President Reagan declared 1983 the Year of the Bible during his address at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., on February 3. Three days earlier, he addressed a session of the National Religious Broadcasters convention on the theme of the Bible. His 21-minute speech was interrupted by applause 15 times.
Christianity Today's March 4, 1983 issue, excerpted the speech. Here it is printed in full.
Thank you all very much, and thank you, Brandt Gustavson. [President of the National Religious Broadcasters]. Ladies and gentlemen, the distinguished guests, thank you all very much.
I had a little problem last night myself with regard to my name. [Laughter] I thought about a week ago that maybe I would persuade someone to change their name from Riggins to Reagan. [Laughter] But after yesterday afternoon, I thought maybe I ought to change my name to his. [Laughter]
You all have an expression among you that—well, first of all, you confess to being poor audiences for others; I haven't found it so. But you also have an expression about preaching to the choir. I don't know just exactly what my address, how that fits under that today, but what a wonderful sight you are.
In a few days I'll be celebrating another birthday, which, according to some in the press, puts me on a par with Moses. [Laughter] That doesn't really bother me, because every year when I come here, when I look out at your warm and caring faces, I get a very special feeling, like being born again.
There's something else I've been noticing. In a time when recession has gripped our land, your industry, religious broadcasting, has enjoyed phenomenal growth. Now, there may be some who are frightened by your success, but I'm not one of them. As far as I'm concerned, ...1