Acton Institute Powerblog

Mission to Moscow

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I point you to Paul Kengor’s insightful 2008 piece on Ronald Reagan’s 1988 summit to Moscow in Christianity Today because it is directly related to this Thursday’s Acton on Tap. I will spend some time discussing the Moscow Summit and Reagan’s revolutionary comments at Spaso House, Danilov Monastery, and Moscow State University. Kengor notes:

Ronald Reagan clearly had a personal religious motivation at the summit, which he pursued on his own volition, certainly not at the urging of advisers.

For Thursday, I also plan to focus heavily on Reagan’s lifelong battle against communism and the 1981 assassination attempt on the president and how they shaped his faith life. Other topics that will be addressed is Reagan’s 1994 letter to the American people announcing his Alzheimer’s affliction and a brief discussion of President Barack Obama and all the news reports comparing him to Reagan.

Most of all, we want to hear your voice. If you are in the Grand Rapids area please make plans to join us and participate. Find the Facebook page here.

Then come back March 2 for another Acton on Tap hosted by Dr. Carl Trueman.

Ray Nothstine is opinion editor of the the North State Journal in Raleigh, North Carolina. Previously, he was managing editor of Acton Institute's Religion & Liberty quarterly. In 2005 Ray graduated with a Master of Divinity (M.Div) degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky. He also holds a B.A. in Political Science from The University of Mississippi in Oxford.


  • oft

    As a Christian, I am interested in Reagan’s faith. If Reagan had personal convictions about Jesus Christ as His Saviour, I haven’t seen them.

    The fact is, he spurned the moral majority that got him elected. Not once did he lobby Congress for one pro-life bill, when he promised to do so. As Governor in 1967, Reagan signed an abortion law that resulted in over a million abortions.

    He married a Nancy Davis, a pagan stargazer, and had no clue the faith of his daughter. How can a person be a Christian and not preach Christianity to his family, and know their faith?

    According to his memoirs, Reagan thought he could avert Biblical prophecy by getting rid of nuclear weapons because of his reading of the Book of Revelation. Thus, he tried to eliminate nuclear weapons.

    Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants, violating Article I, section 8 of the Constitution, and the Law of Nations. He even vetoed an anti-aparteid law, which was overidden by the Senate.

    As to Reagan’s tax policy, he was the most liberal President in History; much more than Obama or Clinton. He raised taxes 11 times in 8 years. As governor of California, Reagan “signed into law the largest tax increase in the history of any state up till then. In 81 he lowered taxes on the wealthy and corporations, sending us into the worse recession since the 1930’s. In 82 in raised taxes on cigarettes and gasoline. In 83, he signed the biggest payroll tax increase in history. He actually was the first President to tax unemployment benefits, and he raised the self-employment tax up to 66%! The self-employed businessman got screwed. Under Reagan, the deficit tripled, but in 86 was the worst to come.

    Reagan actually lowered the top tax rate, and raised the bottom tax rate from 11% to 15%. He was literally taking from the poor to give to the rich, to promote the “trickle down theory” To top it off, he lowered capital gains taxes for corporations, who were already making billions, and through greed, gave them the impetus to send our jobs overseas, screwing everyone else. Under Reagan, 3 tillion in wealth has been transfered from the poor and middle class to the rich to spur the economy! The jobs it created were few and far between, and because of his lower taxes to corporations, those jobs are now in China and India! If Alexander Hamilton was here today, he would make Corporations pay huge taxes for taking jobs out of the country!

    Reagan’s wealth distribution dwarfs FDR’s!

    If anyone was a socialist, it was Reagan. But he did it the opposite way; he took from the poor and middle class to give to the rich.

    He may have been a nice guy, but he didn’t champion any true Christian causes; such as promoting life at conception, protecting the sovereignty of our borders, vociferously attacking homosexuality, which the Founding Fathers said would destroy our nation, lowering our taxes for our families, and promoting private Christian schools, which is what we need right now. Instead he failed miserably trying to curb the Dept. of Education.

    Reagan illegally funneled weapons to Iran. Reagan and other senior U.S. officials secretly sold arms to officials in Iran, which was subject to a an arms embargo at the time, in exchange for American hostages. Some funds from the illegal arms sales also went to fund anti-Communist rebels in Nicaragua — something Congress had already prohibited the administration from doing.

