Reagan's Faith & Politics: Warning of Socialism, Secularism, & Abortion
Ronald Reagan was born FEBRUARY 6, 1911.
A graduate of Eureka College, IL, 1932, he worked as a life guard, having 77 rescues.
He then announced for radio stations in Iowa.
He became a sports announcer for WHO radio, covering Chicago Cubs baseball games, and then traveled with the team.
While with the Cubs in California, Ronald Reagan auditioned with Warner Brothers, landing a contract doing "B films."
He was a Captain in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.
During his career as an actor, Ronald Reagan appeared in over 50 films, including Dark Victory; Knute Rockne, All American; This is the Army, and Kings Row.
He married Jane Wyman in 1940, and had children Maureen, Christine (died a day old) and Michael (adopted).
Reagan was elected President of the Screen Actors Guild.
His second marriage was to Nancy Davis in 1952, and they had children Patti and Ron.
He switched from Democrat to Republican, and was elected Governor of California, 1967-1975.
When he began running for President, some conservatives did not support him because he was the first Presidential candidate who had been divorced.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected the 40th U.S. President, being the second oldest person elected to that position.
He was 69 years old when elected, and 69 days after his inauguration, he survived an assassination attempt.
Ronald Reagan stated in 1961:
"One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It's very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project ...
James Madison in 1788 ... said ... 'There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations' ...
What can we do about this? ... We can write to our congressmen and our senators ... Say right now that we want no further encroachment on these individual liberties and freedoms ... We do not want socialized medicine ...
If you don't, this program I promise you will pass ... and behind it will come other federal programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known ... until, one day ... we will awake to find that we have socialism.
And ... you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children, what it once was like in America when men were free."
At St. John's University in New York, March 28, 1985, Reagan repeated one of President Gerald Ford's famous phrases:
"Government that is big enough to give you everything you want is more likely to simply take everything you've got."
Reagan remarked to the Heritage Council, Warren, Michigan, October 10, 1984:
"Henry David Thoreau was right: that government is best which governs least."
In his 1964 speech, "A Time for Choosing," Ronald Reagan stated:
"I suggest to you there is no left or right, only an up or down.
Up to the maximum of individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism;
and regardless of their humanitarian purpose, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have, whether they know it or not, chosen this downward path."
On March 20, 1981, at the Conservative Political Action Conference Dinner, Mayflower Hotel, Washington, DC, Ronald Reagan stated:
"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid.
That's why the Marxist vision of man without God must eventually be seen as an empty and a false faith -- the second oldest in the world -- first proclaimed in the Garden of Eden with whispered words ...'Ye shall be as gods.'
The crisis of the Western world ... exists to the degree in which it is indifferent to God."
Reagan stated in Beijing, China, April 27, 1984:
"I have seen the rise of fascism and communism. Both philosophies glorify the arbitrary power of the state ... But both theories fail.
Both deny those God-given liberties that are the inalienable right of each person on this planet, indeed, they deny the existence of God."
In his autobiography, An American Life (Simon & Schuster, 1990, p. 409), Reagan warned of the danger of Islamic fundamentalists acquiring nuclear weapons:
"Radical fundamentalist sects ... have institutionalized murder and terrorism in the name of God, promising followers instant entry into paradise if they die for their faith or kill an enemy who challenges it.
Twice in recent years, America has lost loyal allies in the Middle East, the shah of Iran and Anwar Sadat, at the hands of these fanatics.
I don't think you can overstate the importance that the rise of Islamic fundamentalism will have to the rest of the world in the century ahead -- especially if, as seems possible, its most fanatical elements get their hands on nuclear and chemical weapons and the means to deliver them against their enemies."
On May 17, 1982, in a proposed Constitutional Amendment on Prayer in Schools, President Reagan stated:
"Our liberty springs from and depends upon an abiding faith in God."
On February 3, 1983, President Reagan signed Proclamation 5018 (97 STAT. 1545) designating 1983 the Year of the Bible:
“By the President of the United States of America
Of the many influences that have shaped the United States of America into a distinctive Nation and people, none may be said to be more fundamental and enduring than the Bible.
Deep religious beliefs stemming from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible inspired many of the early settlers of our country, providing them with the strength, character, convictions, and faith necessary to withstand great hardship and danger in this new and rugged land.
