From his first days in prime ministerial office, back in the time of Innocent 1997, Tony Blair has been on the road from politician to messiah. The war in Iraq, and the idea that international law should play a part, was not something that got in the way of his mission. Neither was the largest anti-war march Britain has ever seen. He was too busy praying with Bush and seeking advice from the Man Upstairs to concern himself with such pedestrian thoughts. This mission from God has led him, and the UK based charity The Tony Blair Faith Foundation, to the United States. He is now holding hands, metaphorically speaking of course, with Rick Warren, whose record on gay rights is far from stellar. Warren thinks democracy is the same as majority rule, which is otherwise known as mob rule. “There are about 2% of Americans who are homosexual or gay and lesbian people,” he claims, although where that figure came from is anyone’s guess. “We should not let 2% of the population change the definition of marriage.” This is what is traditionally called “fudging the issue”. He is in good company at the TBFF.
The militaristic Blair, a soldier of Christ, calls this latest mission a “faith offensive”. There is something rather apt about that phrase.
This is what Rick Warren said of his seat on Blair’s millionaire Foundation:
“The vision and values of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation are desperately needed today when every major issue in our world is influenced for good or harm by faith factors. It would be foolish to ignore how religious conviction impacts personal and national identity, poverty and education, extremism and reconciliation, disease and development, peace and progress. In any effort to help people learn to live and work together, we must engage the vast networks, resources, wisdom, and influence of the faith communities. My friends, Tony Blair is uniquely prepared with the gifts of temperament, knowledge, experience, leadership, and global respect essential for a task this great. I honestly don’t know of anyone better suited for this challenge. It’s why I agreed to serve on the Advisory Board. The Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s potential for doing good is staggering.”
Is every issue indeed influenced by “faith factors”, whatever that means? And more importantly, should faith influence policy? In the age of citizen journalism and a celebrity culture out of control, the idea that policy decisions should be made by those who are qualified and trained to do so is one that is out of favour. Politics is one great popularity contest. How else could that dimwit Sarah Palin attain political office? The public on both sides of the Atlantic does not trust the idea of experts and would rather invest its energy in television talent shows. So why turn to experts who understand the debate over, say, social care? Why not instead turn to the actor William Roache, the man who for the last 49 years has played Ken Barlow in Coronation Street? “Watch out, there’s a death tax a-coming. I’m ready for my close-up now.”
That said, pop culture does provide its lessons. Blair’s progress, and his use of religion as a rhetorical device that has enabled him to transcend mere politics, is rather like that of Battlestar Galactica‘s Gaius Baltar. Vain, self-obsessed and cretinous, Baltar wormed his way through the series to attain the presidency and eventually find God whilst all the time serving only one master: his considerable ego. It’s not about right, it’s not about wrong: it’s about power. Perhaps the UN really knew what it was doing when it invited the cast and crew of Battlestar Galactica to a discussion on the machinations of 21st Century politics. It wasn’t just a PR exercise, Geri! With his Faith Foundation, Blair is at once again at war, and once again a threat to Western democracy, which can only succeed if it is secular and separate from religion.
Links & Further Reading:
All about Tony, his unpopularity in Britain, and his rock star status in the United States of Amnesia
He believeth in God and not 18th century Jeffersonian notions of “equal rights for all, special privileges for none”
On why a secular government is essential to multicultural society
What the Foundation has to say about itself. Warning: not for the faint of heart.
He was looking for another “Diana moment”
There is a group for everything on Facebook and so …
Some interesting observations in an article that has found its way unbidden into this links section
This is what makes Britain great, surely!