WASHINGTON DC (FR) – “America is in the midst of a spiritual revival.” That was the theme of a stirring address given by President Ronald Reagan in early February of this year during the annual convention of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB).
“From the growth of your radio and television stations to the polls of George Gallup, we see the signs of Americans turning to God. On our campuses the political activism of the ’60s has been replaced with the religious commitment of the ’80s. Organizations like Campus Crusade for Christ, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Youth for Christ have grown in popularity. And why not. Their message – your message – is rooted in one sure guide for life, the guide for our founding fathers and every generation of Americans as much as for ourselves, the infallible wellspring of our national goodness – the Bible, the inspired Word of God,” Reagan proclaimed amid bouts of applause from the enthusiastic NRB audience.
“But how ironic that even as America returns to its spiritual roots, our courts lag behind. They talk of our constitutional guarantee of religious liberty as if it meant freedom from religion – freedom from, actually a prohibition on, all values rooted in religion. Well, yes, the Constitution does say that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.’ But then it adds ‘or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’”
Reagan decried certain court decisions in recent years which have misinterpreted the First Amendment, restricting rather than protecting individual rights of conscience. He also touched on several other themes in his speech, including appeals for pro-life legislation, school prayer, and the need for a strong national defense policy.