Author Explores Reagan's Deep Spiritual Commitment
- 2004 13 Mar
An expert on Ronald Reagan says the 40th president of the United States was led and guided in all aspects of his public and private life by a deep faith in God.
In his new book, "God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life" (Regan Books, 2004), Dr. Paul Kengor provides a serious examination of the beloved former president's religious faith. Kengor says that lifelong faith of Reagan's deepened as the Cold War raged on.
Kengor believes Reagan recognized the spiritual dimensions of the Cold War. The view that God created human beings to be free and equal, as Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln believed, was diametrically opposed to the idea that religion is the opiate of the masses and that human beings should be slaves of the state. "Marx and Lenin spoke for that view," the author says.
But Reagan, as a man of faith and a patriot, saw the struggle between these worldviews for what it was and acted based on that understanding. "This great Cold War contest was between two ideologies, one religiously-based and the other atheistically based," Kengor says.
The book portrays the one-time actor-turned-governor-turned commander-in-chief as a man who believed that God had been at work throughout his life and had "put all the twists and forks in the road" that eventually led him to the White House. And Kengor says Reagan had fully internalized the theology that his mother Nelle had helped to instill in him - that belief that "bad things happen in life only for a grander purpose that God is in control of."
According to the biographer, even the 1981 assassination attempt on the president's life served to strengthen his faith. Kengor says Reagan "became convinced that God had spared him, had saved him for a special purpose, which he believed had something to do with the Cold War and confronting the Soviet Union. So it reinvigorated his sense of Cold War purpose."
The author presents President Ronald Reagan as a great leader who saw the American presidency as an opportunity to serve a higher purpose and to help spark a "spiritual revival" in America.
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