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Sermon on the Mound

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photograph of a 64-year-old Thatcher
Thatcher reviewin the Royal Bermuda Regiment, earlie 1990

The Sermon on the Mound wis the name gien bi the Scots press tae an speech bi Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher tae the General Assembly o the Kirk o Scotland on 21 May 1988.[1] The name is a mocking reference to Jesus Christ's Sermon on the Mount an the Mound in Edinburgh, whar the Assembly hall stands,[2] an the fact that Thatcher wis preachin tae a kirk an naition whilk rejectit her ideology forby.[3] Thatcher hersel didnae like this play on words.[4]

Context[eedit | eedit soorce]

The Assembly on the Mound, taken fae Princes Street in Edinburgh

Protestantism is maistlins represented in Scotland bi the Presbyterian Scots Kirk, whilk wis established as the Scots naitional Kirk in 1707 an haes gien muckle inpit tae the naitional self-confidence o the Scots. The Kirk hae bin seen bi mony tae offer a pluralistic readin o Christianity. Acause o its openness to ither Christian denominations, religions an opinions, the Assembly is newlins a place for mony public speeches and sermons.[5] Syne there wis no Scots Pairlament whan Thatcher spak, the General Assembly o the Scots Kirk wis the closest thing Scotland haed to a naitional political assembly.[6]

Outthrou her leadership, Thatcher's rhetoric, amang ither things, aft uised Christian motifs more than ither British leaders wha cam afore.[5] Her paraphrase o St. Francis o Assisi's prayer when she becam Prime Minister ("Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is discord, may we bring hope.") is yin o her maist kenspeckle quotes.[7][8]

Durin her three terms as Prime Minister, she uised pairts o the Auld Testament spiritual lair in her speeches; these speeches becam Thatcher's trademark. She tuik a clear position on the kirk in general societie an aw, sayin that it shoud support the state an work for the orderly enforcement o the law.[9]

Thatcher's third and hindermaist term wis fae 1987 til 1990. This speel wis marked bi mony political and economic changes, for ensample a reform o the Naitional Heal Service. Fest-paced economic growth causit interest rates tae double in 1988 whan Thatcher gae her speech.[9] The ill-leukit-upon poll tax startit in Scotland an aw; industrie wis declinin; the Ravenscraig steelworks wis closit; the miners hae bin on strike, and whiles mony jobs went awa, fowk in tred unions were told in the 'sermon' tae value individualism.[1]

Content[eedit | eedit soorce]

Jesus sits atop a mount, preaching to a crowd
Sermon on the Mount, bi Carl Bloch, 1877, depicts Jesus' important discourse

Thatcher began bi tellin her audience that she wis speakin "personally as a Christian, as weel as a politician", afore gaun tae share her view that the Bible shored a "view o the universe, a proper attitude tae wirk, an principles tae shape economic an social life".[10] In the address, she offerit a theological airgument for her ideas on individual salvation, personal responsibility caipitalism an the mercat economy. Citin a view that "Christianity is anent spiritual redemption, no social reform," she quotit St. Paul in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, "gin ony man wadna work, neither soud he eat".[1][11] Thatcher claimed the Bible fordert a guid work ethic, an principles fur shapin economic an social life.[10]

Legacy[eedit | eedit soorce]

The speech wis said to hae markit the beginnin o the end o Tory rule in Scotland, as mony felt the speech's focus on individualism wis a fremmit political creed to Scotland an the Scots Kirk clockit wi'in theological an religious discurse. Thatcher wis accusat for lecturing kirk leiders on theologie an aw.[6]

Her quotin frae the Kirk o Ingland hymn I Vow to Thee, My Country (yin o Thatcher's favorite hymns)[12] was later criticised in 2004 by the suffragan bishop o Hulme, Stephen Lowe, for its content. He found the first stanzas to be naitionalistic, heretical an racist, whilk directit the Christian focus awa fae God an toward the state.[9][13]

References[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. a b c PM addresses Church of Scotland (in Inglis), BBC News, 19 Mey 2008, retrieved 13 September 2008
  2. Crines, Andrew S.; Heppell, Timothy; Dorey, Peter (2016). The Political Rhetoric and Oratory of Margaret Thatcher (in Inglis). Springer. p. 200. ISBN 978-1-137-45384-6.
  3. Maddox, David (9 Apryle 2013), "Margaret Thatcher's 'Sermon on the Mound'", The Scotsman (in Inglis), retrieved 25 Mey 2018
  4. "Interview for Scotland on Sunday". Margaret Thatcher Foundation. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  5. a b Grace Davie: Religion in Britain. A persistent paradox. 2nd Edition. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester 2015, ISBN 978-1-4051-3595-5, pp. 100.
  6. a b Crawley, William (5 Mey 2009). "Thatcher's 'sermon on the mound'". BBC blogs (in Inglis). Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  7. Matthijs, Matthias M. (2012). Ideas and Economic Crises in Britain from Attlee to Blair (1945-2005) (in Inglis). Routledge. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-136-90789-0.
  8. Wells, Samuel (2018). Incarnational Mission: Being with the world (in Inglis). Canterbury Press. p. 205. ISBN 978-1-78622-036-3.
  9. a b c Peter Childs (27 September 2006). Texts. Contemporary Cultural Texts and Critical Approaches. Edinburgh University Press. p. 96, 99-100. ISBN 978-0-7486-2043-2.
  10. a b Susie Turner (9 Apryle 2013). "Margaret Thatcher, the politician and Christian". www.christiantoday.com (in Inglis).
  11. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 in Smith, William Wye (1904). The New Testament in Braid Scots. Publisher Paisley: Alexander Gardner. Accessed via Internet Archive (public domain).
  12. Charles Moore (3 October 2019). Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, Volume Three: Herself Alone (in Inglis). Penguin Books Limited. p. 649. ISBN 978-0-241-32475-2.
  13. Oliver, Mark (12 August 2004). "Hymn has racist overtones, says bishop". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2020.

Further readin[eedit | eedit soorce]

  • Forrester, Duncan (August 1988). "Sermon on the Mound". Third Way (in Inglis). Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd. 11 (8): 13. Retrieved 17 September 2020.