Saturday, 7 February 2009


Tony Blair has told America - and by extension the rest of us - that we need to rediscover religion:

Tony Blair gave an extraordinary speech about the global importance of religion yesterday, telling an audience which included the newly-inaugurated President, Barack Obama, that faith should be restored "to its rightful place, as the guide to our world and its future."

The former prime minister also said he believed the 21st century would be "poorer in spirit" and "meaner in ambition" if it was not "under the guardianship of faith in God." He had been invited by President Obama to lead the prestigious US National Prayer Breakfast, a spectacular event in the ballroom of the Washington Hilton Hotel.

Mr Blair also managed to rain on Gordon Brown's parade, meeting the President before any European leader. He dashed ahead of the Prime Minister and other political heavyweights, including Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and Vladimir Putin, to lay on the hands and tell the President: "It is fitting at this extraordinary moment in your country's history that we hear that call to action; and we pray that in acting we do God's work and follow God's will." (1)

But he is wrong, of course. Religion, with out the underlying values of humanism and compassion, is just a tool for dividing people and an excuse for suspicion and prejudice. Pretty much the whole history of the world is evidence of this. And if you have humanity and compassion, you don't need religion to reinforce it.

Also, Blair's sudden volubility on this topic raises some interesting questions. He didn't make it a big issue while he was Prime Minister, and certainly didn't demonstrate the values of compassion, honesty, integrity or humanity.

Did he find his faith on the steps of Nukber 10 as he left for the last time? Or did he just forget about it for a while, while it was more convenient for him to play the hard nosed realist? If so, he might be getting himself into a lot of trouble with his God, who isn't known for tolerating hypocrites and those who deny their faith.

He'd better hope he is wrong about this religion thing, and that there is no god. Fortunately for him, he has a tendency to be wrong about important things.
1 - "At last, Blair is free to 'do God' – and America loves it" by Leonard Doyle, published in The Independent, 6th of Febbruary, 2009. (

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