Good must triumph over evil.
Forty years ago this week, President Ronald Reagan addressed a convention of the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida. Known to many as the “Evil Empire” speech, the address called out the Soviet Union, focusing on a series of moral failures in the country.
Mr. Reagan told the audience, “So, I urge you to speak out against those who would place the United States in a position of military and moral inferiority. You know, I’ve always believed that old Screwtape reserved his best efforts for those of you in the Church. 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.”
Our 40th President continued, “I ask you to resist the attempts of those who would have you withhold your support for our efforts, this administration’s efforts, to keep America strong and free, while we negotiate–real and verifiable reductions in the world’s nuclear arsenals and one day, with God’s help, their total elimination.”
Most importantly, Mr. Reagan declared something just as important today as it was four decades ago, “While America’s military strength is important, let me add here that I’ve always maintained that the struggle now going on for the world will never be decided by bombs or rockets, by armies or military might. The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith.”
Instead of taking a knee in protest, it is time for Americans to kneel down in prayer. In the Gospel of Matthew, we read that Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment in the law. He replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
A return to Godly principles would have a dramatic effect on the future of our country and its place in the world. Our nation was founded on the truth that all of us are created equal and that our Creator gives us unalienable rights. They come from God, not the government. We must do all that we can to protect these rights.
Mr. Reagan began his comments with these words, “The American experiment in democracy rests on this insight. Its discovery was the great triumph of our Founding Fathers, voiced by William Penn when he said: “If we will not be governed by God, we must be governed by tyrants.” Explaining the inalienable rights of men, Jefferson said, “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.” And it was George Washington who said that “of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”
The president noted, “that shrewdest of all observers of American democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville, put it eloquently after he had gone on a search for the secret of America’s greatness and genius–and he said: ‘Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the greatness and the genius of America. America is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.’”
Today, the Chinese Communist Party has taken over the mantle of the true evil empire. Report after report shows China’s inhuman treatment of Uyghurs and other religious minorities. Many include significant evidence of massive detention camps and reports of “crimes against humanity” that constitute genocide.
Add these to a growing list of concerns about the Chinese Communist Party that include involvement in the flow of Fentanyl into America through the southern border, the origination of COVID-19 at a lab in Wuhan (as reported by the U.S. Department of Energy and FBI), tracking of personal information through the TikTok app, intellectual property theft, data breaches into federal agencies, purchase of American businesses and farmland, and aggressive efforts to build infrastructure in foreign ports and even in bodies of international waters (like the islands emerging in the South China Sea).
China has become the aggressor in the world. Many of us believe that if not for the powerful display of resistance by the people of Ukraine since the invasion of their country by the Russian military, China would already have invaded Taiwan. They are the new evil empire.
Instead of stumbling into wars, American policy must return to Mr. Reagan’s Peace Through Strength to deter further aggression by Russia and future actions by China, Iran, North Korea, and other regimes around the world.
Good must triumph over evil for America to truly be great.
• Scott Walker is president of Young America’s Foundation and served as the 45th governor of Wisconsin from 2011 to 2019.