The faith of Margaret Thatcher remembered

by Institute on Religion and Democracy

Raised a devout Methodist who later joined the Church of England, Margaret Thatcher vigorously applied her Christian faith to her public

life as one of the most important and successful leaders of the Cold War era.

Thatcher outlined her public theology in her 1988 speech to the Church of Scotland, where she explained the Bible offers a “view of the universe, a proper attitude to work, and principles to shape economic and social life.” She said: “We are told we must work and use our talents to create wealth. ‘If a man will not work he shall not eat’ wrote St. Paul to the Thessalonians. Indeed, abundance rather than poverty has a legitimacy which derives from the very nature of Creation.”

In her speech, Thatcher said Christianity doesn’t offer political and economic specifics. But “any set of social and economic arrangements which is not founded on the acceptance of individual responsibility will do nothing but harm.”

And Thatcher insisted: “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; but because we accept the sanctity of life, the responsibility that comes with freedom and the supreme sacrifice of Christ.

IRD President Mark Tooley commented:

“Thatcher’s faith and leadership helped revive a nation, peacefully win the Cold War, and promote global human rights ultimately based on biblical principles of human dignity and responsibility. God bless her memory.

“Let’s pray that churches of today are spiritually nurturing future such leaders as did British Methodism in Thatcher’s early years.”

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