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Tweet Tony Blair Faith Foundation to watch Twitter stream of the Religion debate.
25th November 2010
If you’re warming up nicely for the Munk Debate tomorrow night (7:00pm EST, midnight GMT) with Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens you might want to read Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation Twitter link
[Tony Blair Faith Foundation]
Today the TBFF Twitter link has this –
[It says $CD4.99 at the linked site, which is actually just over GBP£3]
A few days ago Ruth Turner sent an e-mail round to those signed for updates to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. (pasted here below):
Since we launched the Foundation in 2008, we’ve seen two things time and time again. The first is people of faith doing the most extraordinary work around the globe. From peace building in Sierra Leone to community action in Blackburn, there are millions of people putting their faith into action every day. The second is that they get very little attention.
On Friday, 26th November, the spotlight is going to be firmly on the role of religion as Tony Blair supports the motion “Be it resolved religion is a force for good in the world” against Christopher Hitchens in a Munk Debate held in Toronto.
Christopher Hitchens is a renowned academic, activist, writer and debater – he is a formidable opponent and it promises to be a fascinating debate. His 2007 book, “God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” has been widely praised.
But we at the Foundation are excited to see our patron Tony Blair debate with Christopher Hitchens so there is also the chance for the public to hear the case for the good that religious faith can do.
Because we know there is an untold positive story out there. Your story. The story you’ve told us time and time again over the last two years.
So in the coming days, we are asking you to send us the reasons you think religion is a force for good in your life, in your community or for the wider world.
If you do this by Thursday we will choose the best as internet interfaith ambassadors with free access to Munk’s live stream!
Post on our Facebook wall, tweet your reason that religion is a force for good using the hashtags #force4good and #munkdebate, or share your thoughts on our website:
And make sure you join the debate on the Munk Debates site at http://www.munkdebates.com to make the case for faith in the world.
Together we can show the positive side of the story.
Chief Executive, Tony Blair Faith Foundation
Christopher Hitchens also has a Twitter link, though it hasn’t been written on since January 2009. He is still writing though, despite his treatment for cancer. Here are two recent offerings worth reading. First –
Video: Christopher Hitchens won’t attend a prayer day in his honor, Monday, Sept. 20, 2010 –
AP Video: Stricken with cancer and fragile from chemotherapy, author and Slate columnist Christopher Hitchens is standing by his atheist beliefs: He will not take part in a prayer day devoted to him.
And Mr Hitchens wrote just a few days ago with praise for Talabani’s commutation (if it lasts) of the death sentence handed to Tariq Aziz.
Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani, opposes the death penalty for Tariq Aziz, one of Iraq’s worst enemies.
The fact that Aziz is a practicing Roman Catholic does not of course exempt him from Iraqi law even at its worst. But it’s clear what Talabani meant to say, in a month that saw a wave of savage pogroms against the Christian congregations of Baghdad. It would be nice if the heads of more regional governments, and the leaders of more Muslim communities, had condemned this barbarity. But as it is, the solidarity of a Sunni Kurdish Socialist is a prize more worth having.
I am aware of three appalling facts about Tariq Aziz that are not generally known. All three of them I learned from Ambassador Rolf Ekeus, the head of the United Nations inspection team in Iraq. The first is that Aziz offered direct face-to-face bribes to senior members of that inspectorate on the condition that they would “amend” their findings about weapons of mass destruction. The second is that he privately offered to “turn off” Iraqi state support for regional and international terrorist groups in return for concessions on the economic sanctions. (Both of these disclosures are obviously of wider application and interest, at least to those who still believe that WMD, terrorism, and Baathism are never to be mentioned in the same breath.) The third is that, in top-level discussions of Iraqi WMD, he more than once referred to the Iranians—past and until recently future targets of Saddam’s chemical arsenal—as “the Persian beasts.” Disgusting as these things are, they do not carry the death penalty.”
Personally, I’d like to know a little more about Rolf Ekeus’s information on Aziz.
Since both Tony Blair AND Christopher Hitchens believe that the USA , Britain and their allies did the right thing over Iraq, it’s the kind of information, that if clarified, could threaten to take over the debate on religion.
