Monday, 15 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher: "there ain't been a good'un since"

Of all the tributes that MP's gave to Thatcher at the recent recall, 2 stood out for me. The first was Malcolm Rifkind's which captured something of Thatcher's great wit. The second was Connor Burns' which had the following moving line:

Of course, no human mind, nor any conceivable computer, can calculate the sum total of my career in politics in terms of happiness, achievement and virtue. Nor, indeed, of their opposites. It follows, therefore, that the full accounting of how my political work affected the lives of others is something we will only know on Judgement Day. It is an awesome and unsettling thought.

Thatcher's Christian faith was something I'd heard little about prior to her death last week. However, having rooted around a little bit, I've discovered that her sense of civic responsibility was grounded in her deep Christian faith. During a speech before the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1988, she outlined three distinctives for Christians involved in politics. 

First, she said that Christians, realize they have been given the right to choose between good and evil. Second, that Christians are those who recognize that humans are made in God’s image and are responsible to use “power of thought and judgement” in making that choice. Third, she said Christians are inspired by Christ’s choice to freely die for our forgiveness of sins.  As she helpfully put it:
Christians must not profess the Christian faith and go to church simply because we want social reforms and benefits for a better standard of behaviour but because we accept the sanctity of life, the responsibility that comes with freedom, and the supreme sacrifice of Christ.
As part of the speech, she also emphasized the renewing work of Christ for those who choose to accept Him and she also urged believers to keep united the connection between faith and good works, and to be cautious of any social or cultural attempt to dissect good works from their Christian foundation. “Good works are not enough because it would be like trying to cut a flower from its root,” she said. “The flower would soon die because there would be nothing to revive it."

Connor Burns is right: "There aint been a good'un since. Listen to his funny and moving tribute below.

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