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

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Baroness Thatcher’s funeral is set for tomorrow in St Paul’s Cathedral, London at 11 am GMT. The preparation and “hype” behind this event has been enormous. The Queen and all past and present Prime Ministers in attendance; anticipated heavy traffic congestion and heightened security (4,000 officers); supporters camping on the street overnight and the pause of the Big Ben Clock tomorrow all tell us how huge this event is expected to be. The Boston bombings which killed 3 and injured many yesterday as the Boston Marathon was about to come to an end, has also heightened the security awareness in London, in anticipation of the funeral tomorrow and the London Marathon on Sunday.

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As our “Iron Lady” is buried tomorrow, it is important for us to reflect on her achievements and get more enlightened on her Christian views and opinions. The Margaret Thatcher Foundation presents to us a 1978 interview in which Thatcher explains her view of “religion and personal responsibility” Among other comments, she cited C. S. Lewis as an influence, and said:

“Methodism is the most marvelous evangelical faith and there is the most marvelous love and feeling for music in the Methodist Church which I think is greater than in the Anglican Church. But you sometimes feel the need for a slightly more formal service and perhaps a little bit more formality in the underlying theology too.
“So throughout my life I have felt the need for both things, to some extent for the informality, for the works you do; but always I found myself groping out for more of the actual teaching of the religious basis. As I say, I went for something a little more formal. I suppose it’s first one’s belief and then one’s background.”

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There were some debates few years back about whether the United Kingdom was a Christian country or not that had David Cameron telling the BBC that it was indeed a Christian country with the monarchy being full believers. Well, we wouldn’t go into such debate now, however it is important to learn from leaders and how they embrace Christ to achieve their leadership mandate. At times, these leaders may seem “controversial” or “imperfect” at times, but they did embrace God and we should learn from that. Elementary bible stories tell us about how David was a “man after God’s heart” but yet made so many mistakes while he was King of Israel. The mistakes leaders make, though important to learn from, should not make us overlook the lessons we can learn from how they became successful leaders in the first instance by obeying and following Christian principles. Margaret Thatcher may have made some mistakes or seemed cruel at sometimes but she was indeed a Christian leader and there are things worth learning from that.

Britain needs a prime minister now more than ever like Margaret Thatcher, one who can stand on the grounds of the Christian faith while delivering charismatic and transformational leadership to the nation. She was the last British prime minister to openly and boldly acknowledge the influence of Christianity on her thinking while her fellow Tories, John Major and David Cameron, have presented themselves as loyal but lukewarm Anglicans. But she was also the epitome of the capitalism we see today in Britain. Some of her achievements include the inflation rate falling from a high of 27% in 1975 to 2.4% in 1986 and the number of working days lost to strikes falling from 29m in 1979 to 2m in 1986. Also, tax rate fell from 83% to 40%, which makes us imagine how the United Kingdom would be without her, as today we complain of 40% tax rate. I believe therefore that this is a crucial time to hang on to Margaret Thatcher’s central perception: that for countries to flourish, people need to push back against the advance of the state. What the world needs now is more Thatcherism, not less.

Posted by Vaughan B

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