These shared beliefs helped forge a sense of common purpose among the widely dispersed colonies — a sense of community which laid the foundation for the spirit of nationhood that was to develop in later decades.
The Bible and its teachings helped form the basis for the Founding Fathers' abiding belief in the inalienable rights of the individual, rights which they found implicit in the Bible's teachings of the inherent worth and dignity of each individual.
This same sense of man patterned the convictions of those who framed the English system of law inherited by our own Nation, as well as the ideals set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
For centuries the Bible's emphasis on compassion and love for our neighbor has inspired institutional and governmental expressions of benevolent outreach such as private charity, the establishment of schools and hospitals, and the abolition of slavery ..."
Reagan's Proclamation continued:
"Many of our greatest national leaders — among them Presidents Washington, Jackson, Lincoln, and Wilson — have recognized the influence of the Bible on our country's development.
The plainspoken Andrew Jackson referred to the Bible as no less than ‘the rock on which our Republic rests.’
Today our beloved America and, indeed, the world, is facing a decade of enormous challenge. As a people we may well be tested as we have seldom, if ever, been tested before.
We will need resources of spirit even more than resources of technology, education, and armaments.
There could be no more fitting moment than now to reflect with gratitude, humility, and urgency upon the wisdom revealed to us in the writing that Abraham Lincoln called ‘the best gift God has ever given to man … But for it we could not know right from wrong.’
The Congress of the United States, in recognition of the unique contribution of the Bible in shaping the history and character of this Nation, and so many of its citizens, has requested the President to designate the year 1983 as the ‘Year of the Bible.’
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RONALD REAGAN, President of the United States of America, in recognition of the contributions and influence of the Bible on our Republic and our people, do hereby proclaim 1983 the Year of the Bible in the United States.
I encourage all citizens, each in his or her own way, to reexamine and rediscover its priceless and timeless message.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of February, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and seventh. RONALD REAGAN"
President Reagan told the National Religious Broadcasters, January 30, 1984:
"I was pleased last year to proclaim 1983 the Year of the Bible.
But, you know, a group called the ACLU severely criticized me for doing that. Well, I wear their indictment like a badge of honor.
I believe I stand in pretty good company. Abraham Lincoln called the Bible 'the best gift God has given to man. But for it,' he said, 'we could not know right from wrong.'"
On October 13, 1983, in a Q & A session with women leaders of Christian religious organizations, President Ronald Reagan stated:
"As I'm president, your group and others who stand up for our Judeo-Christian values will be welcomed here, because you belong here ...
No greater truth shines through than the one you live by every day: that preserving America must begin with faith in the God who has blessed our land.
And we don't have the answers; He does. Isaiah reminded us that 'the Lord opens His gates and keeps in peace the nation that trusts in Him ...'
"Nelle Reagan, my mother, God rest her soul, had an unshakable faith in God's goodness. And while I may not have realized it in my youth, I know now that she planted that faith very deeply in me.
She made the most difficult Christian message seem very easy. And, like you, she knew you could never repay one bad deed with another. Her way was forgiveness and goodness, and both began with love ...
Well, thanks to Nelle Reagan, I believe in intercessory prayer. And I know that those prayers are giving me strength that I otherwise would not possess ..."
"The Founding Fathers believed that faith in God was the key to our being a good people and America's becoming a great nation. George Washington kissed the Bible at his inauguration.
And to those who would have government separate from religion, he had these words: 'Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles...'"
"And Benjamin Franklin, at the time when they were struggling with what was to be the American Constitution, finally one day said to those who were working with him that, 'Without God's help, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.'
And if we ever forget that, we're lost ..."
Reagan stated further:
"I pray that we won't lose that idea, and that's why I was motivated to proclaim or designate 1983 the Year of the Bible ...
And I hope we will also recognize the true meaning of the First Amendment. Its words were meant to guarantee freedom of religion to everyone.
But I believe the First Amendment has been twisted to the point that freedom of religion is in danger of becoming freedom from religion ..."
"Finally, let me just say a few words about another part of freedom that is under siege: the sanctity of human life.
Either the law protects human beings, or it doesn't ...
Will she be denied her chance for love and life because someone decides she's too weak to warrant our help, or because someone has taken it upon himself or herself to decide the quality of her life doesn't justify keeping her alive?
