Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Times: Tony Blair didn’t do God in Downing Street. Now he’s making up for lost time

[...] He says that he does not wish his foundation to get bogged down in arguments about doctrines.

Then he gets to the heart of the matter. He looks around the room and sees two Jews, a Muslim and a Catholic, all of us with our own faiths but all at home in a liberal democratic society. We, he says, are his audience. The Faith Foundation, in other words, is another chapter in Blairite triangulation. There are the fundamentalists (old Conservatives), the radical secularists (old Labour) and the Blair Faith Foundation (new Labour, new faith).

So does this mean he is developing what amounts to a new religion?

No, he replies. Not at all. “This is not about chucking all the faiths in a doctrinal melting pot and coming out with the world religion as it were, that’s not what it’s about.

“It’s about defining those two issues: that faith is under attack from without; an aggressive secularism that sees faith as basically a historical relic, and it’s under attack from within; from people who see their own faith as excluding the other.”

Which presents Mr Blair with a problem. Does he want to be honest broker, bringing together traditionalists, helping them to understand each other but not challenging them. Or does he want to champion liberal ideas in faith communities? Read more
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