Monday, November 26, 2007

Tony Blair: Politicians who ‘do God’ are 'nutters'

This is not the most eloquent of explanations of why British politicians do not ‘do God’, but it is not a wholly inaccurate assertion. Only now, liberated from the burdens of the Office of Prime Minister, is Tony Blair prepared to talk about his faith, which he reveals was ‘hugely important’ in formulating policy and making decisions during his decade at Number 10.

He is perhaps right to observe that Britain regards religion with suspicion, provided, of course, that that religion is not Islam, for which there appears to be tacit respect among MPs, and its adherents in Westminster are afforded considerably more latitude than Christians. But the extent to which Christian MPs refuse to talk about their faith because it is ‘personal’ is permitting a very public and potentially destabilising fusion of secularism and Islam to fill the vacuum. Their silence is contributing to the growing perception that the Church is irrelevant, and their apparent shame is undermining the nation’s Christian foundations as the faith is marginalised. The Mosque of England is supplanting the Church of England, and no-one in public life dare challenge this for fear of being accused of ‘racism’.

If Mr Blair ’takes a Bible with him wherever he goes and habitually reads it last thing at night’, why should that be an embarrassment? At least he leaves his Penguin edition of the Qur’an on the shelf. Yet the Archbishop of Canterbury once again remains silent, and it is left to the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev John Sentamu, to affirm Cranmer’s theses that those ‘who would dismiss faith as nothing more than a private affair are profoundly mistaken in their understanding of faith’. And the Bishop of Rochester, the Most Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, said: “A Christian vision underlies all that is important about Britain: its laws, institutions and values. If Blair had been able to relate this vision to his policies, we would have had more constructive social policy at home and principled policies abroad."

Cranmer rather doubts that.

It transpires that Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor advised Mr Blair not to reveal his intention to convert to Roman Catholicism during his last visit to the Pope. The whole story may be read in The Telegraph, and Cranmer is becoming increasingly bored with it. If Mr Blair is still considering crossing the Tiber, His Grace wishes he would just get on with it, and go. The wonder is that Rome is prepared to receive him, since he will have to acknowledge publicly the authority of the Church’s teaching and, presumably, repent of much of the vehemently anti-Christian legislation he introduced when he was in power. The man is a hypocrite and a fraud, and the Church of England will be purged by his leaving. In truth, it was ‘doing God’ that would have rendered him a nutter, for he was born one.

And now that he is a Middle East messiah peace envoy, and he will be hard pressed to resolve anything in that region if he insists on separating politics from religion.

There is no true religion that does not speak of politics: they are fused. It is only in one’s personal devotion, when one kneels in submission to the Lord, when one seeks his holy face in humility and with a soul thirsty for righteousness, that all earthly matters melt away, and terrestrial politics is revealed for the fraud that it is.

And there are, thankfully, some politicians who are prepared to talk openly of their faith, whatever the consequences. Frank Field, Ann Widdecombe, and David Burrowes come to mind. And if Mr Blair wishes to avoid talking about his Lord for fear of what other may say, he might just consider:

‘Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord… but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God’ (2Tim 1:8).

‘But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven’ (Mt 10:33).

‘For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels’ (Mk 8:38).

Not even conversion to Rome can halt the judgement of God


Blogger prziloczek said...

Nice article!
I agree with everything in it - which is embarrassing because I therefore have nothing to add.
Islam does frighten me quite a lot: it is so un-English with all its pharisaical display of religiousclothing, greetings in the street, praying in public and fasting even up to paying tithes on all they possess.
Also it stultifies the mind and is horrible to women.
I loathe polygamy too. It makes every child come from a broken home.

26 November 2007 at 07:53  
Anonymous mickey said...

As brand 'Blair' now seems to be on trajectory for the Presidency of Europe it must tread warily around the issue of religious persuasion. 'All things to all people' would be a worthy mantra for the brand, but where can such a creed be found our man wonders?

And what of the most intriguing challenge our putative president currently faces?

'Well, y'know, it's like, well, the Palestinians would bring a big contribution to Europe and, y'know, it's kinda our responsibility to sort it out, isn't it, like, y'now. So just trust me on this, yeh?'

26 November 2007 at 08:53  
Anonymous m burgess said...

Your Grace;
The Telegraph article you refer to ends: “More recently he has developed a friendship with Prof Hans Kung, the respected theologian.” I would like to know by whom. In 1979, Kung was stripped of his license to teach as a Roman Catholic theologian, for the simple reason that he was not teaching Roman Catholic theology but some indifferentism of his own. He has tried to portray this as a kind of martyrdom, although he retained his teaching post at the University of Tübingen.
Your Grace might be more sympathetic to him than I; in his work The Catholic Church: A Short History (2002) he wrote: “I affirm the papacy for the Catholic Church, but at the same time indefatigably call for a radical reform of it in accordance with the criterion of the gospel.”

26 November 2007 at 11:14  
Blogger AethelBald, King of Wessex said...

Your Grace appears, in this post, to be conflating the diminishing influence of the CE with the rise in profile of Islam, post 9/11. But the CE had been on a century long decline long before Islam became an issue and currently looks like it's about to produce another raft of Cardinal Newmans for reasons that have little or nothing to do with Islam.

In my opinion, there is a good case for thinking that the CE is currently irrelevant, along with its genteel fellow travellers like Methodists (who are big in Wessex, of course). I would attempt to explain this by pointing to the gulf between the old testament's moral teaching and the teaching of Christ. Any educated person can detect this and church seniors like the Archbishop of Canterbury would rather remain silent than draw the contrast to our attention.

The Bible has been deconstructed and found wanting.

