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Monday, May 21, 2007

Seeing What's Really There

Tony Blair's former press officer, Alistair Campbell famously once intervened when the Prime Minister was asked a question about faith and politics. "We don't do God," he stated curtly. Well, modern liberal secular politicians, even if believers, don't generally "do God" but that doesn't mean that belief is irrelevant to how leaders lead and the projects they pursue.

Both Blair and Brown are practising Christians. Tony is your fairly typical middle-of-the-road liberal Anglican with a social conscience, somewhat emasculated by Thatcherism, but also, and untypically, with an old-fashioned imperial "let's teach Johnny-foreigner civilised values" foreign policy. Gordon is a son of the Kirk, (presbyterian Church of Scotland), brought up in a strict Sabbatarian, Protestant work ethic, social-justice-prophecy environment. He is able, therefore, to square the circle of capitalism, self reliance and international development without worrying too much about the Calvinist inconsistencies between the various strands of his thought.

From an Orthodox Christian point of view, this got me thinking. What would an Orthodox Christian Prime Minister look like in a British context? What would be his or her agenda. Would he or she "do God" ... explicitly or implicitly?


Steve Hayes said...

I woould hope that an Orthodox politician would have his (or her) moral and ethical imagination shaped by the Orthodox Christians faith.

I would hope that they would not "do hypocrisy" as well as Tony Blair, who has been trotting around Africa paternalistically congratulating us on having fewer wars and violence, when he has I am told, Started more wars than any other British prime minister.

So I would hope an Orthodox prime minister would see war as a last resort, rather than the first, or at least the second (the first being sabre-rattling).

Father Gregory said...

Quite so Steve. In Britain it's being called the "Great Vanity Tour." Interviewed recently Blair referred to "hanging on to the doorknocker of no. 10" on his last day. In anything other than a democracy he would be just the sort of autocrat who would never leave office. Shudder.

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