Blair ‘nutter’ fear angers Bishop of Rochester

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A bishop has criticised Tony Blair after he said he avoided talking about his religious views while premier because he feared the "nutter" label.
The Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, said he was "sorry" the former prime minister felt unable to talk about his faith.

It would have led to more constructive social policy at home and principled policies abroad, the bishop said.

Mr Blair's admission comes in the final episode of BBC One's The Blair Years.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

Posted November 26, 2007 at 1:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. RoyIII wrote:

It is interesting to me that the bishop believes that because Mr. Blair didn’t publicly discuss his faith that his decisions were not guided by his faith.  After reading what the ABC said recently and now what this english bishop has said, I am beginning to think they are all just dense.

November 26, 2:41 pm | [comment link]
2. Jim the Puritan wrote:

Another for the Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t File.

November 26, 3:39 pm | [comment link]
3. kensaw1 wrote:

What is dense about this?
Bishop Nazir-Ali said: “I am sorry that Tony Blair feels he could not talk about his faith in case people thought he was a nutter.

“A Christian vision underlies all that is important about Britain: its laws, institutions and values.

November 26, 3:47 pm | [comment link]
4. carl wrote:

This actually says a whole lot more about the population of Britain than it does Tony Blair.  I have no doubt his political judgment was correct.  Wilberforce and Burke would be cast aside today.  God is apparently dead, and woe betide any who say otherwise.


November 26, 3:59 pm | [comment link]
5. Stefano wrote:

I fail to see how the headline writer derived the notion of “angers” from what the Bishop of Rochester said in the article.
To disparage Michael Nazir-Ali’s intelligence is the height of foolishness.Apparently, you’ve never met the man.

November 26, 5:04 pm | [comment link]
6. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

No one has yet mentioned the fact that Tony Blair has finally converted to Roman Catholicism since he left office.  His wife and children have been devout RCs for years and he often worshipped with them, but as PM he felt he couldn’t follow his heart and become Catholic without all sorts of negative political repercussions, perhaps not only for himself or the Labour Party, but also for the C of E.  And he was probably right there too.  His political instincts were always remarkably good.

To me, the interesting thing is that Blair had the courage to defy majority opinion in England when it came to the intensely controversial matter of sending British troops to support the U.S. war against Iraq.  He bravely continued to keep British troops there long after the tide of public opinion was running strongly against the war.  But he didn’t dare let on what his religious convictions really were, or how important it was to him to be a Christian believer and attend church weekly in a non-churchgoing culture.  That is further proof, if any be needed, that even England, though it still has an established state church, with numerous Anglican bishops sitting in the House of Lords, is in fact very much a post-Christendom society, de facto, if not yet de jure.
David Handy+
Advocate of Post-Christendom Christianity too, i.e., calling for a return to the patristic Pre-Christendom spirit of the early Church.

November 26, 5:08 pm | [comment link]
7. MargaretG wrote:

#6 - I’d heard rumours he was possibly thinking of converting—has he actually done so?

November 26, 6:36 pm | [comment link]
8. New Reformation Advocate wrote:


Yes, it is indeed official.  A done deal.  It’s been in the English papers.  Not surprisingly, the secular American press ignored it.

November 26, 8:00 pm | [comment link]
9. franksta wrote:

Public, yes; “official,” no.  Blair has certainly disclosed his years of formation in the Catholic faith, as well as his intentions to unite with the Church, but he has not been formally received into the Church (which, among other things, means he is not a communicant).  There are indications he will not be received until Easter.

November 27, 1:30 am | [comment link]
10. New Reformation Advocate wrote:


You are absolutely right.  My earlier post was misleading.  Sorry.

November 27, 9:37 am | [comment link]
11. franksta wrote:

Not at all.  I had to check for myself, it is a confusing situation since so much ink was spilled on it when he left office.  It wouldn’t surprise me if his formal reception does slip under the radar when it happens, at least on this side of the pond, because it’s something of an anticlimax at this point.  Peace!

November 27, 11:00 am | [comment link]
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