Once again, the Sydney Morning Herald's Israel-friendly Clash-of-Civilizations pundit in residence leaves us flummoxed by the man's capacity for getting it wrong.
In Tidings in tempest, storm and wind [SMH December 24], Paul Sheehan writes on Tony Blair's conversion to Catholicism.
Having described Bush's poodle as, "The man who helped champion a basically Christian military invasion force into the heart of the Arab and Islamic world..," he then goes on to assert that "Blair's conversion shows it is possible for devout Christians in the Western political system to separate church and state, even when core principles collide."
Even allowing for Sheehan's references to Blair's differences with the Catholic Church over the years on "abortion rights, stem-cell research, [and] homosexual civil unions," to characterise him as the leader of a Christian crusade against "the Arab and Islamic world," and then suggest he's capable of separating matters of church from matters of state is bizarre in the extreme.
That Blair cannot seem to keep church and state apart is evident in his remarks in the period leading up to his conversion: "The revelations [of his impending conversion] came as Mr Blair admitted for the first time that his faith was 'hugely important' in influencing his decisions during his decade in power, including going to war with Iraq in 2003." (People of faith seen as nutters, says convert Blair, SMH, November 26)