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April 4th, 2010

Reagan’s Easter address, April 2, 1983

The following is Ronald Reagan’s Easter address from 1983. What a striking difference between Reagan’s worldview and that of President Obama. Near the end, Reagan says, “If we live our lives and dedicate our country to truth, to love, and to God, we will be a part of something much stronger and much more enduring than any negative power here on Earth.”

It is very similar to the following Bible verse.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 CHRONICLES 7:14

Reagan used that verse in both of his inaugural addresses. I believe he was the only President to cite the same verse in two different inaugural addresses.

My fellow Americans:

This week as American families draw together in worship, we join with millions upon millions of others around the world also celebrating the traditions of their faiths. During these days, at least, regardless of nationality, religion, or race, we are united by faith in God, and the barriers between us seem less significant.

Observing the rites of Passover and Easter, we’re linked in time to the ancient origins of our values and to the unborn generations who will still celebrate them long after we’re gone. As Paul explained in his Epistle to the Ephesians, “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. So then you were no longer strangers and aliens, but you were fellow citizens of God’s household.”

This is a time of hope and peace, when our spirits are filled and lifted. It’s a time when we give thanks for our blessings-chief among them, freedom, peace, and the promise of eternal life.

This week Jewish families and friends have been celebrating Passover, a tradition rich in symbolism and meaning. Its observance reminds all of us that the struggle for freedom and the battle against oppression waged by Jews since ancient times is one shared by people everywhere. And Christians have been commemorating the last momentous days leading to the crucifixion of Jesus 1,950 years ago. Tomorrow, as morning spreads around the planet, we’ll celebrate the triumph of life over death, the Resurrection of Jesus. Both observances tell of sacrifice and pain but also of hope and triumph.

Lech WalesaAs we look around us today, we still find human pain and suffering, but we also see it answered with individual courage and spirit, strengthened by faith. For example, the brave Polish people, despite the oppression of a godless tyranny, still cling to their faith and their belief in freedom. Shortly after Palm Sunday Mass this week, Lech Walesa faced a cheering crowd of workers outside a Gdansk church. He held his hand up in a sign of victory and predicted, “The time will come when we will win.”

Recently, an East German professor, his wife, and two daughters climbed into a 7-foot rowboat and crossed the freezing, wind-whipped Baltic to escape from tyranny. Arriving in West Germany after a harrowing 7-hour, 31-mile journey past East German border patrols, the man said he and his family had risked everything so that the children would have the chance to grow up in freedom.

In Central America Communist-inspired revolution still spreads terror and instability, but it’s no match for the much greater force of faith that runs so deep among the people. We saw this during Pope John Paul II’s recent visit there. As he conducted a Mass in Nicaragua, state police jeered and led organized heckling by Sandinista supporters. But the Pope lifted a crucifix above his head and waved it at the crowd before him, then turned and symbolically held it up before the massive painting of Sandinista soldiers that loomed behind. The symbol of good prevailed.

John Paul IIIn contrast, everywhere else the Holy Father went in the region, spreading a message that only love can build, he was met by throngs of enthusiastic believers, eager for Papal guidance and blessing. In this Easter season when so many of our young men and women in the Armed Forces are stationed so very far from their homes, I can’t resist recounting at least one example of their sacrifice and heroism.

Every day I receive reports that would make you very proud, and today I’d like to share just one with you. While the San Diego-based U.S.S. Hoel was steaming toward Melbourne, Australia, on Ash Wednesday, its crew heard of terrible brush fires sweeping two Australian States. More than 70 people were killed and the destruction was great.

Well, the crew of this American ship raised $4,000 from their pockets to help, but they felt that it wasn’t enough. So, leaving only a skeleton crew aboard, the 100 American sailors gave up a day’s shore leave, rolled up their sleeves, and set to work rebuilding a ruined community on the opposite end of the Earth. Just Americans being Americans, but something for all of us to be proud of.

Stories like these—of men and women around the world who love God and freedom-bear a message of world hope and brotherhood like the rites of Passover and Easter that we celebrate this weekend.

A grade school class in Somerville, Massachusetts, recently wrote me to say, “We studied about countries and found out that each country in our world is beautiful and that we need each other. People may look a little different, but we’re still people who need the same things.” They said, “We want peace. We want to take care of one another. We want to be able to get along with one another. We want to be able to share. We want freedom and justice. We want to be friends. We want no wars. We want to be able to talk to one another. We want to be able to travel around the world without fear.”

And then they asked, “Do you think that we can have these things one day?” Well, I do. I really do.

Nearly 2,000 years after the coming of the Prince of Peace, such simple wishes may still seem far from fulfillment. But we can achieve them. We must never stop trying.

The generation of Americans now growing up in schools across our country can make sure the United States will remain a force for good, the champion of peace and freedom, as their parents and grandparents before them have done. If we live our lives and dedicate our country to truth, to love, and to God, we will be a part of something much stronger and much more enduring than any negative power here on Earth.

That’s why this weekend is a celebration and why there is hope for us all. Thanks for listening, and God bless you.

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of TheIowaRepublican.com, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and TheIowaRepublican.com as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, TheIowaRepublcian.com. Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.




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