Transmitted 23 January 2012. Posted 31 January 2012
On 16 December 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron gave a speech to mark the end of the 400th anniversary year for the King James Bible. In the speech, he gives three key reasons why "The King James Bible is as relevant today as at any point in its 400 year history" which are listed below quoting extracts from his speech.
- the King James Bible has bequeathed a body of language that permeates every aspect of our culture and heritage…
- just as our language and culture is steeped in the Bible, so too is our politics.
- we are a Christian country.
He developed each of the above points in his speech, and I have quoted below part of his discussion of the third point.
And that brings me to my third point.
The Bible has helped to shape the values which define our country. 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.
Yes, they are Christian values. And we should not be afraid to acknowledge that. But they are also values that speak to us all – to people of every faith and none. And I believe we should all stand up and defend them.
Those who oppose this usually make the case for secular neutrality. They argue that by saying we are a Christian country and standing up for Christian values we are somehow doing down other faiths.
I recommend reading the full text of the speech to put the above quotations into context.
The Islam Channel's "Politics and Media" programme is an hour long, and usually devoted to multiple topics. I appeared on the second half of the 23 January 2012 programme along with:
I had not met Jonathan Chaplin before but in preparation for the discussion I downloaded and skimmed his recent report "Multiculturalism: a Christian Retrieval". After the programme he gave me a hard copy which I have read and intend to review.
I recommend watching the discussion in full. I think my single most important point was that the values David Cameron listed above are also Jewish values and Muslim values just as much as they are Christian values.