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Reagan’s Christian faith: crucial to his character, his political philosophy — and his determined struggle against Communism

Yes, Ronald Reagan was a deeply committed Christian — and contrary to the charges of critics, his faith wasn’t just a private matter. That’s the message of God and Ronald Reagan, a unique exploration of Reagan’s religious faith and its impact on his political life by respected Reagan authority Paul Kengor. Exploring Reagan’s public and private statements and writings, and conducting extensive interviews with Reagan intimates (including Casper Weinberger, Ed Meese, and many others), Kengor demonstrates conclusively that the core and guiding principle of this American hero’s political philosophy was his quiet but rock-solid Christian faith.

Above all, Kengor demonstrates that Reagan’s steadfast anti-communism stemmed from much more than just Reagan’s convictions about the way governments should be constituted: for Reagan, the Cold War was nothing less than a struggle for the souls of men. For Reagan, Kengor explains, God was involved in every aspect of his daily life, and even chose him to become President — precisely in order to help America bring down the scourge of Soviet Communism.

Kengor addresses head-on two reasons why Christians have sometimes criticized Reagan’s religious commitment: his failure to attend church regularly as President and Nancy Reagan’s involvement with astrology. While examining these matters seriously, Kengor shows why they don’t get to the heart of Reagan’s true religious perspective, which was more fully and accurately expressed by two seminal events. First was the attempt on his life in 1981, after which he wrote: “Whatever happens now I owe my life to God and will try to serve Him every way I can.” The second was his trip to the Soviet Union in 1988, during which he confounded his atheist hosts by peppering his public statements with religious references and spoke out strongly for religious freedom.

God and Ronald Reagan is an illuminating insight into the profound faith that shaped one of our nation’s greatest Presidents — a faith that, as it contributed to the downfall of Moscow’s Evil Empire, did nothing less than transform the world.

Paul Kengor reveals the Christian Ronald Reagan:

  • The truth and larger significance of a Soviet journalist’s observation that “whenever Mr. Reagan delivers a speech, he always mentions his religious feelings”
  • What Reagan’s revisions to the “Evil Empire” speech reveal about the intensity of his Christian commitment
  • Evidence that Reagan viewed the struggle against Communism as his own personal crusade, deeply connected to his religious faith
  • Reagan’s early life: how the religious ideas he formed then persisted throughout his life and profoundly influenced the way he viewed politics
  • The childhood experience that left Reagan with a lifelong “reverence for the handiwork of God”
  • “Many of us believed Nelle Reagan had the gift to heal”: the passionate faith of Reagan’s mother, which she diligently passed on to her son
  • The little-known book, devoured by young Reagan, that left him with “an abiding belief in the triumph of good over evil”
  • Evidence that even as Reagan’s public religious observance declined, his private commitment abided
  • Reagan’s Hollywood battles with atheists who were beginning even then to edit favorable references to Christianity out of movie scripts
  • How Reagan saw the struggle against Communism in religious terms, frequently assailing “the false god of Marx and his false prophet Lenin”
  • Whittaker Chambers’ Witness: a source of insight into the spiritual dimension of the struggle against Communism that Reagan would draw on for decades
  • Reagan’s reaction on being elected Governor of California? “It is part of God’s plan for me”
  • Why Reagan and Pope John Paul II were in many ways a perfect match, as their respective religious faiths gave them an extraordinary amount of common ground
  • Reagan’s political philosophy: “He who introduces into public office the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world”
  • America: Reagan’s belief that our nation reached maturity by affirming “its leadership of free men and women serving selflessly a vision of man with God”
  • The trenchant, biblically literate response Reagan made to a liberal minister who denied the divinity of Christ and denigrated Reagan’s “limited Sunday school-level theology”
  • Reagan and the astrologer: did he ask her for guidance? No, he told her that “he felt that God had entrusted him with a mission and that his strength came directly from God”
  • Reagan’s challenge to America (and the rest of the world): “It is time for the world to know our intellectual and spiritual values are rooted in the source of all strength, a belief in a Supreme Being, and a law higher than our own”

“Takes the reader to depths where no other writer has yet been — Ronald Reagan’s very soul”
“A profound character study, an engrossing work of history, and a heartbreakingly beautiful love story about one man and his Maker.” — Peter Robinson, author, How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life

“An outstanding and thoroughly documented demonstration of the role faith in God and Christ played in the life and leadership of President Reagan! Those who read Mr. Kengor’s excellent and readable book will better understand why even today those who wish to expunge all references to God from public life are determined to try to besmirch him and his reputation which, thanks to this book, will be harder than ever to do.” — Don Hodel, former Secretary of the Interior, Reagan Administration

“Paul Kengor takes the reader to depths where no other writer has yet been — Ronald Reagan’s very soul. Using original research and dispassionate analysis, Kengor gives both historians and layman a vital and enlightening look at one of the most important leaders in American history.” — Peter Schweizer, author, Reagan’s War

“A fascinating read. Based on meticulous research, God and Ronald Reagan fundamentally transforms the historical view of Ronald Reagan and his place in the 20th century. This is a must-read piece of political history.” — Donald M. Goldstein, co-author, At Dawn We Slept

“In the vast body of Reagan scholarship, what has been missing is a spiritual biography. Kengor has admirably supplied our need.” — Robert P. George, Princeton University

Member Book Reviews

Justin Goddard
This is a book about how God played a pivitol role in Reagan’s life, from his early childhood through his presidency. The book details how close he was to God and some of his influences, most notably his mother, Nelle. The book also shows how his connection to God enabled him to uncover the true evil of the Soviet Union. I quiver at the thought of anybody but Ronald Reagan being in the White House during that period of time. I still belive to this day if anybody but Reagan were president, the evil Soviet Empire might still be alive today. This is definitely a must read for people of Christian faith and Ronald Reagan fans. God Bless Ronald Reagan.

George Crocker
Kengor gives us another side (the spiritual side) of a great President. It is a good read. This is more evidence that we cannot try and separate our religious faith (which many claim must be kept behind closed doors) from the public square. Reagan’s faith influenced his political decisions and his world-view. Too bad more Christians do not think that way. Reagan struggled, as we all must, to “think God’s thoughts after Him” (ISA. 55:9). Kengor points out Reagans’ prayer life — that puts me to shame.

This is a wonderful wonderful read. I learned a great deal about the President, but also learned a great deal more about the Bible. I am a Bible reader and that surprised me. Gave it to my mother and father to read and they both loved it. I cried and laughed as I read the book and had it read in 2 evenings after I received it in the mail.

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