This morning's Sunday Telegraph has one of the best headlines ever today with "Tony Blair: Mention God and you're a 'nutter'". In the next episode of the BBC's Blair Years he apparently says,
"It's difficult if you talk about religious faith in our political system... If you are in the American political system or others then you can talk about religious faith and people say 'yes, that's fair enough' and it is something they respond to quite naturally.Blair is absolutely right about the difference between the US and UK, and if you think about it for a second it's actually quite odd. In the US, you have a nation state that constitutionally separated the church by removing the right of Congress to make laws which established any religion. As a result religion and politics sit side by side quite happily, and does anyone doubt that the US is a majority Christian country? There is no legally established religion, but there is an established religion.
"You talk about it in our system and, frankly, people do think you're a nutter. I mean … you may go off and sit in the corner and … commune with the man upstairs and then come back and say 'right, I've been told the answer and that's it'."
Meanwhile in the UK, we have a nation the state that continues to have the church intrinsically linked to it, which seems to have led to an unspoken convention that talking about God is strictly off limits for politicians. Effectively the disestablishment in the US Constitution appears to have created a greater dominance of religion over political power, whilst maintaining the system that the US Constitution sought to end has had the opposite effect in the UK.
Or maybe Britain is just a nation of part-time atheists?