Why the American People Loved Ronald Reagan (and still do)

Why the American People Loved Ronald Reagan (and still do)

The title may seem like this post is a detour from the travails of 2022.  It’s not.  It’s a reminder of how we emerge triumphantly from these travails.

The Washington Post recently printed (posted below) an apparently never before seen letter written by President Reagan to his dying, atheist father-in-law Loyal Davis.  Loyal was Nancy (Davis) Reagan’s stepfather, who she described as “”a man of great integrity who exemplified old-fashioned values”.

Ronald Reagan found the time, while serving as President, to write words of encouragement to an atheist…based on his understanding of, broadly speaking, Christianity.

This letter exemplifies the genuine human decency of Ronald Reagan.  It also illustrates his simple but profound, inspired and reasoned Christian faith.

We’d guess his words would resonate among Christians throughout America and the world, not because they are doctrinal (they aren’t) but because they are so heartfelt.  They connect with the heart of Americans.  And because they represent a living faith, even though the specific messages of this letter weren’t known by anyone but Loyal Davis, the heart of the man who penned them was felt and understood.  That’s why Americans instinctively loved and trusted Ronald Reagan.

Back to 2022.  Christian faith is being tested in ways most living Americans have never encountered.  But there remains the same reason for hope and faith that Reagan cited:  the life and teachings of the man who “had more impact on the world than all the teachers, scientists, emperors, generals and admirals who ever lived, all put together.


Aug. 7 [1982] “Dear Loyal,

I hope you’ll forgive me for this, but I’ve been wanting to write you ever since we talked on the phone. I am aware of the strain you are under and believe with all my heart there is help for that…. (a little story)….

Loyal I know of your feeling — your doubt but could I just impose on you a little longer? Some seven hundred years before the birth of Christ the ancient Jewish prophets predicted the coming of a Messiah. They said he would be born in a lowly place, would proclaim himself the Son of God and would be put to death for saying that.

All in all there were a total of one hundred and twenty three specific prophesys about his life all of which came true. Crucifixion was unknown in those times, yet it was foretold that he would be nailed to a cross of wood. And one of the predictions was that he would be born of a Virgin.

Now I know that is probably the hardest for you as a Dr. to accept. The only answer that can be given is — a miracle. But Loyal I don’t find that as great a miracle as the actual history of his life. Either he was who he said he was or he was the greatest faker & charlatan who ever lived. But would a liar & faker suffer the death he did when all he had to do to save himself was admit he’d been lying?

The miracle is that a young man of 30 yrs. without credentials as a scholar or priest began preaching on street corners. He owned nothing but the clothes on his back & he didn’t travel beyond a circle less than one hundred miles across. He did this for only 3 years and then was executed as a common criminal.

But for two thousand years he has … had more impact on the world than all the teachers, scientists, emperors, generals and admirals who ever lived, all put together.

The apostle John said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that who so ever believed in him would not perish but have everlasting life.”

We have been promised that all we have to do is ask God in Jesus name to help when we have done all we can — when we’ve come to the end of our strength and abilities and we’ll have that help. We only have to trust and have faith in his infinite goodness and mercy.

Loyal, you and Edith have known a great love — more than many have been permitted to know. That love will not end with the end of this life. We’ve been promised this is only a part of life and that a greater life, a greater glory awaits us. It awaits you together one day and all that is required is that you believe and tell God you put yourself in his hands.

Love Ronnie”


Thanks to Seth Keshel for drawing attention to this letter on his Telegram channel.