Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tony Blair

Tony Blair is now a Roman Catholic.

All of this under the radar screen ... as he put it recently, "Folks in England don't talk about their faith for fear of being perceived a nutter."

How right he is.

And we've a bevy of nutters and have had them front and center for too long.

These nutters are big scams - using the language of faith to promote their political agenda.

We need a return to a non-religious political climate where issues are examined and positions taken on the merits of the issue and the best possible solutions. We need political leaders who lead with intelligence rather than hiding their lack of political savvy behind faith, who are knowledgeable about international trade and the history of nations, who may well be persons of faith within, and may well go to church, mosque or synagogue, but will refuse to use their faith as a wedge issue.

Time and again, we've learned that "faith" gives no one a leg up on the issues; what religion does, I'm afraid, is define ideological borders, dividing folks against one another, and positioning some on the high moral ground while relegating others to the realms of the morally bankrupt.

I'm a Christian ... and my love of Christ informs my view of the world, but no one, no matter how thoroughly informed by faith, can say with any certainty how faith interfaces with the world, and surely by now we should have all learned how uncertain the process is.

Sadly, faith is too often called upon to squelch opposition and to sanctify violence, and that, perhaps, is the most curious question of all: Why is religion so often called upon to sanction violence?

The linkage between faith and violence is a long and twisted story, and in spite of knowing its grim details, we continue to believe that "our violence" is good and the "other guy's violence" is bad.

Let's tell the nutters to shut up about their faith and deliver intelligent and intelligible opinions on the world-challenging matters: a degraded environment, children and war, malnutrition and economic inequality, the need for a national health-care program, a revised and morally responsible tax system, and a thousand lesser or greater needs afflicting and affecting humanity.