Hear our prayer
We have sinned before Thee
Have compassion upon us and upon our children
Help us bring an end to pestilence, war, and famine
Cause all hate and oppression to vanish from the earth
Inscribe us for blessing in the Book Of Life
Let the new year be a good year for us
By abandoning English constitutionalism and creating a new republic based on the rights of the individual, the North Americans introduced a new force in the world. Ideas spread most rapidly when they have found adequate concrete expression. Thus republicanism entered our Romanic/Germanic world… Up to this point, the conviction had prevailed in Europe that monarchy best served the interests of the nation. Now the idea spread that the nation should govern itself. But only after a state had actually been formed on the basis of the theory of representation did the full significance of this idea become clear. All later revolutionary movements have this same goal… This was the complete reversal of a principle. Until then, a king who ruled by the grace of God had been the center around which everything turned. Now the idea emerged that power should come from below... These two principles are like two opposite poles, and it is the conflict between them that determines the course of the modern world.
Norman Rockwell captured the vision of Franklin Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms.
As I understand the history of World War Two, the average person thought he or she was fighting to keep a way of life based on respect for independent thought, free speech, tolerance for religious differences, basic economic security, and freedom from war.
In his January 1941 State of the Union Address President Franklin D. Roosevelt enumerated four essential freedoms for which we as a Nation stand and for which we will fight.
“The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way–everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings, which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.”
In 1941 the United States went to war with the evil called fascism.
The Allies rallied around human rights:
The Fascists focused on fear and global dominance.
Many of us would not have been born had the fascists won that war.
What is faith?
In the cynical version of history Roosevelt lied about his four freedoms; cynics point to the racism, and the homophobia of that generation, and they are right.
The people who followed a president into a war to protect essential human rights were flawed.
But they paid their taxes and voted to spent their money to build a working democracy.
They had vision and hope.
Hope and a working democracy gave birth to the civil rights Movement, to the gay rights movement, to feminism and the mid 20th Century explosion of art and ideas that lead to the internet and social media.
What is a working democracy?
A working Democracy is one in which we as a Nation talk to each other and use reason; it is one in which the people and their leaders live by and respect the rule of law.
A working democracy is one in which we have faith in our ability to make the right choices and faith in our ability to eventually do what is just, what is right and what is good, regardless of the cost.
Good and evil are the choices we make as a people.
Will we allow a corrupt tyrant to usurp our government and our freedoms or will we demand the removal of his puppet and those who work to protect him.
“The Soviet amendment to article 20 is obviously a very restrictive statement of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. It sets up standards which would enable any state practically to deny all freedom of opinion and expression without violating the article. It introduces the terms “democratic view,” “democratic systems,” “democratic state,” and “fascism,” which we know all too well from debates in this Assembly over the past two years on warmongering and related subjects are liable to the most flagrant abuse and diverse interpretations.”
“We in the United States have come to realize it means freedom to choose one’s job, to work or not to work as one desires … people have a right to demand that their government will not allow them to starve because as individuals they cannot find work … and this is a decision … which came as a result of the great depression in which many people were out of work, but we would not consider in the United States that we had gained any freedom if we were compelled to follow a dictatorial assignment to work where and when we were told.”
“The final expression of the opinion of the people with us is through free and honest elections, with valid choices on basic issues and candidates. The secret ballot is essential to free elections … I have heard my husband say many times that a people need never lose their freedom if they kept their right to a secret ballot … Basic decisions of our society are made through the expressed will of the people. That is why when we see these liberties threatened, instead of falling apart, our nation becomes unified and our democracies come together as a unified group in spite of our varied backgrounds and many racial strains.
In a recent speech in Canada, Gladstone Murray said:
The central fact is that man is fundamentally a moral being, that the light we have is imperfect does not matter so long as we are always trying to improve it … we are equal in sharing the moral freedom that distinguishes us as men. Man’s status makes each individual an end in himself. No man is by nature simply the servant of the state or of another man … the ideal and fact of freedom — and not technology — are the true distinguishing marks of our civilization.
This Declaration is based upon the spiritual fact that man must have freedom in which to develop his full stature and through common effort to raise the level of human dignity. We have much to do to fully achieve and to assure the rights set forth in this Declaration. But having them put before us with the moral backing of 58 nations will be a great step forward.”