Cameron: Britain a Christian country

Dec. 17, 2011 at 12:20 PM
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OXFORD, England, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Prime Minister David Cameron, at a service celebrating the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, described Britain as a Christian country.

Cameron, in an implied rebuke to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, also said Friday the Church of England needs "an agenda that speaks to the whole country," The Daily Telegraph reported. Williams has criticized government spending cuts, and Cameron said he has a right to say what he thinks but should expect a response.

The prime minister said Christian values like responsibility and compassion can be shared by members of all faiths. He criticized those who call for Britain to be a secular country.

"Those who oppose this usually make the case for secular neutrality," he said. "They argue that by saying we are a Christian country and standing up for Christian values we are somehow doing down other faiths. I think these arguments are profoundly wrong."

The Church of England is the official church with Queen Elizabeth II as its nominal head. But practicing Anglicans are now a minority.

"I am a committed -- but I have to say vaguely practicing -- Church of England Christian, who will stand up for the values and principles of my faith," Cameron said in his speech at Christ Church in Oxford.

Cameron called for a return to moral values in the wake of the real estate bubble and collapse and the recent riots that hit London and other major cities.

"One of the biggest lessons of the riots last summer is that we've got to stand up for our values if we are to confront the slow-motion moral collapse that has taken place in parts of our country these past few generations," the prime minister said.

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