An except from President Reagan’s address January 30, 1984, at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Washington D.C.
I was pleased last year to proclaim 1983 The Year of the Bible. But, you know, a group called the A.C.L.U. severely criticized me for doing that. Well, I wear their indictment like a badge of honor. I believe I stand in pretty good company. Abraham Lincoln called the Bible, “The best gift God has given to man. But for it,” he said, “we could not know right from wrong.”
Like that image of George Washington kneeling in prayer in snow at Valley Forge, Lincoln described a people who knew it was not enough to depend on their own courage and goodness. They must also look to God their Father and Preserver. And their faith to walk with Him, and trust in His Word, brought them the blessings of comfort, power, and peace that they sought.
The torch of their faith has been passed from generation to generation. “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the word of our God shall stand forever.” More and more Americans believe that loving God in their hearts is the ultimate value. My experience in this office I hold has only deepened a belief I’ve held for many years: within the cover of that single Book are all the answers to all the problems that face us today – if we’d only read and believe.
Let’s begin at the beginning. God is the center of our lives: the human family stands at the center of society: and our greatest hope for the future is in the faces of our children. God’s most blessed gift to His family is the gift of life. He sent us the Prince of Peace as a babe in a manger. I’ve said that we must be cautious in claiming God is on our side. I think the real question we must answer is, are we on His side?
Our mission stretches far beyond our borders: God’s family knows no borders. In your life, you face daily trials, but millions of believers in other lands face far worse. They are mocked and persecuted for the crime of loving God. To every religious dissident trapped in that cold, cruel existence, we send our love and support. Our message? You are not alone; you are not forgotten; do not lose your faith and hope because someday you, too, will be free.
If the Lord is our light, our strength and our salvation, whom shall we fear? Of whom shall we be afraid? No matter where we live, we have a promise from Jesus that can soothe our sorrows, heal our hearts and drive away our fears. He promised there will never be a dark night that does not end. Our weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. He promised if our hearts are true, His love will be as sure as sunlight. And, by dying for us, Jesus showed how far our love should be ready to go: all the way.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life …” Helping each other, believing in Him, we need never be afraid. We will be part of something far more powerful, enduring and good than all the forces here on earth. We will be part of a paradise.
May God keep you always and may you always keep God.