The Four Freedoms

Are you familiar with the Four Freedoms?  If you are under the age of 75 this may not ring a bell.  After all, you weren’t even born when the famous “Four Freedoms” speech was given by Franklin Roosevelt on January 6, 1941, almost a year before Pearl Harbor was bombed.  But for those who lived during those dark days, this speech became an unforgettable reminder of what America stood for, and what it stood to lose if tyranny were to gain a foothold.

It was the World War II era and Hitler’s army had ravaged Europe.  America stood alone, isolated from the tyranny spreading across the ocean.  For many years America refused to get involved in a World War that could tear Europe, Africa and Asia apart.  She stood stoically on the sidelines, hoping war would not reach her shores.  But over time, the U.S. realized even she could not avoid the evil spreading through the world.  President Roosevelt began to see it was a matter of time before Hitler set his sights on this beautiful land.

At that time most Americans did not want to be drawn into a war.  After all, they had lost thousands of soldiers in the previous war- World War I.  What had they gained from that war?  For now, Great Britain and the Allies continued to hold back Hitler’s forces with their sheer might.  Surely, they could defeat Hitler.  Or could they?

Great Britain’s forces began to get weaker, and the fight became harder.  Winston Churchill reached out for help from America.  Why wouldn’t the world’s greatest democracy help fight for freedom from tyranny?  Did America really think they were immune to the attacks of Hitler?  The war had already spread to four continents.

Roosevelt became convinced the United States must help the Allies in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia.  In order to convince the American people, he knew he had to make a fervent and convincing case.  Thus, on January 6, 1941 he gave one of the most famous speeches in America called The Four Freedoms.

In the speech Roosevelt built a strong case around the idea of democracy.  He explained Hitler and his forces would wipe out democracy around the world.  A good portion of the countries affected would be our trade partners and former allies.  Yet, with the blanket of tyranny laid over them, they would suffocate and cease to exist.  How would this benefit the U.S.?  It would stifle the economy and build tensions further. Below is an excerpt  from the speech Roosevelt gave:

“No realistic American can expect from a dictator’s peace international generosity, or return of true independence, or world disarmament, or freedom of expression, or freedom of religion — or even good business.

Such a peace would bring no security for us or for our neighbors. “Those, who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

As a nation, we may take pride in the fact that we are softhearted; but we cannot afford to be soft-headed.”

The most powerful part of the speech came when Roosevelt outlined the Four Freedoms we would be fighting for and protecting as a nation.   The first freedom outlined was the freedom of speech and expression.  This Constitution protects this right, and it is a right every human should receive.  If tyranny were to invade, this right would be silenced.

The next freedom mentioned was Freedom of Worship.  Every person may worship God in his/her own way, regardless of where they live.  Hitler sought to remove this choice, especially amongst the Jewish people, who were forbidden to practice their faith.  Worse yet, they were being thrown into concentration camps and exterminated simply for who they were.  At this time, the United States did not know the full scope of how badly the Jews were being treated (along with political prisoners, gypsies and homosexuals).  The atrocities being committed would not fully surface until the end of the war.)

The third freedom Roosevelt emphasized was Freedom from Want.  What does this mean?  It meant as humans we should not have to want for food, water, clothing and the basic necessities of life.  We should be able to have these things through a stable economy, run by a fair government, who doesn’t set out to deny citizens these basic things we cannot live without.

The last freedom mentioned is Freedom from Fear.  This means we should not have to fear the brutality of nations whose weapons and aggression would seek to strike fear in our hearts and lives.  Roosevelt was also making a case against allowing other nations to build up their arms and weapons to the point where they could overpower another nation.  Of course, we all know the atomic bomb, the most powerful of all weapons, ended up being used as a way to end the war.  To this day, a great fear exists about the use of this weapon.  In the wrong hands, this weapon would surely rob the world of freedom from fear.  The Iran nuclear deal is one such example of how this fear can become front page news (and for good reason).

These freedoms were in jeopardy with rulers like Hitler in power.  America was a symbol of these freedoms to the rest of the world, and she had a duty to protect them.

America’s time came on December 7, 1941 when Pearl Harbor was attacked.  An all out assault on Freedom from Fear came at 7:48 a.m., Hawaiian time.  Three hundred fifty three Imperial Japanese fighter planes, bombers and torpedo planes attacked.  Americans woke up to the sounds of war and fear at their doorstep.

The idea of the Four Freedoms resonated with American artist Norman Rockwell.  Rockwell was already famous for creating brilliant covers for the Saturday Evening Post.  His art featured iconic American life.  Scenes in his artwork were infused with football, ice cream, picnics, puppy love and the American dream.  Looking at Rockwell’s work made one think of America at its best.

