An important new book, “God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life,” is drawing attention to the great spiritual nature of our 40th president. In the book, author Paul Kengor details how Mr. Reagan’s faith in Christ was a central point in his life, especially in his role as president of the United States.
In a March 19 article for AgapePress.com, Mr. Kengor, who is an associate political science professor at Grove City College in Grove City, Pa., detailed how President Reagan often “boldly brought Christ’s name into completely secular situations.” In the article, Mr. Kengor noted how Reagan often utilized reflections of Christ in his speeches. In one speech at Kansas State University in 1982, he observed how Mr. Reagan personally added a line about “the Man from Galilee” into the dialogue.
Mr. Kengor’s book is a significant work because, as the author notes, the mainstream press often ignored or overlooked Mr. Reagan’s exceptional spiritual emphasis while he served as our president.
I had the unique privilege of knowing Ronald Reagan and seeing firsthand his markedly Christian faith. It was my pleasure to personally discuss matters of faith with Mr. Reagan on a few occasions. These times were quite humbling for me, really just a country preacher who God saw fit to place in the public spotlight. It was truly awe-inspiring to experience intimate Christian fellowship with the man I have long considered my ultimate political hero. I truly believe that it was Ronald Reagan’s deep faith in Christ that defined him as a man and molded him as one of our nation’s finest leaders.
I know it’s not accepted these days to live out one’s faith in the public spotlight, but maybe that’s the primary problem with our nation. Civil libertarians and devout secularists have become so thin-skinned and hysterical about religious expression in the public square that the result has become a society of cowardly leaders who have been intimidated into prohibiting our religious freedoms.
However, the unprecedented popularity of Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of the Christ” confirms that Americans continue to have a deep hunger to learn more about Christ and to explore their own needs for spiritual fulfillment.
Ronald Reagan, as president, understood this. He knew that America needed a spiritual base even in a political context. And he recognized that the majority of his supporters voted for him because of his confident foundation of personal faith. He was therefore willing to be categorized as an extremist by the left because he comprehended that a spiritual leader was vital to sustaining the spirit of America.
Four years after Mr. Reagan left office after his eight wonderful years of leadership, the Clinton regime touted a new and nebulous spirit of “diversity” and “tolerance” (a spirit which often isolates and disparages conservative people of faith) that accelerated the quest for absolute secularism.
Today, as Mr. Reagan slowly slips away under the terrible cloud of Alzheimer’s disease, it is imperative that those of us who love and appreciate him continue to communicate his impact on our culture. We have a man in the Oval Office today who I believe embodies the Christian spirit of President Reagan. Like Mr. Reagan and many of our Founding Fathers, President Bush is not afraid to declare his Christian faith or to make it a central part of his guidance of our nation.
I appreciate the fact that Mr. Kengor’s new book has reminded us what a exceptional president Ronald Reagan was. I encourage everyone to read it. Meanwhile, may those of us who cherish the memory of Ronald Reagan determine to sustain our current president through daily prayer. It is the least we can do to preserve the spirit of Reagan that lives on in the Oval Office through George W. Bush.
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Another new book on Reagan’s spiritual life is available at ShopNetDaily – “Hand of Providence: The Strong and Quiet Faith of Ronald Reagan.”