More Blair blather about religion
Why, one needs to ask today, is the BBC touting as news Tony’s Blair’s latest call for ‘respect’ for religion when it is simply a rehash of a threadbare and discredited mantra he has been echoing for years ?
When former PM Blair – told to his face in 2007 by another religious zealot, Dr Ian Paisley, that he was “a fool” for converting to Catholicism – insisted at the beginning of this year that fanaticism would only end when people were given the benefit of a good religious education, few burst his delusional bubble more effectively than National Secular President Terry Sanderson.
So what does Mr Blair recommend as the way to stop the world being consumed by religious fanaticism and violence? Why, more religion of course. He thinks that people can be educated to understand each other.
Study religion and understand it properly and everyone will be able to live in tolerance and peace, he says. It is only people who don’t truly understand their faith who ‘pervert’ it and use it for malignant purposes.
Unfortunately for Mr Blair’s argument, the people who are presently engaged in religious warfare are the ones most educated about religion. They are the ones who have studied it and come to the conclusion that their version is superior to all others and must be imposed on the ignorant unbelievers.
Let us look at the place where religion holds least sway – in Europe. Over the past few decades, since the defeat of Nazism, Europe has made a real effort to avoid warfare between its nations. It has created the European Union and an economic pact that has unified states for mutual (most of the time, anyway) benefit.
It is far from perfect, but since its inception, the prospect of war between those European nations that are part of it has never in history seemed more unlikely.
And what other factor may be involved in this extended period of European peace? Well, the fact that religion has lost its grip on the European mind. We have become more democratic, free of dictatorships and secularised. The Vatican – proponent of so many wars in Europe – is a shadow of its historical self.
A religious war between EU nations? Unthinkable. Even the troubles of Northern Ireland have, in the main, been tempered. It is only a small faction of fanatics (who, incidentally, take their religion very seriously) who feel the ‘problems’ have not been resolved and would like to resume the bombings and assassinations.
Mr Blair, of course, thinks religion should become important again in Europe. He thinks we should all be forcibly educated about ‘our’ religion as well as about ‘their’ religion. This should preferably be done in ‘single-faith’ schools, the present proliferation of which in this country is of his making.
But how can separating young people from each other on the basis of religion be a means of uniting them? How can the constant reinforcement of religious difference be healthy when you are trying to defuse religious tensions?
How can ignorance and extremism be discouraged when you have unregulated madrassas pumping extreme religion into the heads of the next generation of Muslims in this country? Something like 2000 of these undesirable institutions are operating in Britain and it is only when some brave parent complains publicly about their child being beaten that we get a glimpse of what is happening within.
And he pointed out:
The more we allow our schools to be religionised, the more we pander to the demands of ‘religious leaders’ who are desperate to use our publicly funded education system to sustain themselves, the more divided as a society we will become.
So, no Tony Blair – we don’t want more religion. We need less. Much less.
Note: The Pope-hating Paisley, pictured above, right, with Blair, departed for Protestant heaven in September this year, aged 88.
Hat tip: Marcus Robinson, BarrieJohn, and AgentCormac