Is that not God's decision to make? And isn't it our duty to serve even the least of these, for in so doing we serve Him?"
Reagan wrote in his article, "Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation," The Human Life Review, 1983:
"Lincoln recognized that we could not survive as a free land when some men could decide that others were not fit to be free and should be slaves ...
Likewise, we cannot survive as a free nation when some men decide that others are not fit to live and should be abandoned to abortion."
On January 31, 1983, at the annual convention of the National Religious Broadcasters, President Ronald Reagan stated:
“Let us come together, Christians and Jews, let us pray together, march, lobby, and mobilize every force we have, so that we can end the tragic taking of unborn children's lives.
Who among us can imagine the excruciating pain the unborn must feel as their lives are snuffed away? …
I read in the Washington Post about a young woman named Victoria. She's with child, and she said, ‘In this society we save whales, we save timber wolves and bald eagles and Coke bottles. Yet everyone wanted me to throw away my baby.’
Well, Victoria's story has a happy ending. Her baby will be born. Victoria has received assistance from a Christian couple, and from Sav-ALife, a new Dallas group run by Jim McKee ...
They're living the meaning of the two great commandments: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might’ and ‘Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself ...'"
"When American reach out for values of faith, family, and caring for the needy, they're saying, ‘We want the Word of God. We want to face the future with the Bible.’
We're blessed to have its words of strength, comfort, and truth. I'm accused of being simplistic at times with some of the problems that confront us.
But I've often wondered: Within the covers of that single Book are all the answers to all the problems that face us today, if we'd only look there. ‘The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the word of our God shall stand forever.’
It's my firm belief that the enduring values, as I say, presented in its pages have a great meaning for each of us and for our nation. The Bible can touch our hearts, order our minds, refresh our souls.
Now, I realize it's fashionable in some circles to believe that no one in government should ... encourage others to read the Bible ... We're told that will violate the constitutional separation of church and state established by the founding fathers in the First Amendment.
Well, it might interest those critics to know that none other than the father of our country, George Washington, kissed the Bible at his inauguration.
And he also said words to the effect that there could be no real morality in a society without religion.
John Adams called it ‘the best book in the world,’ and Ben Franklin said,
‘... the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men ... without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel; we shall be divided by our little, partial, local interests, our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach, a bye-word down to future ages’ …"
"All of us, as Protestants, Catholics, and Jews, have a special responsibility to remember our fellow believers who are being persecuted in other lands. We're all children of Abraham. We're children of the same God ...
This year, for the first time in history, the Voice of America broadcast a religious service worldwide - Christmas Eve at the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.
Now, these broadcasts are not popular with government of totalitarian power. But make no mistake, we have a duty to broadcast.
Aleksandr Herzen, the Russian writer, warned, ‘To shrink from saying a word in defense of the oppressed is as bad as any crime.’
Well, I pledge to you that America will stand us, speak out, and defend the values we share. To those who would crush religious freedom, our message is plain: You may jail your believers.
You may close their churches, confiscate their Bibles, and harass their rabbis and priests, but you will never destroy the love of God and freedom that burns in their hearts. They will triumph over you ..."
Continuing his address to the National Religious Broadcasters, Reagan stated:
"Malcolm Muggeridge, the brilliant English commentator, has written, ‘The most important happening in the world today is the resurgence of Christianity in the Soviet Union, demonstrating that the whole effort sustained over sixty years to brainwash the Russian people into accepting materialism has been a fiasco.’
Think of it: the most awesome military machine in history, but it is not match for that one single man, hero, strong yet tender, Prince of Peace. His name alone, Jesus, can lift our hearts, soothe our sorrows, heal our wounds, and drive away our fears ...
With His message and with your conviction and commitment, we can still move mountains ..."
"Before I say goodbye, I wanted to leave with you these words from an old Netherlands folk song, because they made me think of our meeting here today:
‘We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing;
We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender wilt be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation:
Thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!’
To which I would only add a line from another song:
‘America, America, God shed His grace on thee.’"
Ronald Reagan addressed Temple Hillel and Community Leaders in Valley Stream, October 26, 1984:
"And we’re also remembering the guiding light of our Judeo-Christian tradition.
All of us here today are descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, sons and daughters of the same God.
I believe we are bound by faith in our God, by our love for family and neighborhood, by our deep desire for a more peaceful world, and by our commitment to protect the freedom which is our legacy as Americans."
