately adorned buildings, nor gold encrusted symbols. It is not a business, or our interpretation of words and deeds enacted 2000 years ago. It is perhaps a belief we can be better than we are, fairer, tolerant, more giving to others with little respect for material gain simply for one self. Actions speak louder than labels.

  • rate this

    Comment number 376.

    @346 Christmas, like the other "Christian" festivals was a pagan festival day, before Christian ideology hijacked it for its own use. The "true meaning of Christmas" , in historical terms, has nothing to do with the current religious superstitions, and morality existed long before the priests of ancient times made their grab for power and control over the masses,

  • rate this

    Comment number 375.

    I've just returned to the UK from 6 years in Malaysia, where the place is cursed by incompetent, corrupt, red-handed politicians bellowing "Ini negara Islam!" ("This is a Muslim country!") whenever they feel their place is threatened in what they believe to be the natural order. Dave's attempt to employ a Middle-Eastern religion for political gain is a shamefully backward step.

  • Comment number 374.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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