Faith has always been essential throughout history, making it the most powerful weapon that there can ever be. Some people use faith for various purposes. For example: war, power, wealth. Since communism started in the early 30’s America has always tried a way to exterminate it. One of these ways was the Cold War that lasted from 1945-1991. In the Annual Convention of the National Association of Evangelicals, Ronald Reagan gave the speech “The Evil Empire” (Figure 1) in which he embraces faith in order to fight communism through comparisons and references. In order for Americans to win the Cold War against the Soviets, Ronald Reagan utilizes faith as a weapon to injure the Soviet’s reputation and belief.
Fig. 1. President Ronald Reagan gives the speech “The Evil Empire”. Photograph. 8 March 1983. American Rhetoric. Web. 3 Oct. 2010.
Reagan arms the U.S. with faith using quotes of the founding fathers of America. For example, he states the quote from Thomas Jefferson, “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time”, meaning that we get our freedom at birth from God. Another quote he refers to is from William Penn saying, “If we will not be governed by God, we must be governed by tyrants”, Penn implies that in order to have equality we must consult God. Reagan also refers to Alexis de Tocqueville an observer of America democracy. Alexis states, “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pupils 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”, meaning that America gets power from the people that are praying to God. According to Ronald Reagan, “There’s a great spiritual awakening in America, a renewal of the traditional values that have been the bedrock of America’s goodness and greatness.” With this reference Reagan is implying to the conference and Nation that America is good, since it is supported by God.
Now that Reagan accomplishes to compare America to goodness, he is able to attack the Soviets by comparing them to evil. He starts by giving results of a survey saying that “Americans were far more religious than the people of other nations”; he also points out that “America has kept alight the torch of freedom, but not just for ourselves but for millions of others around the world”, emphasizing that they have been fighting to keep communism away from other countries. For example: Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia, Laos and Cuba. He also points out that “Soviet leaders have openly and publicly declared that the only morality they recognize is that which will further their cause, which is world revolution”, meaning that there is no importance in the belief, only if it benefits their cause. Then he quotes a young father referring to the time of the Cold War saying, “I would rather see my little girls die now; still believing in God, than have them grow up under the communism and one day die no longer believing in God”, bearing that people who believe in communism are forced to not believe in God. Reagan asks, “Let us pray for the salvation of all those who live in that totalitarian darkness” since “They are the focus of evil in the modern world”, meaning that the Soviets are the rulers of an Evil Empire.
With these comparisons, Reagan was able to place Americans as the "Good guys" since they belief in God and he was able to place the Soviets as the "Bad guys" since they were atheists. Throughout his presidency, Ronald Reagan focused his intentions to win the Cold War; he even comes to the point of making a “Star Wars” defense in order to weak the Soviet Unions’ reputation in the arms race. In his speech “The Evil Empire”, Ronald Reagan did a spectacular job addressing his audience since his speech talks about faith and he announced it in the Annual Convention of the National Association of Evangelicals. Also, he is able to give his point and ask the evangelicals to pray for the well-being of the United States of America, so that at last America will be able to shine freedom through the world without any conflict.
Reagan, Ronald. "The Evil Empire." American Rhetoric. 8 March 2009. Web. 3 Oct. 2010.
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Media Temple, 2010. Web. 3 Oct. 2010.
Reagan library. The Daily Republican, 2006. Web. 3 Oct. 2010.