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The Amazing Thing Ronald Reagan Said About Easter Over 30 Years Ago

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Former President Barack Obama would never be the kind of person to issue a serious Easter address, ruminating on Jesus’ sacrifice for us and his rise from the dead. He’d be more likely to tell us how we should check our privilege or how a white Easter Bunny is racist.

President Ronald Reagan knew how to commemorate Easter and Passover, though. In 1983, he gave a powerful address on how the Judeo-Christian tradition was deeply associated with freedom and our values.

“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,” Reagan said.

“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,” he continued.

Reagan also spoke of those who dared to exercise their faith behind the Iron Curtain, where atheism was state-imposed and any deviation from it was seriously punishable.

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He talked of Lech Walesa, the Solidarity Movement leader who helped topple the Polish communist regime, and his deep religious 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.’”

Reagan spoke of more mundane heroes, though — including an East German professor who had risked his families lives to come over to the West.

Do you wish Ronald Reagan was still president?

“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,” Reagan said.

“Arriving in West Germany after a harrowing seven-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.”

You can watch Reagan give his original radio address here:

Then as now, European communists weren’t the only ones trampling religious freedom; South American communists were also doing so. In Nicaragua, where Pope John Paul II had just visited when this speech was given, the socialist government had done everything possible to disrupt the visit and perturb the faithful.

“As he conducted a Mass in Nicaragua, state police jeered and led organized heckling by Sandinista supporters,” Reagan said. “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.”

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In recent years, of course, presidents have visited communist countries and said, inconceivably, that we can learn from them on human rights.

That’s why we miss Ronald Reagan as president — all year around, but especially at Easter time.

“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,” Reagan concluded.

“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.”

Something important to remember on this holiest of occasions, from one of the greatest presidents this country has ever had.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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