When Rockwell created paintings of the Four Freedoms, they immediately captured the eyes and hearts of the American public.  The images he painted became symbols for freedom, and inspired Americans to donate their time and money to the war effort.  Rockwell’s paintings boosted morale and forced Americans to work for what they valued the most- these Four Freedoms.  ( a link is provided below where you can look at the paintings Rockwell created)    

I highly suggest you look at these four paintings Rockwell titled, The Four Freedoms.  These freedoms are what we are fighting for right now.  All these freedoms are in jeopardy.  All of them.  I recently visited the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and when I stood in front of each painting a spiritual alarm rang inside my soul.  I could not deny it.  It lingered throughout the day and even into the night.  I knew these freedoms could be a shadow of what once was.  A new shadow is beginning to cover the American landscape.

As I looked at the painting titled Freedom of Speech, I thought about something troubling.  Freedom of speech is being threatened by the media.  The media is controlled by the powers that be, and by those who have the most money.  What we see and hear is what is being put in front of us.  It’s up to us to dig up the truth and figure out what’s fact or fiction.   Truth tellers are often squelched, while liars are given free reign.  Where’s the freedom in that?   Often things that are clearly bad are being called good.  What was once good is now bad.

How about Freedom of Worship?  Currently we are able to practice our religion freely.  We can go to any church we like and basically worship the way we want.  Even though we can do these things, the assault has begun.  Christians, in particular, are mostly overlooked when it comes to persecution around the world.  Here in America they are at times vilified for their beliefs.  Agendas against Christianity are on the rise around the world, and in America.  In addition, being Jewish is coming under attack as well.  States such as California have openly Anti-Semitic groups who proudly display swastikas on flags, and spray paint obscenities on cars, doors and buildings.  Yet, in the midst of all this, it is often Islam that is painted in a positive, peaceful light.  Islam is certainly not the religion of our forefathers, and it is not a religion of peace.  All one has to do is actually read the Koran and he/she will understand why there is so much violence being unleashed in the world and in America in the name of Islam.  Nonetheless, Americans are asked to “be sensitive” to this intolerant religion.  Christianity is tolerant.  Judaism is tolerant.  Yet, these two religious groups are often overlooked and criticized, while religions that promote violence are given “free speech.”  Granted, I do not think all Muslims or people who follow Islam believe in violence and killing.  However, I have read biographies of terrorists and former terrorists, as well as the biographies of those who have left Islam, and it sheds much light on where the violence stems from.  If one reads the history of Mohammed, the second half of the Koran, and the public ideologies set forth by high ranking leaders in Islam (particularly of countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Syria) it is clear there is something wrong within the religion of Islam.   Yet, currently we are in the process of taking in thousands and thousands of refugees.  It makes me wonder why Middle Eastern countries do not open their own borders and take in people who share similar religious and cultural values.  America’s values are quite different from those who reside in Islam-dominated countries in the Middle East where NO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM EXISTS!  Most of these countries put citizens to death, or in jail if they practice any religion but Islam.  I don’t see a whole lot of this information being portrayed in the media.  Not a lot of emphasis is put on the belief systems of these nations, or their people.  Yes, it is a profoundly sad situation in places like Syria and Africa.  But, it is a core issue within Islam that is the problem here.  America is a CHRISTIAN nation who promotes tolerance and equality.  These values go against the core beliefs of some of these Islam-following nations.   The real question is, “How tolerant will they be of us in our own country?”  How long will freedom of religion last in a country that is only sensitive to religions who practice “intolerance.”  Again I am not saying all Muslims, or those who practice Islam believe this way, but the Koran teaches these principles of intolerance.

Now we come to Freedom From Want.  Well, I can say for myself, I am not in a state of want.  I look around me and I can see that most people are not in a state of want.  Yes, we have homeless Americans, as well as a poor population, but technically most people have running water, access to food, clothing and shelter.  We are not in an economically dire situation like what occurred during the Great Depression.  In fact, most people have more than what they need.  Even those in need seem to have I Phones, or at least nice shoes!  Some of us have so much stuff it’s coming out of the windows of our homes!  Most people have cars and we have plenty of gas to go around.  When you look at Norman Rockwell’s painting of Freedom from Want you see a big ol’ juicy turkey, and plenty of food to feed a large, hungry family.  This Thanksgiving most of us will play out that same scene fairly easily.  Turkeys will be plentiful, and so will pumpkin pies.

Yet, a dark shadow is lingering over all this.  How many people know that as of today, October 24, 2016, the national debt stands at $19,739,377,000,000.  Actually I rounded it because as I was checking the figure it kept changing every second so I couldn’t keep up.  By the time you check on the link I provide at the end of this blog, it will be a lot higher!   That is just plain terrifying!!!!  Now, I ask you, how long can we go on this way!  At some point something has to give.  Right now we have politicians and Presidential candidates pushing open borders, along with bringing in millions of refugees.  How much money do you think all that will cost?  If everyone were working, it would be one thing.  As it is, we are supporting millions of Americans who either aren’t working, or will not work in the future.   We also have a broken healthcare system, and we are constantly cleaning up one natural disaster after another.   Our educational system is a mess, along with Social Security.   Just about every aspect of American life is being pushed to a breaking point.  I wonder how long we will be free from want?

