Saturday, March 04, 2006

Tony Blair: doing God?

Tony Blair is back in the new for his Christianity. Years back Alistair Campbell ruled that Blair in public politics doesn't do God. And yet now he calls God back into the equation. Comments in the BBC News report about tonights interview with Michael Parkinson conclude Blair is justifying his decision to go to war. But from the clip I saw yesterday I'm not sure that's what he was saying.

Seems to me that Blair was saying that either our conscience judges us, or God does for our actions. That is not to say "God told me" but rather I'm accountable to God for what I did. Meanwhile Evan Harris of the Liberal Democrats and the National Secular Society warns about allowing private religious faith enter public politics. Classic secularism!

And yet the Bible things that all of life is fair game for God. Moreover God is God over all of it. That doesn't mean we can necessarily say "God told me" to go to war. But rather that a Biblical Worldview is supposed to shape all of life, not just private life. The Bible knows nothing of a private faith, other than to comdemn it. It is deeply insulting and erroneous to consider Biblical faith to be private irrelevance - indeed it would be heinous hypocrisy if Blair's beliefs didn't shape the way he lives, raises his family and does his job.

The Bible tells us much about life when we remove accountability to God from the equation. A life live under the sun, rather than under the fear of God is, in the words of Ecclesiastes: meaningless, futile, vanity... Life is very different depending on whether or not you consider yourself accountable.

Tony Blair is right to consider himself accountable to God. I don't think that necessarily means he can claim a divine mandate for the war on Iraq, and I don't think that's what he said. But we must all remember that we stand accountable to the God who made all things, and rules over them. Whether Blair's actions fit with a Biblical worldview is another matter altogether.

BBC News Report | Interview transcript


  1. It really is a crazy country that we live in. I almost think the media had their story written already, and had been waiting so long for the opportunity to publish it that they seized on such a comment when it came. In the interview he was even too hesitent to admit that he prayed about the decision before he made it because of the stories that would follow. It is not only crazy and ignorant but sad that our country reacts like this.

  2. It's a frighteningly irrational anti-christian fear isn't it... people dare not speak of it themselves because its considered absurd and irrelevant...

    Up against that the only model People have is some sort of christian theocracy which is only concerned about abortion and Israel... rather than a rigorously biblical perspective on politics.

  3. Terry Jones (Comment, March 8) has every right to disagree with the prime minister over Iraq. He does not have the right to distort what he says so he can attack him. As the quotes Mr Jones actually uses from the Parkinson interview make absolutely clear, what the prime minister said was that those who believe in God believe that God will judge them on their actions. This, I would have thought, was a rather unremarkable statement for someone well known to be a practising Christian. What the prime minister did not say, suggest or imply in any way was that he knew what God's judgement would be. So it is entirely false to imply that Mr Blair said God would agree with the military action over Iraq. But without this distortion, there wouldn't have been much of a column to write, would there?
    David Hill
    10 Downing Street

    From The Guardian, March 10th)