Margaret Thatcher: A Woman of Faith? [Part I]

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The Economist notes Thatcher’s “Sermon on the Mound,” her “impassioned” defense of “individual salvation over social reform, the legitimacy of moneymaking when combined with altruism and the responsibility that comes with freedom and the supreme sacrifice of Christ”.

The response from the United Kingdom and the world at large has been mixed following the death of the UK’s first female Prime Minister – Baroness Margaret Thatcher, commonly referred to as the ‘Iron Lady’ on Monday, the 8th of April, 2013 at age 87. Though different political leaders around the world and the people she led have different views in assessing her leadership and how she displayed “Thatcherism” (as she has her own ‘-ism’ which effectively displaced corporatism in Britain), we would rather review how well Christianity impacted her as a person and how this impact was reflected in her leadership regime as Prime Minister.

Margaret Thatcher’s funeral will be held on Wednesday the 17th of April 2013, an event that will make London so busy that the Metropolitan Police are being prepared for ‘the biggest security operation since the Olympics’. An event big enough to have dignitaries such as Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth 11 among a hundred others from around the world in attendance. An event big enough that even the UK Hollywood premiere of blockbuster film Iron Man 3 which was to be held on Wednesday has been moved to Thursday so as to avoid clashing with the funeral. Traffic is expected to be high on that day, with some routes being blocked as invited guests, friends and family of our beloved Baroness embark on a procession to Trafalgar Square with security expected to be very high.

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Obituaries are flooding the internet and Cranmer, (a British blog on religion and politics) notes, “Few obituaries are likely to mention her devout Christian faith, which was the foundation of her political programme and the bedrock of her conviction for less government, lower taxes, more freedom and greater personal responsibility”.

The quotation above rounds up the many statements that Thatcher made on faith and politics over her career, including a 1988 speech given at the “zenith of her power” (in Cranmer’s estimation). “We must not profess the Christian faith and go to Church simply because we want social reforms and benefits or a better standard of behavior,” Thatcher told the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1988, “but because we accept the sanctity of life, the responsibility that comes with freedom and the supreme sacrifice of Christ”.

Watch out for the 2nd and final part of this Christian perspective on Britain’s ‘Iron Lady’ Baroness Margaret Thatcher. In the meanwhile be sure to tell us what you think.

Posted by Vaughan B

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