POLITICS
16/12/2011 11:40 GMT | Updated 22/12/2011 14:39 GMT

David Cameron Urges Britons To Stand Up And Defend Christian Values

David Cameron has urged Britons to "not be afraid to say" they live in a Christian country.

In a speech to celebrate the 400th birthday of the King James Bible, he said the New Testament had helped give our country "a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today."

The prime minister said we should "actively stand up and defend" these Christian values.

"The Bible has helped to shape the values which define our country," he said.

"Indeed, as Margaret Thatcher once said, “we are a nation whose ideals are founded on the Bible.”

"Responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility, self-sacrifice, love, pride in working for the common good and honouring the social obligations we have to one another, to our families and our communities, these are the values we treasure," he told an audience of Church of England members at Christ Church Cathedral.

He said it was time to end "passive tolerance" in favour of "muscular liberalism", harking back to last summer's riots.

"One of the biggest lessons of the riots last Summer is that we’ve got 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."

Cameron said he was a "committed" Christian but denied the speech was a snub to those of other faiths.

He told audience members that having other faiths or no religion was not 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."

The prime minister has praised Christianity before in his Easter message. In April 2011, he said that the Bibles had "values which speak to us all."