Religion Is the New Politics: Blair Reveals Philosophy at Launch of Faith Foundation
Macintyre, James, The Independent (London, England)
Such is the relentlessness of Tony Blair's public immersion into matters of faith these days that Alastair Campbell's "we don't do God" assertion in Downing Street has now been fully exposed for what it was: a skilful piece of diversionary spin.
Yesterday, the former prime minister was in New York, launching the Tony Blair Faith Foundation at the headquarters of Time Warner, having told Time magazine that promoting inter-faith dialogue and co- operation was "how I want to spend the rest of my life".
For Mr Blair, rhetorically and professionally, religion is the new politics. Introduced by Bill Clinton to a more sympathetic audience than he might receive in the UK, he said: "Religious faith will be of the same significance to the 21st century as political ideology was to the 20th century.
"In an era of globalisation, there is nothing more important than getting people of different faiths and cultures to understand each other better and live in peace and mutual respect; and to give faith itself its proper place in the future."
Despite his former press officer's now-cliched intervention, Mr Blair's religious interest was always bubbling beneath the surface. Though he had left Number 10, Mr Campbell may have winced when, asked in 2006 about the decision to invade Iraq three years earlier, Mr Blair told Michael Parkinson: "In the end, there is a judgement that ... if you believe in God, it's made by God as well."
But by then, Mr Blair was already planning the role that religion would play in his future life. In his Time interview, as well as taking a swipe at an overly secular Europe, Mr Blair admitted he had thought about the foundation for a "long time". In fact, while in office, he held behind-the-scenes meetings with religious leaders and diplomats, discussing the practical implications of his …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Religion Is the New Politics: Blair Reveals Philosophy at Launch of Faith Foundation. Contributors: Macintyre, James - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: May 31, 2008. Page number: 6. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.