“I, in my own mind, have thought of America as a place in the divine scheme of things that was set aside as a promised land…I believe that God in shedding his grace on this country has always in this divine scheme of things kept an eye on our land and guided it as a promised land.” - Ronald Reagan, June 1952
Ronald Reagan frequently referred to God in public. He was a man whose Christian faith remained deep and consistent throughout his more than six decades in public life.
Reagan’s faith in God was a key source of his optimism, self-security, and strength. His spirituality, including the belief in the power of prayer and application of religious principles to policy, shaped his presidency. His faith influenced Reagan’s leadership abilities. His confidence, also rooted in his trust in God, helped him persevere during the Cold War, and ultimately defeat Soviet communism. His sense of hope came directly from his unwavering belief in Lord. And, we should add, in America.
In 1984 Ronald Reagan clearly explicated: “I believe that faith and religion play a crucial role in the political life of our nation – and always have – and that the church – and by that, I mean all churches, all denominations – has had influence on state. And this has worked to our benefit as a nation. Those who created our country – the Founding Fathers and Mothers – understood that there is a divine order which transcends the human order. They saw the state, in fact, as a form of moral order and felt that the bedrock of moral order is religion. Without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be nation gone under.”
Reagan’s invoking “A Shining City Upon a Hill” has been one of the most memorable phrases of his presidency. He used it over and over again, for instance in his 1992 farewell address: “I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind, it was a tall, proud city build on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity … That’s how I saw it and see it still.”
In fact, “A Shining City Upon a Hill” is attributed to Puritan leader John Winthrop, who wrote that “the eyes of all people will be upon us,” but its origin is Biblical. And it was Reagan who added the word “shining” to the image of the city.
Reagan had believed that God had chosen America for a special purpose. Once he remarked: “I’ve always believed that this blessed land was set apart in a special way, that some divine plan placed this great continent here between the two oceans to be found by people from every corner of the Earth – people who had a special love for freedom.” America was God’s instrument to defend the defenseless, protect the oppressed, and keep the peace of the world.
According to the 40th US President, the key to freedom rested in the Bible. “Within that single Book are all the answers to all the problems that face us.” Therefore, men and women must “seek Divine guidance in the policies of their government and the promulgation of their laws.” They must, he urged, “make our laws and government not only a model to mankind, but a testament to the wisdom and mercy of God.”
Indeed, Reagan loved America and God. He recognized God’s enduring presence in our nation’s history.
Dear fellow Americans, as President Ronald Reagan used to say: “The time has come to turn to God and reassert our trust in Him for the healing of America - our country is in need of and ready for a spiritual renewal.” America, it is time to wake up!
Ronald Reagan began his life as a lonely boy in Illinois surrounded by love of his mother and God in his little heart. He ended in similar way, with wife-Nancy by his side and a deep faith in God. Now, he is with the Lord and he is never alone.
June 5th, 2004 marked the 17th anniversary of the passing of Ronald Wilson Reagan. Sir, we miss you today more than ever.
Monika Jablonska is an author of "Wind from Heaven: John Paul II, The Poet Who Became Pope." Her next book on Saint John Paul II is forthcoming in 2021. She is a lawyer and a literary scholar living in Washington D.C. Read Monika's Reports — More Here.
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