September 22, 2008
The role of faith in British politics
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair appeared on the Daily Show where Jon Stewart asked Blair to compare his own experience to the prominent role of religion in American politics. The exchange is short, but here is part of the exchange:
Stewart: In British politics, faith is almost something to be cloaked, whereas here if you're not talking to God on a daily basis, you're considered not worthy of the office. Why do you think the difference in how religion is perceived?
Blair: I think religion, in our country, it's just people regard it as something very private. Actually if you look, we recently did some work for our course about how important is religion to you? For America it's something like 65 percent, for Britain, it's something like 35 percent. So there's a big difference. Actually, for countries like Pakistan, it's about 97 percent.
Stewart: Is it because Pakistan is morally better than the rest of us?
Blair: I think probably not, no.
Stewart: It doesn't work that way?
Stewart: You recently converted to Catholicism. ... Could you have done that as prime minister, or do you think that would’ve been complicated?
Blair: It would’ve been complicated for sure.
Blair speaks on faith and globalization in the earlier part of the clip.