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Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Part of UK in Holy See

22nd December 2011

We are a Christian Country

2011 has seen a year of activity commemorating the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. This Bible, possibly the single most influential text in the English language, was a great achievement of its day. But it also had lasting impact. In a speech last weekend to mark the anniversary, Prime Minister David Cameron said that it remains “one of the country’s greatest achievements”, and goes on to explain why.

The Prime Minister also argued that the country’s identity, its past and its present, could not be dissociated from this religious backdrop. He explained how the values and morals that underpin British society, values that “we should actively stand up and defend”, also flow from the Bible. As such, he noted, “we are a Christian country”, not in an exclusive sense, but in a way that encompasses other faiths – and those of no faith – as well. And he argued that “it is easier for people to believe and practise other faiths when Britain has confidence in its Christian identity”.

As we approach Christmas, the Prime Minister’s message will resonate to all who believe that religion not only has a place in the public square, but is at the heart of it. As David Cameron noted, “Christianity, faith, religion, the church and the Bible are all inherently involved in politics because so many political questions are moral questions”. He encouraged religious leaders to engage in politics, and politicians to respond. At a time when, globally, the four biggest religions have never been more significant, the Prime Minister is right to remind us that we need to understand faith, even if we do not believe, as we go about our daily lives.

My very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year to all those who kindly read and engage with this blog, and who work with my small, but active, Embassy to the Holy See.

1 comment on “We are a Christian Country

  1. I wonder how the Prime Minister could be bold enough to say that Britain is a Christian country. Has he forgotten that he has signed the bill on unisex marriage. Doesn’t he know that Bible is against homosexuality? How could he be so hypocrite.

    He better change and accept Christ as his personal saviour, for the coming of Christ is at hand.

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About Nigel Baker

Nigel was British Ambassador to the Holy See from 2011-2016. He presented his Credentials to Pope Benedict XVI on 9 September 2011, after serving 8 years in Latin America, as…

Nigel was British Ambassador to the Holy See from 2011-2016. He presented his Credentials to Pope Benedict XVI on 9 September 2011, after serving 8 years in Latin America, as Deputy Head of Mission in the British Embassy in Havana, Cuba (2003-6) and then as British Ambassador in La Paz, Bolivia (2007-11). In July 2016, Nigel finished his posting, and is currently back in London.

As the first British Ambassador to the Holy See ever to have a blog, Nigel provided a regular window on what the Embassy and the Ambassador does. The blogs covered a wide range of issues, from Royal and Ministerial visits to Diplomacy and Faith, freedom of religion, human trafficking and climate change.

More on Nigel’s career

Nigel was based in London between 1998 and 2003. He spent two years on European Union issues (for the UK 1998 EU Presidency and on European Security and Defence questions), before crossing St James’s Park to work for three years as The Assistant Private Secretary to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. At St James’s Palace, Nigel worked on international issues, including the management of The Prince of Wales’s overseas visits and tours, on the Commonwealth, interfaith issues, the arts and international development.

Nigel spent much of the early part of his FCO career in Central Europe, after an initial stint as Desk Officer for the Maghreb countries in the Near East and North Africa department (1990-91). Between 1992 and 1996, Nigel served in the British embassies in Prague and Bratislava, the latter being created in 1993 after the peaceful division of Czechoslovakia into the separate Czech and Slovak Republics.

Nigel joined the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) in September 1989. Between 1996 and 1998 he took a two year academic sabbatical to research and write about themes in 18th century European history, being based in Verona but also researching in Cambridge, Paris and Naples. The research followed from Nigel’s time as a student at Cambridge (1985-88) where he read history and was awarded a First Class Honours degree, followed by his MA in 1992.

Before joining the Foreign Office, Nigel worked briefly for the Conservative Research Department in London at the time of the 1989 European election campaign.

Nigel married Alexandra (Sasha) in 1997. They have one son, Benjamin, born in Bolivia in September 2008.

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