My uncle sent me this speech which was written in 1946 and delivered by President Harry Truman after victory in World War II–quite a difference from something our current administration would say of the outlook of our country. I wanted to share this, take it as you may:
We have just come through a decade in which forces of evil in various parts of the world have been lined up in a bitter fight to banish from the face of the earth religion and democracy. For these forces of evil have long realized that both religion and democracy are founded on one basic principle, the worth and dignity of the individual man and woman. Dictatorship, on the other hand, has always rejected that principle. Dictatorship, by whatever name, is founded on the doctrine that the individual amounts to nothing; that the State is the only thing that counts; and that men and women and children were put on earth solely for the purpose of serving the State.
In that long struggle between these two doctrines, the cause of decency and righteousness has been victorious. The right of every human being to live indignity and freedom, the right to worship his God in his own way, the right to fix his own relationship to his fellow men and to his Creator-these again have been saved for mankind.
The fight to preserve these rights was hard-won. The victory took a toll of human life and treasure so large that it should bring home to us forever how precious, how invaluable, is our liberty which we had just begun to take for granted. How that we have preserved our freedom of conscience and religion…let us make use of it to save a world which is beset by so many threats of new conflicts, new terror, and new destruction.
If men and nations would but live by the precepts of the ancient prophets and the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, problems which now seem so difficult would soon disappear.
This is a supreme opportunity for the Church to continue to fulfill its mission on earth and to provide the shock forces to accomplish this moral and spiritual awakening. No other agency can do it. Unless it is done, we are headed for the disaster we would deserve. Oh for an Isaiah or a Saint Paul to reawaken this sick world to its moral responsibilities.