A Modestly Wealthy Obscurity

Much of the American world will have forgotten Tony Blair. The puppy-dog prime minister of Britain, most often seen tagging along at the heels of ex-President George W Bush, long ago faded into obscurity once the Iraq war was pronounced well and truly “over” – all bar the shouting, that is.

Following his demise as head of the British government, Blair was welcomed into the arms of the American political and corporate elite, who paid handsomely for his after-dinner speeches and politico-religious lectures, all delivered with the cheeky, boyish, grin and soft upper-crust British accent so beloved of hard-boiled American businessmen and women.

After pottering unsuccessfully at fixing the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, as Middle East envoy for the ‘Quartet’, and landing a bit of a job on a prestigious US university campus, Blair finally appeared to find his niche by joining the Roman Catholic church and devoting his attentions to his very own foundation, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

Yale University has agreed to launch a brand new course for Blair – Faith and Globalization. It seems a strange subject for such an elite university to take on, but then it was George W Bush’s old place and he owed Blair a favor for supporting him so loyally over Iraq.

The BBC reported yesterday that Blair appeared more at home with religion, than he ever was with politics……

I’m really, and always have been in a way, more interested in religion than politics”[1]

……he told their reporter at a seminar to announce the new course.

According to Blair, the secular world needs to understand religion, and religions need to understand each other.

This statement, perhaps, does more than any other recent utterance to help us comprehend the mindset of Tony Blair. Like so many before him, he’s taken refuge in religion and believes he is cognizant with it. While he was engaged in political life, religious leanings took a back seat, but were constantly in conflict with his political ideals.

He began as a young man imbued with enthusiasm to change the world, but the rigors of high political office, coupled with a greed for wealth and power that only subservience to a corrupt American political regime could procure, took their toll of Blair’s moral values. Now, having achieved his personal ambitions, though at a terrible cost to his nation of birth, and with the blood of countless innocents on his hands, Blair can conveniently seek his own salvation, while continuing to satiate the demands of his ego.

Like so many who’ve done so before him, Blair has embraced the path of orthodox religion. Exchanging personal moral values for those of a hierarchical institution demands subservience to the ways of that institution. No longer can the world outside be viewed in a rational way. Every thought has to be filtered through the membrane of the holy viewpoint, a perspective entirely dependent on the institution’s hierarchy, and their decrees.

No wonder the secular world is seen as “needing to understand”.

In fact, the secular world understands religion only too well. It views it not from a singular, predefined, vantage point as the ‘faithful’ do, but from many billions of different perspectives – one for each secular individual on the planet – all merging to form a broad statement. This statement basically defines religion as a product of the imagination, made real only in the minds of ‘believers’ who seek out others of their ilk for the purpose of reinforcing the doctrine they’re pledged to uphold. By so doing, they become ‘as one’, in their belief.

Can the belief of one be considered so relevant as the viewpoint of billions?

It’s long been argued by the religious that their beliefs must be true, otherwise why would so many embrace them?

The reason is plainly one of feeding off each other, bonding against a secular world seen as uncomprehending of those great religious ‘truths’ revealed by an imaginary god, and its bevy of sales staff, the prophets – both ancient and modern.

Tony Blair has sought sanctuary in religion to avoid facing his conscience. Like so many popes, bishops, cardinals, and mullahs before him, he has chosen a career that places him above reproach, at least from his own ego.

For him, the future is all about bringing different faiths together:

I believe this whole issue to do with inter-faith is absolutely where the 21st Century needs to be in social and cultural terms.”

He won’t succeed. Man has been trying to live in peace with his various religious off-shoots since the dawn of time. It can’t be done. Each threatens the other’s belief system.

Tony Blair has decreed it will be his life’s work.

It had better be, for if he ever turns away from it he’ll come face to face with what he is desperately seeking to avoid, and if that happens, he’ll be forced to accept the blood on his hands as belonging to other than his savior, Jesus Christ.

[1] “Tony Blair’s faith in new mission” BBC, April 13th 2009

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8 Replies to “A Modestly Wealthy Obscurity”

  1. I agree, RJ – can’t be done. It’ll bring in Mr Blair plenty of nice $$$$ for the next few years though – just like the collection plates do for the churches, and tithes, and…..

    As my husband often reminds me when I wonder at the number of churches in our town and neighbouring towns – religion is little more than a business these days.

  2. Religion has always been the biggest business of all.
    I imagine all of the blood on Tony’s ‘soul’ was expunged through the sacrament of confession.
    Clean as a whistle ‘e is.
    Ready to evangelize us all with his sparkling clean conscience.

  3. You’re willing to presume he has a troubled conscience to hide from? I think he’s still just a narcissistic, greedy huckster in search of a new flock to exploit. Blair exudes about as much sincerity as an infomercial host.

  4. RJ ~~~ Off topic for this post but just have to comment on your lovely short story
    (based on fact) “Growing Orbits”. I did so enjoy it, and recognised so many of the same emotions from my own story which is different yet the same. You write so well and so smoothly – so easy to read. Lovely stuff! And I’m so pleased that it all worked out so well (for both of us!) 🙂

  5. I’m heartened to read the appreciation of our late dear leader.

    His unparalleled ability to convince himself that whatever he was saying was the absolute truth is not missed in these islands. I have little doubt he believed his stories about the weapons of mass destruction, the missiles and the whole farrago of whoppers he told to get the UK into the Iraq war alongside his buddy in prayer. He now says he thinks of Iraq everyday; perhaps he does as he relaxes in one of his mansions secure in his christian shell. If I was a believer, I’d say hell roast him; sadly I can’t wish it on him and worse, since he appears to have no conscience, he seems to have no guilt about his conduct in office. Quite the reverse.

    Still as a new catholic, he’s in good company with the Holy Father damning those who wish condoms and ignoring holocaust denial.

  6. Twilight – you put me in mind to consider just what isn’t a business in America. Do you know……I’m struggling!

    On the subject of “Growing Orbits”, – I’m so pleased you enjoyed it. In truth, it’s more ‘fact’ than ‘based on’, and I’m sure you identified with much of it, even if your circumstances were different. I’m somewhat surprised to receive a comment on it now, though, as it’s been on Sparrow Chat for the last five years. Could it be my sidebar is less effective than I’d hoped, or are you just a slow reader? 😉

    WWW – it’s marvelous what that Pope fella can do, isn’t it? A couple of Hail Mary’s and all’s forgiven.

    Alison – we all have a conscience. The myriad ways we invent to hide from it make a fascinating study.

    Richard T – one of the most inventive methods of circumventing the conscience is to persuade ourselves we’re ‘doing God’s work’. Bush and Blair turned it into an artform. “God works in mysterious ways…” and if slaughtering a million people is God’s will, so be it.

    As you rightly point out, it irks to not be able to damn them to hell.

  7. No RJ – I’m a fast reader -I usually dash in read your main piece, maybe comment and dash out again. I lurked a little longer the other day and spotted the Short Story link, decided to explore. Glad I did! 🙂

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