Our friend and ex Tony Blaire said a week or two ago that he was told by his advisers to hide his religious beliefs. According to Tony, religion plays an important role in his life; so important it even had a role in his decision to join his friend Bush in war . However, he was never allowed to expose his opinions, because - as he was told - "we [the British people] don't do god". Or, to put it another way, what goes well in the USA (where you're politically dead if you don't believe) will take you down in the UK.
Learning this about Blaire has certainly tarnished the image I have had of him as an intelligent politician. I have to say I agree with his advisers. Yet, sadly, hiding his opinions does not mean he doesn't have an opinion, which - as we know - led the world to a grossly unsuccessful war in Iraq.
People often ask me why I am so adamantly anti religion and this story adds up to provide yet another example why. If Blaire managed to drag 60 million people with him to a stupid war based on his religious beliefs - as opposed to anything substantial - then this is some very good evidence to the corrupt power religion has. What is the difference between waging war on Iraq due to religious convictions and, say, the imperialist adventures the British have had all over the world just a century ago? Worse, what is the difference between Blaire's argument for the war and Bin Laden's? The only difference seems to be the particular religion each of them goes for, which is merely the result of where they happened to be born in.
Especially in this globalised era, the world cannot afford being led by arguments from religion or any other tradition for that matter.
On that note, I am happy to say that the recent elections have pushed Australia in the right direction. The new Rudd government, just sworn in, had most of its members swear the secular oath (sadly, Rudd himself is a major Christian, so his oath had the redundant god bit in). The previous government, on the other hand, had almost all of its 40 members doing the god version. Then again, that was the government that sent Aussie troops to Iraq.