Another detail that many Americans may have missed is the deal that just went through with China.  The International Monetary Fund just allowed the yuan (China’s currency) to enter the currency basket.  Before China entered, the basket contained only the U.S. dollar, Euro, Japanese yen and the pound sterling.  China’s currency became effective in the basket as of October 1, 2016.    Maybe this doesn’t sound like a big deal to you.  Well, the problem with this is that the U.S. dollar is losing credibility around the world.  With the Chinese yuan entering in the basket other countries now have the choice of trading in yuan rather than dollars.  It is possible a “dumping” of the U.S. dollar could occur, which would obviously send a shock wave to our economy.  The yuan has just entered the basket, but only time will tell the effect it may have on the United States dollar.  And by the way, you can thank Bill Clinton for allowing China to enter the World Trade Organization back in 2001.  China entered in to our trade markets like a sly snake (led by Slick Willy).  Of course, China does not follow the same rules as the United States when it comes to trade.  They can pay their workers pennies in exchange for labor, and they can build/manufacture without those pesky FDA guidelines.  If they make toys with lead paint, who’s going to stop them?  They have their own rules.  Thanks Bill!

Now, we are at the last one- Freedom from Fear.  This one is possibly the most important.  Hmm, are we free from fear?  Sadly, we are not.  Every time I listen to people speak around me I can hear the “fear” in their voices.  They are afraid of what America is becoming.  They are afraid of terrorists.  They are afraid of our government.  Whether we like it or not, fear has entered our country and it doesn’t seem to be leaving.  As the country changes, the fear will only grow if it is not stopped dead in its tracks.

Yes, we have an election coming up.  Are we afraid.  Oh yes- that’s an understatement.  This is one frightening election.  This election will very likely determine what will happen with these Four Freedoms.  I’ve talked to a lot of people and everyone seems to wonder how we got to this point.  How did America get here?

Well, it is a long complicated story to explain how America got here.  However, I can tell you where America BEGAN.  It began in the early 1600’s with the arrival of the first settlers at Roanoke, Jamestown and Plymouth.  They knew the value of an Almighty Creator.  It began with the inauguration of one great President- George Washington.  He was inaugurated near Ground Zero, at Federal Hall, in New York City.

Washington has been quoted as saying New York is the “seat of an Empire.”  Thus, New York is called the Empire State.  But Washington’s New York and Washington’s America isn’t quite the same nation it was back in 1789.   Norman Rockwell’s America has changed as well.  Where are we going as a nation?

I can tell you one thing.  We should be heading toward God as a nation.  As it is, we are moving away.  The Four Freedoms are part of our nation because God allowed it to be so.  He is in charge.  During the time when Roosevelt made the Four Freedoms speech we were preparing to enter a war where Hitler was trying to wipe out every Jew on the Earth, along with anyone who would oppose him.  We entered the war eventually and would help liberate the camps, and free the world of evil.   We were blessed for that.

Where are we now?  No longer are we trying to save the Jewish people.  We are not supporting Israel as a nation.  We are asking them to divide their land.

Here in our own land we are ripping apart at the seams because of rampant sin, greed and laws that remove God from our framework.  Our people are at the cusp of  a Civil War- the war is racial, religious and political.  Our economy seems to be strong, but when you look at the details of our debt, it is hanging on by a thread.  Why?

As this election draws near you should have one prayer- that God would not be forgotten.  God is a gentleman and he will not force himself on anyone.  He willingly sent his son Jesus to die for our sins.  This is a gift.  We can accept it, or reject it.  Our nation was given a gift too.  As a nation we can accept it, or reject it.  But, when we reject the gift, those Four Freedoms I mentioned earlier will be rejected as well.  You can’t have the blessing without the Father, or without the Son.  Our nation was also blessed for helping Israel.  We have always helped them.  But now we are letting them stand alone.  Our nations are bound together- both blessed by the same God.  We must support each other.

Knowing God/Jesus  involves more than just “going to church”.  We can all go to church and listen.  The devil can sit in a pew and listen.  We must have a relationship with Jesus.  That’s the only way.  Pray to him as if he were sitting next to you.  Talk to him like he’s really listening.  Follow him.  Read his word.  If you have a relationship with a person you talk to them and have fellowship.

 It’s time for America to stop sitting on the pew.

http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2009/01/01/art-entertainment/norman-rockwell-art-entertainment/rockwells-four-freedoms.html

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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