John Hayward Posted: 4 July 2011
Keywords: Government & Foreign Affairs,
Former American president Ronald Reagan has today joined the ranks of other world leaders such as Mandela, Wellington, Nelson, Churchill, Lincoln, and Roosevelt whose statues adorn the streets of London. The base of the 10-foot bronze statue is engraved with words attributed to Margaret Thatcher: 'Ronald Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot.'
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony outside the American Embassy, in Grosvenor Square, former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice noted how the collapse of the Soviet Union should give encouragement to those seeking greater freedom today in the Middle East and north Africa:
'When we think of how impossible that might have seemed it gives us hope and optimism to face other situations that seem today impossible. It gives us hope and optimism to continue to stand for those who are still trapped in tyranny. It gives us optimism and will to stand with those who profess faith in our values, who have the courage to act on them and whose irrepressible spirit is playing out throughout the Middle East and beyond.'
Of course, the freedom agenda is not simply about establishing a new world order based on peace and democracy. Alexis de Tocqueville warned against a ‘tyranny of the majority,' while the Roman Catholic J.V. Schall argued we must now recognise a 'democratic tyranny': ‘The danger of democratic tyranny lies in precisely the inability to recognise what is good and what is evil.' Theologian Michael Ovey discussed this in our paper Beyond scrutiny? Minorities, majorities and post-modern tyranny:
'A particularly acute example of the state's benevolently-meant but tyrannical activity is in education. In the UK, the state's assumptions of responsibility in areas of sex education and ‘good citizenship', even if well-intentioned, risk being tyrannical both as it ‘relieves' parents of responsibilities that properly lie with them and as it introduces its own agenda of good citizenship. In France, the prohibition of certain styles of dress in schools again introduces a principle by which the state can displace the parent in a child's upbringing. Here, education can manifest a double ‘tyranny': that of parents refusing responsibilities of instruction on the grounds the state will discharge them, and that of the state inculcating values of liberal secular pluralism. Again, the UK is currently seeing significant erosion of Christian freedoms: Christian freedom of association is potentially impacted by recent legislation making employment of specifically Christian staff more difficult. Christian freedom of speech is pressured by categorising the public statement of some Christian moral positions as hate crimes.'
As history professor John Coffey concluded in his paper on reclaiming a biblical theology of liberation, 'we need to recover an integrated vision of the gospel as a message of liberation 'from every kind of oppression.'' For ultimately, President George W Bush was right: ‘History…has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of liberty.’ That is to say, our most radical bondage is our enslavement to sin and death, and at the heart of the gospel is the claim that ‘Christ died for our sins’ (1 Corinthians 15:3).