Sunday, November 25, 2007

That bloke's a nutter!

This morning's Sunday Telegraph has one of the best headlines ever today with "Tony Blair: Mention God and you're a 'nutter'". In the next episode of the BBC's Blair Years he apparently says,
"It's difficult if you talk about religious faith in our political system... If you are in the American political system or others then you can talk about religious faith and people say 'yes, that's fair enough' and it is something they respond to quite naturally.

"You talk about it in our system and, frankly, people do think you're a nutter. I mean … you may go off and sit in the corner and … commune with the man upstairs and then come back and say 'right, I've been told the answer and that's it'."
Blair is absolutely right about the difference between the US and UK, and if you think about it for a second it's actually quite odd. In the US, you have a nation state that constitutionally separated the church by removing the right of Congress to make laws which established any religion. As a result religion and politics sit side by side quite happily, and does anyone doubt that the US is a majority Christian country? There is no legally established religion, but there is an established religion.

Meanwhile in the UK, we have a nation the state that continues to have the church intrinsically linked to it, which seems to have led to an unspoken convention that talking about God is strictly off limits for politicians. Effectively the disestablishment in the US Constitution appears to have created a greater dominance of religion over political power, whilst maintaining the system that the US Constitution sought to end has had the opposite effect in the UK.

Or maybe Britain is just a nation of part-time atheists?


Anonymous said...

Seems a very good argument for keeping the established church!
Much the same as the Tory party have in-house the eco-nutters like Goldsmith and Gummer (am I the only perseon who cringes whenever Gummer - or Tim Yeo - speak in public?)

Glyn H

Sackerson said...

I thought TB was a nutter long before I knew he had - or thought he had - an interest in God. I see him as a king-sized narcissist and hope he lives long enough to become sane.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of it has to do with intolerance which is creeping in to Britain, and not so much in the US. We are having secularism enforced on us, where as in the US due to the seperation of church and state, secularism sits much more easily with society.

Everything from royality to parliament is tied up with the established church. I, for one, do not want to see that link go.


Anonymous said...

Maybe we are just the first to realise that a 2000 year old fairytale has no place in present day politics. said...

There has to be a factor to do with Americans feeling the need to preserve, protect and perpetuate their various religions (particuarly as they have about 500 different genres of Christianity in various places... southern baptists, mormons, the people's front of judea etc.) whereas back in the day in the UK, say around 1900 when most people still went to church every Sunday it never occurred to anyone that a little gradual dropping off of membership of a dozen people every year would add up to what we have today: an incredibly religiously-apathetic country (at least where Christianity is concerned).

I think it's great: keep the church, pretend that everyone hates Dawkins when in reality most people agree with him even if they don't know/admit it.