Ronald Reagan tried to convert Mikhail Gorbachev to Christianity, aide claims
A new biography that draws on recently declassified documents discloses a secret exchange between the two leaders that left at least one official present convinced that Reagan had tried to persuade his counterpart of God's existence.
The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan, by the former Los Angeles Times reporter James Mann, provides fresh insight into the former US president's religious convictions and the role they played in foreign policy. Reagan had apparently reached a conviction, which has since become well-documented, that Mr Gorbachev was a "closet Christian" after hearing the Soviet leader use the expression "God bless".
Advisers told Reagan not to read too much into the expression. Colin Powell, the national security adviser, told the president: "Don't see this as an expression of religious faith. It's almost idiomatic. He's not ready to get down on his knees for you."
But during their final summit meeting in Moscow in May, 1988, Reagan opened what appeared to be a pre-planned discussion about God.
Reagan took the opportunity he sought when Mr Gorbachev disclosed that he had been baptised into the Russian Orthodox faith by his mother but now had no religious belief.
He started by telling Mr Gorbachev a tale about a wounded Russian soldier during the Second World War who turned to God just before he died even though he had been raised an atheist.
One of the men recording the conversation, Rudolf Perina, the director of Soviet Affairs at the National Security Council, was convinced that Reagan had tried to convert his host.
comments powered by Disqus
- Kitty Genovese Killing Is Retold in the Film ‘37’
- Lithuania wants to erase its ugly history of Nazi collaboration
- Huckabee: Iran nuclear deal will march Israelis ‘to the door of the oven’
- Connecticut Democrats drop Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson names from annual fundraising dinner
- AP releases a million minutes of filmed history to YouTube
- Historian Howard Segal says the cost of paying for expensive commencement speeches is diverting funds from where they’re most needed
- Historian Shelly Cline researches female Nazi guards
- Owen Chadwick, Eminent Historian of Christianity, Dies at 99
- Members of the University of South Florida’s history department are finding new ways to get their jobs done after budget cuts
- Testing the U.S.-Israel Bond