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FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT
32nd President (1933-1945)
Political Affiliation: Democrat
Organizational Affiliation(s): Mason
Religious Affiliation: Episcopalian
Summary of Religious Views:
Views on Religion & Politics:
"From the bottom of my heart I believe that this beloved country of ours is entering upon a time of great gain. That gain can well include a greater material prosperity if we take care that it is a prosperity for a hundred and twenty million human beings and not a prosperity for the top of the pyramid alone. It can be a prosperity socially controlled for the common good. It can be a prosperity built on spiritual and social values rather than on special privilege and special power.
"Toward that new definition of prosperity the churches and the Governments, while wholly separate in their functioning, can work hand in hand. Government can ask the churches to stress in their teaching the ideals of social justice, while at the same time government guarantees to the churches- Gentile and Jewish—the right to worship God in their own way. The churches, while they remain wholly free from even the suggestion of interference in Government, can at the same time teach their millions of followers that they have the right to demand of the Government of their own choosing, the maintenance and furtherance of "a more abundant life." State and Church are rightly united in a common aim. With the help of God, we are on the road toward it." -- Address before the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, 6 December 1933
"The lessons of religious toleration -- a toleration which recognizes complete liberty of human thought, liberty of conscience -- is one which, by precept and example, must be inculcated in the hearts and minds of all Americans if the institutions of our democracy are to be maintained and perpetuated.
"We must recognize the fundamental rights of man. There can be no true national life in our democracy unless we give unqualified recognition to freedom of religious worship and freedom of education. We have not forgotten, nor ever shall forget, the noble service in the cause of religious toleration rendered by the Calverts in Maryland three centuries ago. It gives me pleasure, therefore, to learn that The Commonweal, organ of the Calvert Associates, has arranged to celebrate in St. Patrick's Cathedral next Monday the three hundred third anniversary of the founding of Maryland, and Maryland's part in the establishment of religious liberty in America.
"I have learned also with peculiar satisfaction that The Commonweal believes that rarely before in our history have prospects for achieving permanent harmony among the various elements composing our Nation been so propitious as at the present time. I rejoice in this assurance. I pledge myself at this solemn commemoration, with all the resources at my command, to work for so happy a consummation. My prayer shall ever be that this Nation, under God, may vindicate through all coming time the sanctity of the right of all within our borders to the free exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience." -- letter to Michael Williams, The Calvert Associates, 30 March 1937
"Our modern democratic way of life has its deepest roots in our great common religious tradition, which for ages past has taught to civilized mankind the dignity of the human being, his equality before God, and his responsibility in the making of a better and fairer world.
"Everywhere in the world there are men of stout heart and firm faith now engaged in a great spiritual struggle to test whether that ancient wisdom is to endure, or whether it must give way to the older, discarded doctrine that some few men shall dominate multitudes of others and dictate to them their thinking, their religion, their living. This conflict has found its most terrible expression in a war which has now engulfed a large portion of humanity. In its more peaceful aspects, the same struggle also pervades all efforts of men of good will who are seeking through democracy the way to the world to come.
"In teaching this democratic faith to American children, we need the sustaining, buttressing aid of those great ethical religious teachings which are the heritage of our modern civilization. For "not upon strength nor upon power, but upon the spirit of God" shall our democracy be founded." -- letter to Samuel I. Rosenman on Religion in Democracy, 16 December 1940
December 16th, 1940
"The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way -- everywhere in the world." --The "Four Freedoms" speech, 6 January 1941
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