What a difference
This is mostly for Kriston's amusement, but, via Andrew Sullivan, some notes on the differences between religious discourse in public life in Britain and the U.S.
At the Dems' debate, there was an interchange of quotes from the Bible - Lieberman and Sharpton swapping chapters and verses. In most other countries, this kind of public theologizing would be unimaginable. "We don't do God here," remarked Tony Blair's media adviser in the middle of an interview of Blair by Vanity Fair's David Margolick. According to a story in the Times of London, Blair was even barred from ending one of his addresses to the nation during the war with "God bless you:"
While having make-up applied for his screen appearance on the eve of hostilities in Iraq, the Prime Minister reportedly told his staff: "I want to end with, 'God bless you'." At this point, according to The Times article, there was "a noisy team revolt in which every player appears to be complaining at once". Staff said that this was "not a good idea", to which an irritated Mr Blair - raising his voice - responded: "Oh no?" One unidentified member of the Blair team reportedly replied: "You are talking to lots of people who don't want chaplains pushing stuff down their throats." When the Prime Minister responded by saying: "You are the most ungodly lot I have ever . . .", his speechwriter Peter Hyman, who is Jewish, replied tartly: "Ungodly? Count me out."