God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life

Paul Kengor, Author ReganBooks $26.95 (402p) ISBN 978-0-06-057141-2
This engaging if hagiographic study argues the seemingly obvious point that the former President's outlook was shaped by his religious beliefs. Political scientist and Hoover Institution fellow Kengor has pored over Reagan's letters and speeches to glean examples of his faith, from his youth as a Disciples of Christ stalwart and Sunday school teacher to his 1988 trip to Moscow, where he lectured Communists from Gorbachev on down on the importance of religious freedom. More devotional than scholarly, Kengor's treatment emphasizes the ex-president's affinities with evangelical Protestantism; Reagan""invited Christ into his life,"" acknowledged God's""special plan"" for him, believed in end-times prophecy and even had his presidency foretold by the Holy Spirit during a prayer circle. Readers troubled by reports of astrology at the Reagan White House are assured that it determined scheduling, not policy, and that only Nancy was really into it. Kengor accepts the links Reagan himself drew between his religious beliefs and his politics, on social issues like school prayer, sex education, and abortion, and most importantly on his anti-Communism, which harped on Soviet religious persecution and consistently identified atheism as Communism's original sin. But the spiritual rootedness Kengor highlights is not exactly of Gandhian proportions. As he too briefly acknowledges, many of Reagan's pious formulations, like the""shining city on a hill"" motif and the imprecations against Communist godlessness, were commonplaces of America's""civil religion."" In other words, sometimes it's hard to tell where spirituality ends and rhetoric begins.
Reviewed on: 02/01/2004
Release date: 02/01/2004
Show other formats
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 432 pages - 978-0-06-074787-9
Paperback - 419 pages - 978-0-06-057142-9
Open Ebook - 432 pages - 978-0-06-074790-9
Ebook - 432 pages - 978-0-06-174431-0
Ebook - 432 pages - 978-0-06-118614-1
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.