Shortly before he formally converted to Catholicism, Tony Blair gave an interview in which he said the British people thought a politician who spoke in public about his religious faith was “a nutter.”
Once Blair wanted to end a speech with “God bless you all.” His advisors talked him out of it. They explained to the press, “We don’t do God.”
In the United States it would seem to be a far different story. On the day of the Iowa caucuses every presidential candidate has marked out his religious turf — again and again. We all know of Mitt Romney’s Mormon manifesto, Mike Huckabee’s Baptist ministry, Hillary Clinton’s formative Methodism and Rudy Giuliani’s cultural Catholicism.
For a country keenly committed to separation of church and state, the complex admixture of religion and politics in the United States fascinates and appalls Canadians.
We don’t get it because we have concluded that faith is a private matter, that its presence in the public square is a threat to social harmony and that past historical experience with religion’s political influence has been less than salutary.
Do you agree that a politician’s faith should be a private matter?