26 November 2007 at 11:20  
Blogger botogol said...

I think Blair is shocking (as ever). He's saying to all the world 'Yes, I have been religious all along, but have been too.... what? ashamed?embarassed?cunning? to reveal it.

Why he thinks this timorousness will earn our respect or approbation now, I cannot understand, and I note with a some amusement that the Catholics don't - in fact - seem that overjoyed for him to join them :-)

26 November 2007 at 11:29  
Anonymous the recusant said...

I have not noticed any great rejoicing by my co-religionists in Mr Blair's imminent shuffle to Rome, I suspect for the reasons you give (and a few more), but one can only assume for every purpose there is a season and this must be his.

Apart from the obvious utilitarian reasons, (joining his wife and children), on his track record his wish to accept the authority of the Pope is a puzzle. As a church we welcome anyone from the highest to the lowest in equality before Christ, and in the end all any of us can do is pray the prayer of the good thief in this Sundays Gospel 'Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom', even Mr Blair.

Talking of the ABC, you must be thrilled at Rowan Mohammad Williams tacit support of Dar al-Dawa in his recent foray into foreign affairs on behalf of the caliphate, and who is the target for his invective, Brazilian prisons and the gang rape of young girls, African dictators perpetrating, corruption and Murder, aid for far eastern climactic disasters, no the Americans and Iraq with a side swipe at the Jews, Oh how original.

Just off to sell a few more shares in Caterpillar, that'll teach them!

26 November 2007 at 12:10  
Anonymous Giles said...

Perhaps the Archbishop of Canterbury will find space in his prayers for this British school teacher, arrested in Sudan for allowing her pupils to name a teddy bear "Muhammad".

Perhaps someone could effect an arrest of the owner of Harrods on the same basis, and have him extradited to Sudan.

26 November 2007 at 13:19  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

The Mosque of England is supplanting the Church of England, and no-one in public life dare challenge this for fear of being accused of ‘racism’.

His Grace is respectfully reminded that racism and Christianity led to the central evil of human history: the Holocaust(TM). It is all to the good, therefore, that Christianity lose power in the UK. Just ask Dame Julia Neuberger or Dr Lancaster.

The man is a hypocrite and a fraud, and the Church of England will be purged by his leaving. In truth, it was ‘doing God’ that would have rendered him a nutter, for he was born one.

Has a 'not' gone astray there? Bliar is living proof of what C.S. Lewis wrote in Screwtape Proposes a Toast:

"All said and done, my friends, it will be an ill day for us if what most humans mean by 'religion' ever vanishes from the Earth. It can still send us the truly delicious sins. The fine flower of unholiness can grow only in the close neighbourhood of the Holy. Nowhere do we tempt so sucessfully as on the very steps of the altar."

Brown is more proof:

Battered Brown finds solace in a cause close to his heart

Beset by unhelpful polls, mutinous defence chiefs and outrage over the loss of 25m child benefit records, Gordon Brown was able yesterday to seek solace in Uganda, in one of the great noble causes of his political career: child illiteracy and poverty in Africa.,,2216368,00.html

26 November 2007 at 19:10  
Anonymous mickey said...

Mr Nedsherry,

Your use of the (TM) suffix drew my attention to the word 'holocaust' and reminded me of its presence in a short story by Kipling - The Gardener (it can be found by Googling those last three words). The extract follows:

"... At the end of August he was on the edge of joining the first holocaust of public-school boys who threw themselves into the Line;.."

It is a moving and allegorical tale which I feel sure that you will certainly find rewarding (or maybe you already know it well?).

26 November 2007 at 20:11  
Anonymous Waiting and hoping said...

Your Grace,

Do you preach with such clarity and conviction in your own church or only from the anonymity of your pseudonym here? I'm not asking in any spirit of criticism, only in the hope that the clarion call of true Christianity is being proclaimed from at least one other pulpit than this one. Your blog is a bright beacon set on a hill high above the mists of vague mediocrity, woolly thinking, and political correctness/idiocy. Waiting or hoping for the Archbishop of Cant(erbury) to provide such a lead is clearly a long lost cause.

27 November 2007 at 12:38  
Blogger C4' said...

As you rightly commented Your Grace some months ago, Adolf Blair is a spiritual fraud

27 November 2007 at 12:55  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

@Mickey -- I'm sorry to say I don't know the story, or don't remember it. If Kipling rather than Marx were the UK's current guiding-light, we would be much better off.

27 November 2007 at 15:39  
Anonymous Simon Icke said...

You cannot separate politics from your beliefs just like you cannot sort your unbelief from politics. Militant arrogant atheistic/secular liberals make no apology for their continued influence on Government or our society (which is such a terrible mess) neither does the Guardian or the so called Independent be slow or shy in reporting their frequent atheistic/secular militant liberal views; taking every opportunity to ridicule Christian beliefs and moral values.

So why should Christians or Catholics who are in politics be shy in expressing their beliefs? Just because it's not in vogue? The brave man or woman of faith needs to be bold and stand and be counted and not be bullied by the trendy secular liberals. But sadly, despite Blair's claim to the Christian faith, he didn't do that in his time as PM.

Instead his Government was led for ten years by the trendy secular liberals and he didn't have the guts to stand and be counted. against them.… The fact he didn't allow one free vote on our outdated liberal abortion laws is proof of that. Not to mention his appeasement of the militant gay lobby, even if it meant riding roughshod over the people of faith's beliefs and values to appease them. Nor did he introduce any policies to support the traditional family during his time of office.

It's sad that Tony Blair has taken so long to nail his colours to the mast. Let's hope he finds more courage to speak in public about what he truly believes when he becomes a Roman Catholic. Also let's hope he will be more sincere as a Catholic than he was as PM. But somehow I doubt it!

2 December 2007 at 14:25  

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