If there’s one thing that worries the literati in Britain it’s Iraq. It ain’t religion, even if it should be.
At Yale, Video – Tony Blair: The Global Media’s Coverage of Religious Extremism
- The Munk Debate, Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto
- Skeptical Science – Live webcast
- God debate – Hitchens & Blair
- Toronto Sun has a good article here, and the writer’s money is on Hitch. Excerpt:
‘Blair may be on the side of the angels — but my money’s on Hitchens. Never mind his razor wit, who the hell votes against a guy whose esophagus, lungs and lymph nodes are laced with cancer?’ and ‘At least he [Blair] didn’t draw the topic being considered for a future Munk Debates: “Be it resolved fundamentalist Islam is not a threat to the western world.” Yikes. Get out your helmets, high-brows.’
Now THAT’S a debate I really look forward to. That is what this one should be about. Perhaps it will be if Hitch has his way. In which case Tony, if you were to sound as though you were proposing this and Hitch were against, you’ve definitely lost it. You might as well get snowbound in Britain.
On the other hand, would Mr Blair speak for such a proposition? Clearly not. Back to the question in hand. That’s tougher still to win or to lose with minds made up already.
Since some readers might be interested I see the result as likely to be a draw, leaning slightly towards Blair’s position. No-one will persuade anyone. And Hitch is bound to get an element of the sympathy vote from the “Don’t Knows”. I just hope the 2,000 plus audience are balanced and honest in their “votes” at the start and at the end. We wouldn’t want anyone twisting the facts to skew the outcome. Now would we?
Winnipeg Free Press – Excerpt:
But even before the pair take to their podiums, their debate is causing a stir online among atheists.
“We really haven’t had any criticism emerging from religious groups. But the atheists have been very vocal in their support for Christopher Hitchens and their kind of condemnation of Tony Blair”
Ahhh, the generosity and certainties of the unbeliever. [Here speaketh an “unbeliever”.]
“In the end, he [Blair] made the lethal mistake of letting his tactical and public-relations instinct overrule his grander and braver one, and petitioned for a second UN resolution authorizing war, for no larger reason than that it would allow him to win over his own party. This was his last concession to Old Labour, which did this time have the electorate on its side. And it proved calamitous, because it involved producing all the half-true claims about Saddam’s “imminent threat” that later discredited the whole enterprise. When compared with the simultaneous contortions of Gerhard Schroeder and Jacques Chirac and Vladimir Putin, Blair’s attitude seems almost noble and was actuated by an authentic concern about preventing a Euro-American schism.”
Also referred to at John Rentoul’s where Hitchen’s comparison of Blair to other political leaders is selected. Excerpt:
“Measured by the base standard of his immediate predecessors as Labour prime minister, James Callaghan and Harold Wilson, Tony Blair was a man of almost inordinate attachment to principle.”
- Blair launches Haifa Human Rights Celebration
- Top Ten high Achievers in Politics – ONE Brit mentioned here.
Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here
“All countries need a leader who isn’t afraid to fight terrorism. I believe Mr. Blair did a necessary job in helping his allies. Are we all just supposed to lie down and wait for them to come for us, I don’t think so.”
And – “Mr. Blair is one of the finest politicians to have had the privilege of serving the United Kingdom, and Britons are fortunate to have had him as their Prime Minister. Time will show that Mr. Blair’s approach to affairs in the Middle East were and remain correct. From a member of the Commonwealth, thank you, Mr. Blair, for your continued service to legitimate and lasting (and not convenient or politically expedient) freedom.”
AND – “Tony Blair was the greatest Prime Minister since Winston Churchill and the only regret I have he didn’t get my vote as I live in Canada.”
AND – “I am sick and tired of television and radio interviewers asking the same old questions over and over, regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq, presumably they hope Mr Blair will let slip some secret information which they would then use against him. History will show if the decision was the right one, (I believe it was) but people must accept that Tony Blair is an honourable man, and made his decision based on the known facts and not with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.”