Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tolerance Awareness Tuesday - FDR

Brother Franklin Delano Roosevelt served as President of the United States longer than any one before, or any one in the future will (as long as we don't amend the constitution!). He is known for his New Deal and steady hand at the helm during WWII. He was, however, a proponent of religious tolerance, as this letter indicates:

"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. ...

"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