ebook The Faith of FDR - from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Public Papers 1933-1945
The Faith of FDR - from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Public Papers 1933-1945
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT was President for over 12 years, longer than any other. He won four Presidential Elections, 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944, and was in office during the Great Depression and World War II.
Regardless if one agrees with his politics, he exerted a significant influence on U.S. history. It is inevitable that a serious student would want to examine his faith.
Since political rhetoric is the lowest common denominator-appealing to the largest number of voters-FDR's statements reflect a public with generally accepted views on faith. Statements are from nearly 4,000 pages of FDR's Public Papers 1933-1945.
At the beginning of World War II, on January 25, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote the prologue of a special Gideons' edition of the New Testament & Book of Psalms distributed to millions of soldiers: "As Commander-in-Chief, I take pleasure in commending the reading of the Bible to all who serve in the armed forces of the United States. --(signed) Franklin D. Roosevelt."
Franklin D. Roosevelt stated December 15, 1941: "To Hitler, the church ... is a monstrosity to be destroyed by every means."
At a campaign event in Brooklyn, New York, November 1, 1940, Democrat Franklin Roosevelt condemned Germany's National Socialist Workers Party, stating: "Those forces hate democracy and Christianity as two phases of the same civilization. They oppose democracy because it is Christian. They oppose Christianity because it preaches democracy."
At Madison Square Garden in New York City, October 28, 1940, Franklin D. Roosevelt warned: "We guard against the forces of anti-Christian aggression, which may attack us from without."
FDR said in a Fireside Chat, April 28, 1942: "This great war effort must be carried through ... It shall not be imperiled by the handful of noisy traitors -- betrayers of America, betrayers of Christianity itself."
Roosevelt stated in his Labor Day Address, September 1, 1941: "Preservation of these rights is vitally important now, not only to us who enjoy them, but to the whole future of Christian civilization."
FDR addressed Congress regarding the Yalta Conference, March 1, 1945: "I saw Sevastopol and Yalta! And I know that there is not room enough on earth for both German militarism and Christian decency."
FDR stated May 27, 1941: "The whole world is divided between ... pagan brutality and the Christian ideal. We choose human freedom which is the Christian ideal."
Roosevelt addressed the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, December 6, 1933: "Early Christians challenged the pagan ethics of Greece and of Rome; We are wholly ready to challenge the pagan ethics ... of our boasted modern civilization."
FDR remarked in his State of the Union, January 6, 1942: "The world is too small ... for both Hitler and God ... Nazis have now announced their plan for enforcing their ... pagan religion all over the world -- a plan by which the Holy Bible and the Cross of Mercy would be displaced by Mein Kampf and the swastika and the naked sword."
FDR stated July 19, 1940: "We face one of the great choices of history ... the continuance of civilization as we know it versus the ultimate destruction of all that we have held dear -- religion against godlessness."
Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a radio greeting to the Boy Scouts, February 7, 1938: "On this 28th birthday of the Boy Scouts of America we should be especially thankful for a youth movement which seeks merely to preserve such simple fundamentals as physical strength, mental alertness and moral straightness."
In a Fireside Chat, March 9, 1937, FDR stated: "I hope that you have re-read the Constitution of the United States ... Like the Bible, it ought to be read again and again."
On October 6, 1935, FDR stated: "We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a nation, without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic ... Where we have been the truest and most consistent in obeying its precepts, we have attained the greatest measure of contentment and prosperity."
FDR stated January 6, 1942: "Our enemies are guided by ... unholy contempt for the human race. We are inspired by a faith that goes back ... to the Book of Genesis: 'God created man in His own image.'"
FDR stated November 4, 1944: "I can't talk about my opponent the way I would like to, because I try to think that I am a Christian. I try to think that some day I will go to Heaven, and I don't believe there is anything to be gained in saying dreadful things about other people."
FDR stated in a Radio Address at a Dinner of the Foreign Policy Association. New York City, October 21, 1944: "I'm sort of old-fashioned ... even in a political campaign, we ought to obey that ancient injunction - Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."
FDR stated October 1, 1938: "I doubt if there is any problem in the world ... that would not find happy solution if approached in the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount ... in conformity with the teaching of Him who is the Way, the Light and the Truth."
FDR stated January 4, 1939: "An ordering of society which relegates religion ... to the background can find no place within it for the ideals of the Prince of Peace. The United States rejects such an ordering, and retains its ancient faith."
FDR stated January 31, 1938: "There has been definite progress towards a spiritual reawakening ... I receive evidences of this from all our Protestant Churches; I get it from Catholic priests and from Jewish rabbis as well."
FDR stated December 6, 1933: "Churches and government ... can work hand in hand ... Government guarantees to the churches -- Gentile and Jewish -- the right to worship God in their own way ... State and Church are rightly united in a common aim."
In a Radio Address, November 4, 1940, FDR stated: "Democracy is the birthright of every citizen, the white and the colored; the Protestant, the Catholic, the Jew."
FDR stated at Madison Square Garden, October 28, 1940: "Your government is working ... with representatives of Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish faiths. Without these three, all three of them ... things would not be as ... easy."
Hearing of the atrocities suffered by Jews, FDR stated regarding Justice for War Crimes, March 24, 1944 "In one of the blackest crimes of all history -- begun by the Nazis ... the wholesale systematic murder of the Jews of Europe ... Hundreds of thousands of Jews ... are now threatened with annihilation as Hitler's forces descend more heavily ... That these innocent people, who have already survived a decade of Hitler's fury, should perish on the very eve of triumph over the barbarism which their persecution symbolizes, would be a major tragedy."
FDR stated regarding Jewish Refugees, June 12, 1944: "This nation is appalled by the systematic persecution of helpless minority groups by Nazis ... The fury of their insane desire to wipe out the Jewish race in Europe continues undiminished ... Many Christian groups also are being murdered ... Nazis are determined to complete their program of mass extermination."
FDR wrote to Rabbi Stephen Wise of the United Palestine Appeal, February 6, 1937: "The American people ... watched with sympathetic interest the effort of the Jews to renew in Palestine the ties of their ancient homeland and to reestablish Jewish culture in the place where for centuries it flourished and whence it was carried to the far corners of the world ... Two decades have witnessed ... the vitality and vision of the Jewish pioneers in Palestine. It should be a source of pride to Jewish citizens of the United States that they, too, have had a share in this great work of revival."
FDR told the American Youth Congress, February 10, 1940: "Mankind has always believed in God in spite of the many abortive attempts to exile God."
FDR stated May 27, 1941: "The Nazi world does not recognize any god except Hitler; for Nazis are as ruthless as the Communists in denial of God ... Will our children wander goose-stepping in search of new gods?"
FDR stated September 11, 1941: "The times call for ... inner strength that comes to a free people conscious of their duty and the righteousness of what they do, they will with Divine help and guidance -- stand their ground."
FDR ended his famous December 8, 1941, speech with the line: "With confidence in our armed forces -- with the unbounding determination of our people -- we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God."