Tony Blair’s spin chief Alastair Campbell famously declared “we don’t do God”. And the prime minister got very cross with Jeremy Paxman when he asked if he prayed with George Bush.
Meanwhile the US President attracted serious criticism when he suggested God told him to “end the tyranny” in Iraq.
So it must come as no surprise to Tony Blair that his remarks – made on ITV1’s Parkinson programme – about being judged by God for his actions in Iraq have sparked a storm of protest.
It raises the prospect of inflaming Arab opinion which often links Christian western leaders with suggestions of a “crusade” – a charge already levelled at President Bush. Others have asked how a Christian can defend war and sending soldiers and civilians to their death.
And it has raised a very old and very thorny question over the role of religion in politics.
Supporters, such as MP Steven Pound, have pointed out the prime minister is no longer facing election and was simply telling the truth about his personal beliefs.
The other side of that coin is the suggestion from others that the prime minister did not “do God” previously because he feared it might damage him in the polls…