    Reagan helped create the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. Reagan fought a proxy war with the Soviet Union by training, arming, equipping, and funding Islamist mujahidin fighters in Afghanistan. Reagan funneled billions of dollars, along with top-secret intelligence and sophisticated weaponry to these fighters through the Pakistani intelligence service. The Taliban and Osama Bin Laden — a prominent mujahidin commander — emerged from these mujahidin groups Reagan helped create, and U.S. policy towards Pakistan remains strained because of the intelligence services’ close relations to these fighters. In fact, Reagan’s decision to continue the proxy war after the Soviets were willing to retreat played a direct role in Bin Laden’s ascendancy.

  • Ray Nothstine

    Unfortunately, most of what you say is filled with so many errors it has clouded a couple of your legitimate grievances about his economic and tax policies. Yes, Reagan did have opposition from the right on budget and tax issues, which was warranted and well documented.

    Since Acton on Tap is primarily about his faith life and not a defense of his presidency or all of his policies, I will address the faith aspect here.

    Dr. Adrian Rogers, former Sr. Pastor at Bellevue Baptist in Memphis was very open in sharing that Reagan was a believer and confessor of Christ. Rogers shared that because he asked Reagan point blank if he knew Christ as his savior of his soul and Reagan answered in the affirmative. Perhaps Rogers had some doubts himself and that is why he asked Reagan. The encounter seemed to clear up the matter for Rogers, who spent a lifetime in evangelical ministry and preaching salvation in Christ.

    Others would say the same, such as the Rev. Don Moomaw, who was pastor at Reagan’s home Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Calif. The entertainer Pat Boone witnessed to the same. I think it would be wise to not cast judgment on somebody’s confession of Christ; however we might disagree with them in the public square.

    Michael Reagan, Ronald Reagan’s son directly credits his father for his evangelical faith, so I don’t know how you can say he didn’t witness to his family. In fact, Michael used his father’s funeral service in California to speak publicly about a personal relationship with Christ. I have read that Reagan witnessed to his other son Ron with Michael at his side saying that he wished he shared the same faith with him and Michael.

    His daughter Patti has said on multiple occasions that her father taught her about prayer and has stated that when she wanted her father to open up, she would ask him about God.

    While I have read her own book about spirituality, it was awhile ago, so I don’t want to put words in her mouth, but it appears to be a book more about a bland general type of theism, which is just a reminder that each person is their own person.

    Yes, Reagan signed a bad abortion bill he later regretted and stated lawyers and judges opened up loopholes to allow for abortions that were never part of the bill. He thought it was primary a bill to protect the life of the mother. He seemed to regret the bill and held a heavy heart for the number of abortions that skyrocketed in California.

    During his presidency he was an ardent supporter of life at a time when it was far less popular than today. He supported more competition in schools and support for private Christian schools; this is all well documented in many of his public speeches, radio addresses, and biographies.

  • Did Reagan rid the world of commie scum? Let me know and check out my portrait of The Gipper at

  • oft

    I am sure there are many people who claim Reagan was a Christian or that he regretted this bill or that bill. It is his own words that I am interested in. Maybe his memoirs have references to Christ. If they exist, no doubt the Christian community would like to see them.

    There were many people who vouched for the faith of George Washington. But GW walked out of communion while President for eight years and wrote nothing of his faith in Christ as Saviour in private or public.

    For Reagan, you would think in his entire life there is at least one reference in his hand of faith in Christ. When did Reagan accept Christ? Was it before or after he married Nancy Davis? And referencing Pat Boone is no support for Reagan’s faith. He was on TMZ the other day making lewd comments.

    Reagan’s writings are laden with references about his wife a man who is born again would not say. You are probably aware of them so I will not reference them here.

    The other day there was a PBS special on Reagan that talked about his faith. His daughter said he didn’t know what her faith was. Can you explain that? His daughter and his real son make no mention of his faith in Christ. Correct me if I am wrong, Michael Reagan is his adopted or step-son.

    As to his politics, the fact remains, Reagan was the most liberal President in history.

  • Ray Nothstine

    Yes, you are right, many people have witnessed that Reagan was a Christian. His own son, who was real, which I referenced earlier. See entire clip:

    You can pour through Reagan’s public speeches or papers and see many references to Christ. I recall reading a letter Reagan wrote to a liberal minister defending the divinity of Christ. That is just one example and it is in the book “Reagan: A Life in Letters.” Look it up.

    For some odd reason, it seems like you don’t like that Reagan was a Christian or you didn’t want him to be one because you disagree with his politics and policies. I can’t help you with that because I would be glad if somebody was a man or woman of faith and be joyous about their salvation even if I disagreed with their politics.