Aug. 3 brings to mind Reagan’s moral values
Don HinklePathway Editor
There are two characteristics of Ronald Reagan that publicly emerged in his latter years that should give Christians reason to pause.
The first, his love for wife Nancy, was well-known among family and friends, but the depth of their relationship has only become known to the general public as books and once-private letters have been recently released.
The love they held for each other – in a marriage that lasted 53 years –was demonstrated in unforgettably heart-wrenching fashion by Mrs. Reagan as the world watched America honor, then bury one of its greatest presidents. Who will forget Mrs. Reagan rubbing her late husband’s flag-covered casket before tenderly kissing it goodbye? Or, in the final moments before burial, when she appeared to say to her grieving children as she reluctantly stepped away from the casket for the final time, “I’ve never left him.”
We should pray that someday all husbands and wives will exhibit the love and commitment exhibited by the Reagans.
The second characteristic was Ronald Reagan’s commitment to Christianity, which seemed to take on a special significance after he was shot by John Hinckley just a few months into his first term as president in 1981. Reagan often referred to his dependence upon God for strength and direction as evidenced by remarks he made at an ecumenical prayer breakfast in Dallas , Texas , on Aug. 23, 1984:
“In these three and one-half years I have understood and known better than ever before the words of (President Abraham) Lincoln, when he said that he would be the greatest fool on this footstool called Earth if he ever thought that for one moment he could perform the duties of that office without help from One who is stronger than all,” Reagan said.
He went on to express the quintessential conservative view of what religious freedom in America should look like:
“We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. We command no worship. We mandate no belief. But we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. We court corruption when we leave it bereft of belief. All are free to believe or not believe; all are free to practice a faith or not. But those who believe must be free to speak of and act on their belief, to apply moral teaching to public questions.”
Reagan noted how the collapse of great civilizations has been preceded by nations turning away from God.
“Without God, there is no virtue, because there’s no prompting of the conscience,” he said. “Without God, we’re mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the senses perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
Missouri Baptists, let us make sure we heed Ronald Reagan’s warning and exercise our freedom to speak by going to the polls Aug. 3 and — by doing so — “apply moral teaching” to two important public questions: Vote against casino gambling for the Branson area and for the state constitutional amendment in support of traditional marriage.