March 8, 1983 – President Ronald Reagan Decries the “Evil Empire” of the USSR

On this day in history, President Reagan addressed the National Association of Evangelicals, intending to dissuade clergymen from supporting the nuclear freeze movement.

He admiringly told his audience an anecdote about a young father, who, in spite of claiming to love his daughters, declared in a speech:

I would rather see my little girls die now; still believing in God, than have them grow up under communism and one day die no longer believing in God.”

Reagan reports that the audience, upon hearing the depth of that father’s “love” came to their feet with shouts of joy. He went on:

Yes, let us pray for the salvation of all of those who live in that totalitarian darkness–pray they will discover the joy of knowing God. But until they do, let us be aware that while they preach the supremacy of the State, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world.”

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He then implored his listeners not to succumb to pride by not recognizing which side is bad and which is good:

So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride — the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil….”

He summarized: “The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith.” And he believed the U.S. would win, citing Isaiah:

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary.”

You can read the text of this religious sermon speech here.

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