Blair will justify Iraqi deaths on Judgment Day

Blair will justify Iraqi deaths on Judgment Day

By staff writers
3 May 2003

Blair will justify Iraqi deaths on Judgment Day

-3/5/03

Tony Blair has said that he believes he will be called to account for the Iraq War before God, and can justify to his ìMakerî decisions which led to hundreds of deaths.

The information comes from a behind-the-scenes account of the Iraq crisis published in The Times Magazine today.

The magazine charts Mr Blairís actions from the inside over 30 days of war.

His declaration of faith came on April 2, the day after seven Iraqi women and children were shot dead at a checkpoint.

Apparently casting aside his usual caution about discussing how his religious faith guides his political actions he told Peter Stothard that he was ready to meet his Maker and answer before God for ìthose who have died or have been horribly maimed as a result of my decisionsî.

The Prime Minister nevertheless also accepted that many others who believe in ìthe same Godî may assess that the final judgment will be against him.

In the feature Blair gives the most intimate glimpse yet into the strains of leadership, revealing how music and family help him to cope.

But it is the role that his faith plays that will command the greatest attention.

The Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman was rebuked for asking the Prime Minister if he and Mr Bush prayed together before meetings, but the centrality of Mr Blairís faith to his actions is apparent from the Magazine account.

Mr Blair apparently had to be persuaded to drop the phrase ìGod Bless Youî from his broadcast to the nation at the start of the war.

By contrast, American President George Bush frequently invoked the blessing of the Almighty at the end of his speeches.

But one adviser told Blair that invoking Godís name would be a mistake because ìyou are talking to lots of people who donít want chaplains pushing stuff down their throatsî.

Mr Blair responded by telling his aides that they were a ìmost ungodly lotî ó but he was finally persuaded and closed his address with the words ìthank youî.

Mr Blair has shied away from discussion of his religion after an interview in 1996 when he implied that radical Tory views were inconsistent with Christianity.

Tony Blair has said that he believes he will be called to account for the Iraq War before God, and can justify to his 'Maker' decisions which led to hundreds of deaths.

The information comes from a behind-the-scenes account of the Iraq crisis published in The Times Magazine today.

The magazine charts Mr Blair's actions from the inside over 30 days of war.

His declaration of faith came on April 2, the day after seven Iraqi women and children were shot dead at a checkpoint.

Apparently casting aside his usual caution about discussing how his religious faith guides his political actions he told Peter Stothard that he was ready to meet his Maker and answer before God for ìthose who have died or have been horribly maimed as a result of my decisionsî.

The Prime Minister nevertheless also accepted that many others who believe in ìthe same Godî may assess that the final judgment will be against him.

In the feature Blair gives the most intimate glimpse yet into the strains of leadership, revealing how music and family help him to cope.

But it is the role that his faith plays that will command the greatest attention.

The Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman was rebuked for asking the Prime Minister if he and Mr Bush prayed together before meetings, but the centrality of Mr Blairís faith to his actions is apparent from the Magazine account.

Mr Blair apparently had to be persuaded to drop the phrase ìGod Bless Youî from his broadcast to the nation at the start of the war.

By contrast, American President George Bush frequently invoked the blessing of the Almighty at the end of his speeches.

But one adviser told Blair that invoking Godís name would be a mistake because ìyou are talking to lots of people who donít want chaplains pushing stuff down their throatsî.

Mr Blair responded by telling his aides that they were a ìmost ungodly lotî ó but he was finally persuaded and closed his address with the words ìthank youî.

Mr Blair has shied away from discussion of his religion after an interview in 1996 when he implied that radical Tory views were inconsistent with Christianity.

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