In the wake of his fall from grace at home, Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation is making connections in the U.S. with pastors like Rick Warren in order to promote understanding between different faiths. “With Afghanistan and Iraq casting a shadow over his popularity at home in Britain, Blair’s focus has increasingly shifted across the Atlantic, to where the nexus of faith and power is immutable and he is feted like a rock star. According to the annual accounts of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, a UK-based charity that promotes cohesion between the major faiths, the foundation is to develop a US arm that will pursue a host of faith-based projects. The accounts show that his foundation has an impressive – and, in at least one case, controversial – set of faith contacts. Sitting on some £4.5m in funds as of April last year, mostly gathered through donations, it is now well placed to make its voice heard. The foundation’s advisory council of religious leaders includes Rick Warren, powerful founder of the California-based Saddleback church. It attracts congregations of nearly 20,000 and is reportedly one of the largest in the US. Warren, who has addressed the UN and the World Economic Forum in Davos, has been named one of the ’15 world leaders who matter most’ and one of the ‘100 most influential people in the world’. His influence was confirmed in December 2008 when Barack Obama chose him to give the invocation at his presidential inauguration.”
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