It seems like political conservatives are in the wilderness right now. Having been beaten in the November 2012 elections and fracturing even more since, some are turning on each other.
Reagan has the answers. Recently, I was reviewing some of his speeches because I was looking for nuggets from him on the subject of prayer. He did not disappoint.
Gary Bauer served the Reagan administration in a couple different capacities, including as an adviser on domestic policy. He told me in a recent interview: “Ronald Reagan was very clear what the winning coalition was if you were a conservative. He referred to it as the three legs of the stool…the economic leg...the foreign policy leg…and the third leg of the stool is the leg of values…He was pro-life, he was pro-family…he spoke out for religious liberty.”
I want to focus on that third leg. Consider what Reagan said about prayer: "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" (“Landon Lecture”, 9/9/82).
He pointed out why our society is in such a mess today---which is even truer in our day than his: “Without God, there is no virtue, because there's no prompting of the conscience….Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure" (“Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast”, Dallas, 8/23/84).
Long before we became a nation, Americans were a praying people. Various colonies and then later Congress and presidents called for national days of prayer and fasting and thanksgiving. Ronald Reagan observed, "Throughout our history, Americans have put their faith in God, and no one can doubt that we have been blessed for it.”
In the same document, he proclaimed, “While never willing to bow to a tyrant, our forefathers were always willing to get to their knees before God. When catastrophe threatened, they turned to God for deliverance” (“National Day of Prayer Proclamation”, 3/19/81).
Reagan told the National Religious Broadcasters, certainly a sympathetic audience: “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 wouldn't know right from wrong.’”
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