Doing some random web browsing and reading, I came across a speech given by Ronald Reagan in 1984.
For what it is worth, 1984 happens to be the year I graduated high school, a time when I was too sheltered from the world and too distracted by what I was told was right to give much thought to what I believed was right. I am a much different person, in many respects, from the person I was then. I have grown much in education, in experience, in years, and in ability to think critically about what I am told and about what I choose to believe.
Speaking to Tempel Hillel in Valley Stream, NY, then President Reagan said the following:
“…we were founded as a nation of openness to people of all beliefs. And so we must remain. Our very unity has been strengthened by our pluralism. We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate. All are free to believe or not believe, all are free to practice a faith or not, and those who believe are free, and should be free, to speak of and act on their belief.
At the same time that our Constitution prohibits state establishment of religion, it protects the free exercise of all religions. And walking this fine line requires government to be strictly neutral. And government should not make it more difficult for Christians, Jews, Muslims, or other believing people to practice their faith.”
President Reagan was a true conservative, holding dear the principles found in the Bill of Rights.
Would that all of the self-described conservatives of whatever party or faith were this dedicated to truth and freedom as was Reagan.
(Transcript of the entire speech may be found at http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/RR10_26_84.html)