On August 7, 1982, President Reagan wrote a letter to his dying, atheist Father-in-Law, Dr. Loyal Davis:
I hope you’ll forgive me for this, but I’ve been wanting to write you ever since we talked on the phone. I am aware of the strain you are under and believe with all my heart there is help for that.
First I want to tell you of a personal experience I’ve kept to myself for a long time. During my first year as Governor you’ll recall the situation I found in Calif. was almost as bad as the one in Wash. today. It seemed as if the problems were endless and insolvable.
Then I found myself with an ulcer. In all those years at Warner Bros., no one had been able to give me an ulcer and I felt ashamed as if it were a sign of weakness on my part. John Sharpe had me on Malox and I lived with a constant pain that ranged from discomfort to extremely sharp attacks.
This went on for months. I had a bottle of Maalox in my desk, my briefcase and of course at home. Then one morning I got up, went into the bathroom, reached for the bottle as always and some thing happened. I knew I didn’t need it. I had gone to bed with the usual pain the night before but I knew that morning I was healed. The Malox went back on the shelf.
That morning when I arrived at the office Helene brought me my mail.
The first letter I opened was from a lady — a stranger — in the Southern part of the state. She had written to tell me she was one of a group who met every day to pray for me.
Believe it or not, the second letter was from a man, again a stranger, in the other end of the state telling me he was part of a group that met weekly to pray for me.
Within the hour a young fellow from the legal staff came into my office on some routine matter. On the way out he paused in the door and said: 'Gov. I think maybe you’d like to know — some of us on the staff come in early every morning and get together to pray for you.'
Coincidence? I don’t think so. A couple of weeks later Nancy and I went down to L.A. and had our annual checkup. John Sharpe, a little puzzled, told me I no longer had an ulcer but added there was no indication I’d ever had one. Word of honor — I never told him about that particular day in Sacramento ..."
"There is a line in the Bible — 'Where ever two or more are gathered in my name there will I be also.'
Loyal I know of your feeling — your doubt but could I just impose on you a little longer?
Some seven hundred years before the birth of Christ the ancient Jewish prophets predicted the coming of a Messiah. They said he would be born in a lowly place, would proclaim himself the Son of God and would be put to death for saying that.
All in all there were a total of one hundred and twenty three specific prophesies about his life all of which came true. Crucifixion was unknown in those times, yet it was foretold that he would be nailed to a cross of wood. And one of the predictions was that he would be born of a Virgin ..."
Reagan ended his letter to his father-in-law:
"Now I know that is probably the hardest for you as a Dr. to accept. The only answer that can be given is — a miracle.
But Loyal I don’t find that as great a miracle as the actual history of his life. Either he was who he said he was or he was the greatest faker & charlatan who ever lived. But would a liar & faker suffer the death he did when all he had to do to save himself was admit he’d been lying?
The miracle is that a young man of 30 yrs. without credentials as a scholar or priest began preaching on street corners. He owned nothing but the clothes on his back & he didn’t travel beyond a circle less than one hundred miles across. He did this for only 3 years and then was executed as a common criminal.
But for two thousand years he has ... had more impact on the world than all the teachers, scientists, emperors, generals and admirals who ever lived, all put together.
The apostle John said, 'For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that who so ever believed in him would not perish but have everlasting life.'
We have been promised that all we have to do is ask God in Jesus name to help when we have done all we can — when we’ve come to the end of our strength and abilities and we’ll have that help. We only have to trust and have faith in his infinite goodness and mercy.
Loyal, you and Edith have known a great love — more than many have been permitted to know. That love will not end with the end of this life. We’ve been promised this is only a part of life and that a greater life, a greater glory awaits us. It awaits you together one day and all that is required is that you believe and tell God you put yourself in his hands.
At Reunion Arena in Dallas, 1984, Ronald Reagan stated:
"Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience ... without God there is a coarsening of the society; without God democracy will not and cannot long endure ...
America needs God more than God needs America. If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under."
At the Alfred M. Landon Lecture Series, 1982, he stated:
"We can't have it both ways. We can't expect God to protect us in a crisis and just leave Him over there on the shelf in our day-to-day living.
I wonder if sometimes He isn't waiting for us to wake up, He isn't maybe running out of patience."