Saturday, July 09, 2011

The place of faith in public life

Two great pieces in today's papers about religion in public life. There's a superb interview with Rowan Williams in the guardian magazine conducted by David Hare which is online here and there's a great piece on Maurice Glassman, the man behind Blue Labour in the Times. It is on-line but behind the Murdoch pay wall.

Both make a strong case for the involvement of Christians - and religion more generally - in public life. Williams is very moving on his recent visit to Congo and Kenya and the vital role that the church plays in creating civil society and safe places for those caught up in the horrors of violence in those countries.

In his speech to General Synod last week, reflecting on that trip, he said: ‘If it wasn’t for the Church, no-one, absolutely no-one, would have cared, and they would be lost still.  It was almost a fierce sense, almost an angry feeling, this knowledge that the Church mattered so intensely.' (you can read the whole speech here).

Glassman is an orthodox Jew and stresses in the interview in the Times how important religion is in shaping his life and in shaping the labour party. We all knew the latter but he goes on to say that religion is vital for reshaping and renewing the Labour Party now. It's a bold thing for a man of the left (even the centre left where he is) to say but it's really good to hear it being said. More power to his elbow, I say