Former PM said he never prayed with Bush before the invasion of Iraq, but he did pray with the Salvation Army
Tony Blair never did pray with George Bush before the invasion of Iraq, he said on Tuesday. “It wouldn’t have been a wrong thing, but it didn’t happen”, he told Charles Moore, the former editor of the Daily Telegraph – answering the question he had refused to answer when it was put to him by Jeremy Paxman and he was still prime minster. But he did pray with the Salvation Army, he said, when he was leader of the opposition despite the horror of some of his staff.
At a debate with Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, he told the audience of 450 people in Westminster, central London: “I remember the Salvation Army coming to see me when I was leader of the opposition.
“At the end of it, she said: ‘We’re all going to kneel in prayer’.
“There were two members of my office, who should remain nameless, who looked aghast.
“I said: ‘You’ll have to get on your knees’. One of them said: ‘For God’s sake’ and I said: ‘Exactly'”.
Blair, who converted to Catholicism to join the same faith as his wife Cherie, added: “One of the things I loved about meeting such people in office was their unashamed proclamation of their faith.”
At the debate Blair was funny, and sometimes self-deprecating: “I once wrote a pamphlet about why a human rights act in Britain would be a thoroughly bad idea – then, as prime minister, I introduced one” .
Even in this politician’s afterlife, his religious beliefs had a vagueness about them. He was challenged from the audience about his belief in the resurrection and while he was clear that he believed it, it was not at all clear what he meant. “My father was and remains a militant atheist” he said. “So it’s a debate I am well familiar with.
“For me the resurrection in the sense of someone reborn is a very important, indeed essential part of Christian faith. Rather than see this as part of a debate about physiology or biology, I see it was what it tells us about human condition.”
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.”
“We are in danger of assuming that morality is self-evident, that there is a default morality which is secular and that what religious people think is just a decoration.”
Blair was unrepentant. Although he was anxious for religious groups to make their voices heard, democracy, for him, meant that elected politicians would listen, and then do what they wanted anyway: “I didn’t agree with the Salvation Army position on gambling. If people could already gamble online, so I didn’t see why they should be stopped from doing so here. [And] In the end, I as prime minister should decide what was best for the country.”
Williams was more thoughtful about the limitations of his power. Talking about women bishops, where his proposals for a compromise to soothe the feelings of the defeated opponents had been rejected by the church’s general synod, he said: “The bishops – myself included – have had to learn just how difficult it is for women to hear an all male body pronouncing on their future. I still think myself that we had the right general idea, but that’s not going to make much difference.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2012
Internet goes wild over ‘obviously drunk’ Larry Kudlow on Fox News: ‘He’s lying while slurring his words’
Speculation was rampant on Sunday that White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow was drunk on Fox News.
"There is no economic recession in sight," Kudlow insisted to Fox News Sunday host Dana Perino.
Twitter, however, was buzzing about Kudlow's speech patterns instead of his questionable economic optimism.
"Pretty sure Larry Kudlow is drunk on my TV right now... And he is lying while slurring his words," one Twitter user noted.
"Kudlow is on fox news Sunday right now and from my 30 yrs of tending bar, I gotta say this guy appears drunk," another user observed.
Foreign diplomats preparing for the worst — another Trump win in 2020: ‘People don’t want to be stupid twice’
According to a report from Politico, foreign diplomats are not so sure Donald Trump will be beaten in the 2020 election and are making contingency plans for how they will deal with him should he be re-elected.
The report notes that the win by the New York businessman in 2016 caught foreign governments by surprise with former French ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud admitting, "In 2016, nobody believed he was going to be elected. People don’t want to be stupid twice.”
According to Politico, "There’s no known scientific survey on the topic — few foreign officials would participate in one given diplomatic norms that preclude them from commenting on another country's internal politics. But none who talked to POLITICO were willing to say that Trump will lose. Instead, they pointed to three key advantages for Trump: He’s the incumbent, the U.S. economy is strong and the Democrats have no definitive front-runner to challenge him."
Trump Twitter-rages at ‘evil propaganda machine’ New York Times
President Donald Trump kicked off his Sunday morning by going on a multi-tweet rant about the New York Times where he blamed them for his poor poll numbers and called them "an evil propaganda machine.'
Trump began with, "The Failing New York Times, in one of the most devastating portrayals of bad journalism in history, got caught by a leaker that they are shifting from their Phony Russian Collusion Narrative (the Mueller Report & his testimony were a total disaster), to a Racism Witch Hunt....., " before adding, "'Journalism' has reached a new low in the history of our Country. It is nothing more than an evil propaganda machine for the Democrat Party. The reporting is so false, biased and evil that it has now become a very sick joke...But the public is aware! #CROOKEDJOURNALISM."