On Monday, a debate took place about the role of faith and politics in the UK. The forum included Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, The Most Rev. Rowan Williams, and Charles Moore, biographer to Margaret Thatcher and former editor of the Telegraph.
Andrew Brown writes at the Guardian:
The former prime minister was speaking at a debate with Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Charles Moore, Lady Thatcher’s biographer and, like Blair, a convert from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism.
Challenged by Moore as to why he called Islam a religion of peace when no one would feel it necessary to call Methodism “a religion of Peace”, Blair replied that there were times in Christian history when you would have doubted that Christianity, too, was a religion of peace. Yet he believed that religion and democracy should grow together.
“How do we create a situation in which every religion has its truth claims reconciled with the existence of different ones? I believe there is a simple and obvious way to do this – to recognise it would be very arrogant towards God’s purpose for us, not to recognise that others have their own ideas.”
Williams rephrased the argument slightly: “A lot of religious people assume that they have to win God’s arguments for him. That seems to me a preposterous religious position to be in.” Blair suppressed a giggle of recognition.
But when it came to actual practical clashes between religious and political beliefs, the panel talked about gambling rather than sex or even assisted dying. Williams recalled the Lords debate in which the Blair government’s plans for supercasinos had been defeated. “The idea that you could regenerate an impoverished corner of Manchester by importing a supercasino seemed to me utterly utterly bizarre.”
A podcast for the discussion can be found here.