Letter: Marriage of religion and politics

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The Independent Online
Sir: What Conor Cruise O'Brien fails to realise ('Gods can play havoc with politics', 22 July) is that a political party is a type of church.

He is right to believe that the embodiment of religious dogma in politics can lead to political totalitarianism. However, he is wrong to believe that politics can take place in a philosophical or moral vacuum. The answer is not to seek a rigid distinction between religion and politics but to recognise the similarities that exist between them.

Tony Blair's speech was moving, inspiring and spoke directly to the needs of our society today. The basis upon which he claimed his political vision rested was not some partisan religious ideology but a 'tradition of progress' that was accessible by all humanity.

The question facing Tony Blair is not whether he can successfully divorce his religion from his politics, but whether the marriage he achieves between them is one of mutual respect.

Yours faithfully,

MARCUS BUTLER

Glenrothes, Fife

22 July

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