I had no idea about the depth of Gerald Ford’s faith.
But World Magazine’s Marvin Olasky dug up a commencement address Ford gave in 1977 at his son’s graduation from seminary. If you are Christian or curious about the importance of religious faith to our leaders, I’d call this a must-read:
If the experience of the presidency itself led me to a greater reliance upon God, a greater appreciation of my religion, so did some of the critical events of those two and a half years in the White House. I remember particularly well when in September of 1974, just a few weeks after I had taken office, Betty had her bout with cancer. It was during that time that we came to a much deeper understanding of our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. At a time when human weakness and human frailty was such a real part of our lives, we were able to see clearly for the first time what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote that Christ’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. Having been through that experience, we found that we were better able to give comfort and hope to others in their time of pain.
The White House—those years—also taught us a dramatic lesson in the mortality of man. Twice I escaped an assassin’s bullet, and twice I came to understand in vivid terms another message of Paul, that we should trust not in ourselves but in God, who delivered us from death and preserves us still.
Ford was a moderate Republican and and he certainly didn’t wear his religious faith on his sleeve. I’ve been to his church, St. Margaret’s Episcopal in Palm Desert, CA, which is your typically low-impact Episcopalian service that Jeffrey Hart might approve of. But it sounds like he had a little evangelical fire in the belly.
God preserve you, Mr. President.