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Minister Surprises Reagan, Calls for Spiritual Revival

September 30, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A black Baptist minister stood up after President Reagan's talk on behalf of Judge Robert H. Bork today and told the President that the United States needs "a spiritual revival."

An apparently stunned Reagan stood hovering over his lectern in the auditorium of the Old Executive Office Building as the Rev. George L. Lucas, sitting in the second row, delivered an approximately three-minute homily from his seat after a pep talk that Reagan had given to the audience of Bork supporters.

"We need revival in this country so bad, so that when (there is) a nomination like Judge Bork . . . we can get behind it," Lucas said, to the delight of many in the audience of about 200.

Lucas, pastor of Race Street Baptist Church in Petersburg, Va., said that the views of blacks on various issues are often misstated by people who "are not really black leaders. Jesse Jackson is not a leader. He's not my leader," he said as the audience applauded and Reagan listened.

"Not when black leaders go into a communist country and put their arms around Fidel Castro and the rest of these rascals," he said in a reference to Jackson's trip in Cuba.

Lucas said he had concluded that if God "allowed me an opportunity to speak today, I would say what's on my heart. And America needs to get back to the word of God. I call on black Americans . . . of all persuasions to support you . . . and we don't have a forum, and the only time I had a chance to speak was today."

Reagan, obviously touched, told the audience he was going to reply.

"When I came into this office, I came in with a declaration that I believed this nation was hungering for a spiritual revival, and I believe all over the country, that is happening, and I've tried every way I can to help bring it about," he said.

Reagan said he often resorts to prayer in search of wisdom. "The only thing that worries me is that sometimes I wonder if maybe I'm going to call and he's going to give me a busy signal, because I do it so often," Reagan said.

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