Tony Blair on Faith

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, a new convert to the Roman Catholic Church, gave his first major speech on religion earlier this week. Here is the Christianity Today report on the speech:

In his first major speech on religion, Tony Blair said last night that religion must be rescued from extremism and irrelevance and used as a force for good at a time of global turmoil.

Blair, who converted to Catholicism last year, made the call in a lecture on faith and globalisation at Westminster Cathedral, the first in ‘The Cardinal’s Lectures’ series organised by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor to examine faith and life in Britain.

“For religion to be a force for good, it must be rescued not simply from extremism, faith as a means of exclusion; but also from irrelevance, an interesting part of our history but not of our future,” said Blair.

“Faith is reduced to a system of strange convictions and actions that, to some, can appear far removed from the necessities and anxieties of ordinary life. It is this face that gives militant secularism an easy target,” he added.

Blair declared his strong desire to “awaken the world’s conscience” to widespread poverty, illiteracy and poor health, and said that the Tony Blair Faith Foundation would set the Millennium Development Goals as one of its priority areas for engagement when it launches next month.

The foundation will bring together different faith organisations to foster friendship and understanding, and harness people of faith as a force for good in the modern world.

Last night’s faith speech was a turnabout from Blair’s recent admission that he dodged questions on his faith whilst in office because “you may be considered weird”. When an American journalist once asked Blair for his religious views, the former prime minister’s atheist spin doctor, Alistair Campbell, famously blurted, “We don’t do God.”

Read it all here. The full text of the speech is here.

Past Posts