Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tony Blair's conversion to Catholicism and immigration in the U.K.

Tony Blair is a formidable man. Much of his strengh comes from his amazingly intelligent, articulate and powerful wife, Cherie. He was beloved in my country of origin for his tenacity, wit, intellect and persuasion skills.

Tony and Cherie had a "mixed marriage" he was Church of England, I think, and Cherie is Catholic - I had not heard that term "mixed marriage" to describe what I had historically known as "interracial marriages" - that is individuals marrying out of their race, as had I some 23 years ago.

The question is - why did he wait until he stepped down as Prime Mister before converting to Catholicism - the religion of his wife? Would the British public have sanctioned him, called for his impeachment? I would hope not. I have not lived in England for some 26 years or so. I am however saddened to hear Mr. Blair speak of not allowing Moslem women to wear their sacred clothing - the Hajab. Would he consider telling Christians not to wear crosses or crucifixes? What about Jews? Would their sacred Star of David be off limits too?

Where does freedom of religion begin and where does it end?

I heard recently an Englishwoman speak about how America is a Christian nation (I have no idea what tabloid she got that information from) and that those who come here or to England should (assimilate) and get with the program, and not wear their religious clothing - this even as she wears a beautiful cross around her neck.

I just moved to New York. I am a fairly intelligent person, speak 3 languages and am having a very difficult time navigating the Westchester county bus (it depends on how the day is going for the customer service rep on the other end of the line). The staff at the Transit Center in White Plains are only too happy to accomodate. The MTA staff are clearly frustrated, suffer from low morale and make it a tad too difficult for me to navigate the system. I use the Internet instead, except their schedules are several months old - older than the schedules that are sporadically available on some buses.

I wonder how Americans would fare overseas without their military bases, embassies, international schools, and other enclaves.

I wonder why we expect and even DEMAND that newcomers to the country speak OUR language. I am having a difficult enough time speaking English as a first language, and understanding what on earth I am supposed to do.

But hey - it is just one person's opinion

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