Blair beats Brown (and Merkel and Sarkozy) to Obama
It is difficult indeed to distinguish one messiah from another these days. They all orate well, emote liberally, and increasingly ‘do God’. And as Cranmer saw these pictures and heard the mellifluous tones of the Rt Hon Tony Blair, he was moved to nostalgic longings as he thought of the tediously dour and utterly depressing leader the Lord has seen fit to inflict upon us. Locusts and flies would have been more merciful.
The fact is that Tony Blair is a class act – a truly great performer. And he understands what it takes to succeed in the USA: few could have been so close to George Bush and then seque seamlessly into becoming the ‘first friend’ of his antithesis. Tony Blair has an undeniable charismatic presence on stage: his timing is perfect, his inflections and inner attitudes finely honed. He is a master self-publicist, baring his soul to an adoring audience – sufficient to entice them; never so much as to repel.
The Daily Mail has a summary of the parts of the speech not included by SKY (which, presumably, also does not do God). It is quite incredible to believe that he had been invited to Washington (or ‘just happened to be there’) before the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and given a
But to the matter.
Tony Blair’s message was awash with evangelical fervour, which Cranmer is delighted to subject to a fisking exposition:
"Restoring religious faith to its rightful place as a guide to our world and its future is of the essence."
What is ‘religious faith’ without doctrine? What is this central doctrine which will guide the world and its future? What is this ‘rightful place’? Did you know about this ‘rightful place’ when you were prime minister? Why is it ‘of the essence now’ but it manifestly was not between 1997-2007?
"In surrendering to God we become instruments of his love".
How much surrendering to God did you do in your decade in Downing Street? How many Christian foundations did you undermine? Did you surrender to God over abortion legislation? The Iraq war? Your assaults upon faith schools? The closure of Catholic adoption agencies? The iniquitous embryology and fertilisation legislation? Civil partnerships? Undermining marriage? The sexual orientation regulations?
You may insist that your ‘spiritual values’ were Christian, Mr Blair. But Christians of all hues observe a distinct diminution of the influence of Christian values during your term of office. And not only were they diminished, but on occasion overtly ignored and set aside.
So, Mr Blair, to which God did you surrender?
Was it the one who demands submission?
He also told the story of his ‘first spiritual awakening’ at the age of 10 ‘when his teacher knelt and prayed with him when his father had a stroke. He warned the teacher that his father was a committed atheist who didn't believe in God, only to be told "God believes in him".
A teacher prayed with you? Did he ask permission? Did he then have the right to risk offending? How can it be that the era in which you were a child, Mr Blair, that people felt free to pray with or for those in their charge, but a decade of New Labour mendacity has yielded a nation in which one may be threatened with dismissal merely for offering to pray for someone?
He finished his speech with the hope that politicians will ‘follow God's will’, and added ‘God bless you all’.
The problem you have (in case it was omitted from your Ladybird Book of World Religions) is that politicians manifestly believe in different gods and so a hope that they might all ‘follow God’s will’ is trite and naïve. Lord Ahmed is, after all, a politician, but appears a little unwilling to do the will of YHWH. Did not you make him a peer, Mr Blair? Were you guided by God when you did so?
But who is to discern the apparently mutually exclusive wills of Allah, Krishna or Waheguru, in any case? And what about the prophet, priest and king Jesus? Are there special enlightened politicians who might lead us into all truth – Mohammed, Buddha, Guru Nanak,Yoda?
If the solution to the world’s problems is that by following God’s will we shall find peace, why have you not hosted a prayer breakfast in Jerusalem over the past two years and invited Hamas and the Israeli government? And Osama bin Laden could have said grace. Cranmer is sure a full English breakfast would have done the trick, followed by a specially-written creed to embrace postmodern notions of relativity and obfuscational ambiguity. It could not be a breakfast for the poor and destitute, as the Lord might have wished, for they are not important enough to be politicians. You could simply invite the decision makers, give them a hearty breakfast, and tell them all to love each other.
That is sure to change their hearts.
Mr Blair would make a very fine archbishop.
But a much better pope.