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Tony Blair says world leaders must recognize role of faith

Catholic World News - June 30, 2011

Former British prime minister Tony Blair argues that “the rights of religious minorities are a central issue for today,” in an interview with Vatican Insider.

Blair explains that his new foundation is dedicated to helping world leaders recognize the critical importance of religious faith; he argues that leaders ignorant of religion will be unequal to the task. “The core concept we are dealing with here is equal citizenship,” Blair says. He explains his vision:

Whatever a citizen’s religion, they should have the same opportunity to participate in the life of the nation, as well as the same property rights, absence of “glass ceilings” in employment, and, of course, freedom of worship without any impediments at national or local level. No nation or state, community or family, can dispense with shared values. Freedom of religion means that each religion has a right to the outward manifestation of its core values.

Blair admits that some knotty issues arise when the religious principles of some believers conflict with those of others, or with those of their secularized neighbors. He argues that there is a broad consensus on many issues. At the same time, Blair is notably cautious in his comments on the role that the Catholic Church can and should play in public affairs.

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