“Freedom is the universal right of all God’s children… [T]he cause of freedom is the cause of God… I believe God intended for us to be free” (217). Ronald Reagan was the son of John and Nelle Reagan and was born in Illinois. While Nelle Reagan would devote her time to the church, John Reagan would work to support his family. Ronald Reagan grew up moving the majority of his childhood from one place to another before they could get settled in, which, according to Dr. Kengor, is probably why he had a hard time making friends. However; whenever Reagan was able, he would help his mom out with jobs at the church. Nelle Reagan had a huge impact on Reagan life and provided him with knowledge of the foundation of his faith, which he would later tell those who would listen that God intended for us to be free. Reagan believed that freedom came from God and that everyone who believes in God would be free; from their sins, from bondage, and have eternal life through Christ. As Reagan would grow up and eventually become the 40th President of our country, he would try his best to incorporate Christ in his speeches and interactions so that they would be able to experience his conception of freedom that came from God, intended for all His children.
Even though the Reagan family were not rich when Ronald was growing up and they moved very regularly, Ronald’s father strived to be able to provide for his family better. Ronald learned this from his mother Nelle, who was a devout Christian lady, to believe in God and have faith in the freedom that comes from Him, and that those who trusted in Christ would be free. Dr. Kengor tells his readers that “Nelle was the most important person in the first half of Reagan’s life… Had she not presented him with an example of committed Christian faith and good works, his own life may have proven quite different” (48). Nelle Reagan’s devotion to the church bestowed Ronald with the desire to embrace the church after reading the Christian novel, That Printer of Udell’s, at the age of ten or eleven (18-19). In this novel, Regan related to the novel’s protagonist, Dick Walker. Just like Dick’s mother was a devout Christian and his father an alcoholic, Ronald’s parents were the same. Dick’s mother taught him to find comfort in God, just like Nelle showed Ronald to find freedom and comfort from God. It was then that he realized the freedom that came from God and how he wanted to share that freedom with everyone he would come in contact with.
Ronald Reagan trusted and believed that America was the land of the free, and even though not 100% a Christian country, it was a country where everyone was free to become a Christian, and experience the freedom that came from God. As Reagan declared in one speech, ‘I’ve always believed that this blessed land was set apart in a special way, that some divine plan placed this great continent here…[for] people who had a special love for freedom and the courage to uproot themselves, leave their homeland and friends to come to a strange land. And, when coming here, they created something new in all the history of mankind—a country where man is not beholden to government, government is beholden to man.’ He believed that God wanted and intended for people to be free, and he believed in those inalienable rights that Thomas Jefferson and John Locke described as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Reagan trusted in that… that God intended for people to be free; and that any disturbance on those basic freedoms were not biblical.
Reagan believed that freedom was given by God and “…within that single book [the Bible] are all the answers to all the problems that face us” (171). Dr. Kengor tells his readers that within just six weeks into the presidency of Reagan, proclaimed that “the freedom to choose a Godly path is the essence of liberty” (225). Reagan stressed that “all men and women yearn for the freedom that God gave us all when he gave us free will” (225). Throughout Reagan’s presidency, he always tried to incorporate Christ in whatever ways he could. In his inaugural address in 1981 he stated, ‘[N]o arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.’ Regan understood that we are so blessed to be free and that nothing could be better that living in this free country and believing in the freedom from Christ.
Reagan never gave up, and continued to push forward through every circumstance that came his way. He learned from his parents, during his youth, that from hard work, study, persistence, and upright morals, his future could prosper and he would be rewarded. He understood that freedom was a gift from God and tried his best to incorporate it into all of his speeches, so that everyone could experience that freedom too.