Reagan also spoke of the radio tower built by the East German Communist regime on their side of the Wall. It was intended to overshadow all the old church steeples in that captive city. Reagan noted a “defect” in the sphere atop the tower. The Communists sought to paint it out, to blot it with acid, even to sandblast it, but the defect remained. When the sun struck that sphere, Reagan said, it made the sign of the cross.
No other American president in 200 years had publicly invoked the Sign of the Cross. And when, shortly thereafter, the Wall came down, the Iron Curtain was cast away, TIME Magazine editors, of course, named Mikhail Gorbachev their Man of the Decade.
What we learned from Ronald Reagan can guide us as we deal with Egypt. Obviously, Mubarak must go. But can we find a partner with whom we can do business in Cairo?
Early indications are not favorable. The Muslim Brotherhood murdered Mubarak’s predecessor, Anwar Sadat. Any government that includes the Muslim Brotherhood will be hostile to human rights, repudiate Egypt’s treaty with Israel, and threaten us.
There is even a deeper concern. Although high percentages of Egypt’s people say they want democracy, 84% of them also say you should be killed if you leave Islam. Believing that, they will never be a democracy. The first human right is the right to life. Next must come the right to worship God as your conscience dictates. This right was eloquently championed for Americans by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. These great Founders knew that human rights are endowed by our Creator.
State Department careerists—the folks who tried to get President Reagan to scrap Tear Down This Wall—often fail to defend religious freedom. They forget that Jefferson and Madison were not only great advocates for religious liberty, they were also skilled diplomats. Madison knew that defending religious liberty could only add to “the lustre of our country.” Ronald Reagan knew that, too.