Tony Blair runs a faith foundation, and he has a problem. As an abortion-supporting, embryo-destroying, contraception-using, gay-marriage-propagating, war-mongering, communion-abusing, Magisterium-defying convert to Roman Catholicism, he can't even persuade many of his co-religionists that he knows much at all about his own faith, let alone apprehend the theology of Islam. Yet in a keynote speech yesterday at Bloomberg HQ – Why the Middle East Matters – while he explained 'Islamism' via a tour of the 'Islamic world', through Pakistan and Afghanistan, wading through Iraq to Libya to Egypt to Yemen to Lebanon and to Syria, he decreed: [...]
[...] So, it is not Islam which has given rise to the malignant Sunni-Salafi-Wahhabi strain of theology, but a "perversion" of the religion which "distorts and warps" and which "many Muslims abhor". In this, he agrees with the Prince of Wales, though Faith Minister Baroness Warsi maintains that these extremists are not Muslims at all; not even of the perverted, distorted or warped kind.
What is curious about Tony Blair's promulgation of Islamic theology is his understanding of religious orthodoxy and "proper teaching". The religion that is acceptable is that which coheres with the modern world – politically, socially and economically. The religion that is unacceptable is that which is "of a fixed polity, governed by religious doctrines that are not changeable but which are, of their essence, unchangeable".
This might explain his particular approach to Roman Catholicism: it is not, for him, Semper Eadem – a constant, catechised Catholic faith composed of infallible doctrines, immutable truths founded upon an unchanging gospel: it is a religion of "creativity" moulded through human "connectivity" and subject to the whims of democracy. For him, an "exclusivist" religion which is "governed by religious doctrines that are not changeable" is a perverted ideology. Ergo, traditionalist Roman Catholicism is a "perversion" of the faith; the orthodox Christianity which preaches "exclusivity" is one which "distorts and warps".