My friend Dr. Paul Kengor teaches at Grove City College in Pennsylvania. He may be the last serious scholar in America who is still researching and publishing books on the Communist menace that held half the world in its grip for 70 years. This, in itself, is astonishing. We have had no end of books and study centers dedicated to the study of that 12-year nightmare known as the Third Reich. As evil and virulent as Nazism was, its political grip was broken when Adolf Hitler shot himself in the Fuhrerbunker in Berlin on April 30, 1945.
We should give comparable attention to Communism. It held sway for 70 years and gripped billions of people. Paul Kengor understands the link between Communism and atheism. He knows that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s description of Communism as “atheism with a knife at your child’s throat” is the most concise definition of the Marxist philosophy that underlay an evil empire. That was an empire “built on bones.”
Prof. Kengor’s books on Ronald Reagan have all paid fulsome tribute to Reagan’s religious faith. In this American Spectator column, he shows us that Reagan’s personal faith was a constant in his life – even as his political allegiance changed from being a liberal Democrat in the New Deal era to a conservative Democrat to a conservative Republican.
Reagan famously said “I didn’t leave the Democrats; they left me.” Millions of conservative Democrats felt the same way. Most of these were Democrats with strong religious convictions. If you were Roman Catholic or Evangelical in the 1980s, there was a high likelihood that you or your parents would be among the millions of “Reagan Democrats.” It’s worth noting here that we have not seen a comparable movement among Democrats for Bush, McCain, or Romney.
There have been some Republicans – most notably former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels – who have urged the Republican Party to declare a “truce” on social issues like abortion, marriage, and religious liberty, while vigorously spooning out the GOP elixir of smaller government and lower taxes. Stick to the economic issues, they say. But while this appeals to some, it can never command the kinds of majorities that Reagan enjoyed.