Ronald Reagan, My Christian Hero

He was as pro-life, pro-family, pro-national defense and pro-Israel--as we were.

Reprinted with permission from Falwell Confidential. This commentary first appeared in 2002.

Ronald Reagan arrived on the national political scene at a critical time. Faith in the Oval Office had deteriorated under President Carter. The immorality of our present age was taking a strong social foothold. Our economy was in turmoil.

America needed a hero. And Ronald Reagan was such a man.

Liberals continue to portray him as not much more than a grandfatherly simpleton who yielded control of the White House to his aides and his wife, but the Ronald Reagan I knew was a man of great intelligence, grace, humor and, most importantly, Christian values.

He'll be remembered by many for championing a booming economy and conquering the "evil empire" of the Soviet Union (even though the mainstream press regularly attempts to credit Mikhail Gorbachev's alleged defense of democracy as the reason for the Soviet downfall). Anyone who believes that Ronald Reagan was the kindly dunce that the press often made him out to be needs to read the book, "Reagan In His Own Hand" to comprehend the aptitude and vision of this man.

I will remember Mr. Reagan primarily for his relationship with the evangelical Christian community in our nation. We had long been shut out of the White House when Mr. Reagan took office. But he realized that this community was largely responsible for his election and held the key to stalling our nation's moral collapse. Many churches had organized (quite legally) voter registration drives through the help of my Moral Majority because we believed Mr. Reagan could make a difference in our nation.

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We brought millions of new voters to the polls in 1980. We reactivated millions of discouraged religious conservatives who, though registered to vote, had given up on America. We believed we were electing the man who could return America to moral sanity. And he did not let us down.

He was pro-life. He affirmed the Judeo-Christian values of our Founders. And he respected the presidency (unlike our 42nd president).

I shall never forget a private conversation I had with Mr. Reagan in New Orleans in 1980. He was on the campaign trail and I had traveled there to meet him at the airport. His plane landed and we rode together to the place where thousands were waiting to hear his fresh and conservative message. In the back seat of the limousine, he shared his vision for America with me. He told me how and when he had become a follower of Jesus Christ. That day, he confirmed all my hopes that this was the man to lead America.

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Jerry Falwell
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