British Prime Minister David Cameron said in a recent speech that England must embrace its Christian roots and maintain moral practices in politics and finance.
“We are a Christian country and we should not be afraid to say so,” he said at Christ Church in Oxford on Friday, Dec. 16.
Cameron was delivering a speech on the 400-year anniversary of the King James Bible, a fundamental part of British culture which he says “is a book that has not just shaped our country, but shaped the world.”
“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,” Cameron told those in attendance.
Cameron made the speech in light of the country’s summer riots, during which protesters robbed members of the public and businesses and destroyed public and private property in a fit of violence.
In August, Cameron blamed the riots on a lack of proper ethics and morals.
Cameron also blames the country’s current financial crisis on a lack of morals, saying that he believes politics and religion are inherently entwined.
“To me, Christianity, faith, religion, the church and the Bible are all inherently involved in politics because so many political questions are moral questions. I don’t think we should be shy or frightened of this,” Cameron said.
“Moral neutrality or passive tolerance just isn’t going to cut it anymore,” the PM added.
Cameron insisted that although he considers himself a “vaguely practicing” Christian, he is a leader “who will stand up for the values and principles of faith.”
Britain is a highly diverse nation, with a large Muslim population of 2.8 million, according to the Daily Mail.
As Cameron told attendees at the Christ Church, he believes that a Christian nation proves more welcoming to all religions than a secular nation, such as France.
“The tolerance that Christianity demands of our society provides greater space for other religious faiths too,” Cameron said. “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.”
In attendance during Cameron’s speech was the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who has been a steady critic of Cameron’s political policies.
In January, Williams wrote in the New Statesman that “with remarkable speed, we are being committed to radical, long-term policies for which no one voted.”
In his speech at Christ Church, Cameron addressed Archbishop Williams, saying, “I certainly don’t object to the Archbishop of Canterbury expressing his views on politics. Religion has a moral basis and if he doesn’t agree with something he’s right to say so.”
“But just as it is legitimate for religious leaders to make political comments, he shouldn’t be surprised when I respond,” Cameron added, saying that now is a pivotal time for England's religious and political leaders to exhibit a system of checks and balances.
“[The Church of England] must keep on the agenda that speaks to the whole country,” Cameron said.