And Reagan added, “Like that image of George Washington kneeling in prayer in the snow at Valley Forge, Lincoln described a people who knew it was not enough to depend on their own courage and goodness; they must also look to God their Father and Preserver. And their faith to walk with Him and trust in His Word brought them the blessings of comfort, power, and peace that they sought” (1/30/84, “NRB in DC”).
Somehow if one of our modern politicians, even many conservative ones, started talking like this, the rest of the establishment would start shifting in their seats---feeling embarrassed for the speaker, as if he had somehow lost his marbles. But Reagan has the answers.
Reagan was so opposed to the killing of the unborn that he even wrote a book about it---Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation. It’s a great book. My copy is dog eared and heavily underlined.
He wrote that book in 1984, when he was running for re-election. It’s hard to imagine some of our modern “conservative” politicians writing a forthright book against abortion during an election year. But that was Reagan. He believed what he believed, and he expressed it well. And he won re-election in a landslide.
In Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation, Reagan wrote, “Despite the formidable obstacles before us, we must not lose heart. This is not the first time our country has been divided by a Supreme Court decision that denied the value of certain human lives. The Dred Scott decision of 1857 was not overturned in a day, or a year, or even a decade” (p. 19).
In that book, Reagan also wrote, “The question today is not when human life begins, but, What is the value of human life? The abortionist who reassembles the arms and legs of a tiny baby to make sure all its parts have been torn from its mother’s body can hardly doubt whether it is a human being” (p. 22).
It’s hard to picture a politician today being as bold as to write something like that---in an election year no less. Would that more of our leaders take a page from Ronald Reagan’s playbook.
Dr. Paul Kengor, a political science professor at Grove City College, has written a few books on our 40th president, including God and Ronald Reagan.
In 2004, I interviewed Kengor for a TV piece on Reagan’s faith. He said, “What the historical record has overlooked is that Ronald Reagan was carried by a set of Christian convictions that go back to the 1920’s that carried him even longer, and that, in fact, informed those political convictions that came later. And that’s the side of Ronald Reagan that we all missed.”
For a nation wandering, as it were, in the political wilderness looking for guidance, consider this zinger from President Reagan at a prayer breakfast in Dallas on August 23, 1984: “If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”