Speech to Christ Church Youth Fellowship
|Document type:||public statement|
|Source:||Finchley Press, 20 December 1963|
|Themes:||Parliament, Civil liberties, Education, Religion/Morality, Social security and welfare|
The MP's beliefs
Parliament is not a place where Christians and non-Christians are segregated," said Mrs. Margaret Thatcher M.P., speaking to Christ Church Youth Fellowship on Sunday evening, on "What it means to be a Christian Member of Parliament." As a whole, however, members had strong religious beliefs, but decisions in the House between right and wrong could not always be made from the religious point of view. If that were so, life would be easy. It was rather in the ethical sense that some questions had to be decided. For instance, one could not make a religious decision on a lorry route through Finchley, or soaring blocks of flats at Whetstone.
Mrs. Thatcher said that she believed the nation benefited as a whole in Church and State being closely allied. The five minute prayers in the House pointed the way to Christianity. On the question of teaching the young, the speaker said that here parents had a responsibility. She was not in agreement with the idea that religion should not be taught until children could think and decide for themselves. The fact that they were given religious instruction—and she believed in it as part of the school curriculum—when young, meant that it was there to be revived, if necessary, later on.
"You cannot teach people freedom and democracy on an empty stomach," said Mrs. Thatcher. As a Christian nation, Britain realised this in its provision for the needy in the Welfare State.
"A good dose of Christianity" was not the cure for all ills; it could not be handed out like penicillin. It was not so easy as that. Christianity, Mrs. Thatcher told the young people, came first within one-self, secondly in one's relationship to others, thirdly in one's purpose in life.