Staunch atheist Richard Dawkins recently denied wanting to stop Christian traditions as he labeled himself a "cultural Christian."
"This is historically a Christian country. I'm a cultural Christian in the same way many of my friends call themselves cultural Jews or cultural Muslims," Oxford biologist Dawkins said on BBC's recent "Have Your Say" program.
Dawkins, who has expressed hopes of converting religious believers to atheism through his international bestseller The God Delusion, made the comments while fielding open questions on religion and debating with conservative MP Mark Pritchard.
Pritchard had called a parliamentary debate on "Christianophobia" last week at Westminster Hall. The debate was on "the relentless assault, mostly by stealth, on this nation's much-loved Christian heritage and traditions," Pritchard said.
"It is about how anti-Christian sentiment is increasing, not decreasing; why many Christians feel they are not getting a fair hearing when it comes to Christianity in the public square."
He also contended that many of Britain's Christian traditions, including Christmas, were being undermined by secular officials and public figures.
Debating Dawkins on the BBC program, Pritchard stated that there was an "increasing feeling of people from the Christian tradition that many of the main Christian festivals are being sidelined and marginalized, sometimes by stealth, sometimes openly."
He attributed such trends to the "politically-correct brigade, fundamentalists, atheists, and militant secularists."
Political correctness is particularly apparent during the Advent season when shoppers find it "increasingly difficult to buy greeting cards with references to Christ."
"Christ always has been and always will be at the very heart of Christmas. Taking Christ out of Christmas is like serving the Christmas turkey without the stuffing," Pritchard said.
Dawkins denied wanting to stop Christian traditions.
"I like singing carols along with everybody else. I'm not one of those who wants to purge our society of our Christian history," he said.
"If there's any threat these sorts of things, I think you will find it comes from rival religions and not from atheists," said Dawkins.
Dawkins has credited his exposure to Darwinism as the turning point from his Anglican upbringing to atheism. He is part of a new breed of outspoken atheists who are publicly rejecting the existence of God. Dawkins is also urging other atheists to come out of the closet and declare themselves publicly through his Out Campaign.
Christian Post reporter Nathan Black in Washington contributed to this report.