Consulting the deity

Fascinating the reaction stirred by Tony Blair’s ‘admission’ that he prayed about the decision to send troops into Iraq.  ‘Bizarre’ and ‘disgusted’ were among the comments.  But the Prime Minister was simply placing himself in the honourable tradition of  informed Christian conscience in the sight of God and acknowledging his authority as ultimately derived from God.  His critics obviously believe that to ‘take it to the Lord in prayer’ is to embrace irrationality and abdicate sense and responsibility.  Surely not.  It’s tempting to say simply that, ‘God gave him the wrong answer.’  But that, it seems to me, just dishonours what he also said about how difficult the decision was and how aware he was of the potential cost in lives.  Yet, looking back to the time, my own feeling is that decision-making approached in this God-breathed way might have been approached with more obvious humility .. might have recognised that the possibility God’s voice might also be heard in the voices of dissent .. might have been more ready to acknowledge the mistakes made over intelligence and the reasons for going to war and to say sorry.  But which of us would have wanted to make the decision?

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