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Margaret Thatcher Speech

By Editorial Staff
Published September 1, 1988

LONDON (FR) – Great Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who has already earned the reputation of a moral leader, made several outspoken professions of her Christian faith while addressing the leaders of the Church of Scotland on May 21, 1988. Her speech, which immediately drew strong criticism from her opponents in Parliament, argued for the adoption of Christian policy in regards to economics. “Christianity and Wealth,” the title of the address, is perhaps the most forthright statement of Christian economic policy ever made by a national leader in many decades.

In the debate that ensued Mrs. Thatcher’s address, her counselors were also attacked by leaders of the liberal Labor Party. The head of her Policy Unit, free market economist Brian Griffiths, is a devout evangelical Christian and the author of books such as Morality and the Market Place and The Creation of Wealth. He is also a professor of ethics at Gresham College. The following are some of the highlights of her memorable speech.

“And third, that Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, when faced with His terrible choice and lonely vigil, chose to lay down His life that our sins may be forgiven. I remember very well a sermon on Armistice Sunday when our preacher said: “No one took away the life of Jesus, He chose to lay it down.

“I think back to many discussions in my early life when we all agreed that if you try to take the fruits of Christianity without its roots, the fruits will wither. And they will not come again unless you nurture the roots. But 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 expressed so well in the hymn: ‘When I survey the wondrous Cross/ on which the Prince of Glory died/ My richest gain I count but loss/ and pour contempt on all my pride.’ “

“I believe that by taking together these key elements from the Old and New Testaments, we gain a view of the universe, a proper attitude to work and principles to shape economic and social life. 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.”

“That is the strong practical case for ensuring that children at school are given adequate instruction in the part which the Judaic-Christian tradition has played in molding our laws, manners, and institution. How can you make sense of Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott, or of the constitutional conflicts of the seventeenth century in both Scotland and England, without some such knowledge? But I go further than this. The truths of the Judaic-Christian tradition are infinitely precious, not only, as I believe because they are true, but also because they provide the moral impulse which alone can lead to that peace, in the true meaning of the word, for which we all long.”

“Nevertheless I am an enthusiast for democracy. And I take that position, not because I believe majority opinion is inevitably right or true – indeed no majority can take away God-given human rights – but because I believe it most effectively safeguards the value of the individual, and, more than any other system, restrains the abuse of power by the few. And that is a Christian concept.”

Although Mrs. Thatcher’s position on economics was labeled “the creed of greed” by her opponents after the speech, her lifestyle does not match the term. She has forfeited a considerable portion of her salary since 1979, refusing to accept over 11,000 pounds per year, totaling almost 100,000 pounds (or about $150,000). Her economic policies, emphasizing privatization and limited federal control, have revolutionized the British economy since she became Prime Minister.

Taken from a transcript of Mrs. Thatcher’s speech reprinted in Biblical Economics Today by the Institute for Christian Economics, Tyler, TX.

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Your comments are welcome!

God bless Mrs. Thatcher. She is a great lady! I love the message in her speech “Christianity and Wealth” The principals she spoke of are as true today as they were thirty years ago.

Posted by Michelle L. Thompson on 10/19/2008 09:33 PM #

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