Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Don’t condemn Tony Blair for his Christian beliefs | Michael Gove - Times Online

Don’t condemn Tony Blair for his Christian beliefs | Michael Gove - Times Online:
"... It says something about the intellectual impoverishment of Christianity’s critics that they think a prime minister who believes in the Church’s teachings is one who “takes his orders from God”. Far from imbuing its believers with certainty about the wisdom, or morality, of their actions, Christianity invites its followers to scrutinise their consciences, recognise all the time that their motives may be mixed, their unaided reason faulty, their enterprises fallible. By guarding mankind against the temptations of a totally utilitarian world view, Christianity ensures that an alternative ethical tradition survives, which guarantees real pluralism in any major moral debate of our times.

The real nuttiness in our society is that an open commitment from a public figure to organised Christian religion is now seen as shameful, while every sort of faulty moral reasoning from other sources is accorded grave respect. It doesn’t need a prodigious level of sanity to see we’d be mad to make Christianity even more marginal than it is today. ..."
Michael Gove is a Member of Parliament from Surrey Heath and is reacting to the recent disclosure by Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, that he was and is a Christian and that it permeated his public and private life. Blair did not make his faith an issue, however, and there has been some controversy as to whether he was a "stealth" candidate who deceived his party and his constituents by not practicing his faith openly.

I appreciate Blair for acknowledging his faith and respect him for his decision to avoid making it a political issue. Evidently it is quite unacceptable to wear one's faith on one's sleeve in Great Britain, especially for a politician. Michael Gove has quite a way with words, and provides a good counterpoint in this debate.

I wish that our politicians had as clear an idea of what Christianity means in the public realm.

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