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Yearning to Be Free

On January 6, 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed Congress as to the state of the war in Europe. The speech was intended to rally the American people against the Axis threat and to shift favor in support of assisting British and Allied troops. Roosevelt’s words came at a time of extreme American isolationism; since World War I, many Americans sought to distance themselves from foreign entanglements, including foreign wars. Policies to curb immigration quotas and increase tariffs on imported goods were implemented, and a series of Neutrality Acts passed in the 1930s limited American arms and munitions assistance abroad

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. 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…everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear…anywhere in the world. That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation.   (

Most of what he said that day has been forgotten. However, at the close of his address, he said that he looked forward “to a world founded upon four essential freedoms.”

1. Freedom of speech

2. Freedom of worship

3. Freedom from want

4. Freedom from fear.   


Almost 80 years have passed since President Roosevelt stated four essential freedoms that all nations should seek to honor.  It was his hope that each nation would determine to eagerly pursue the fulfillment of those four cornerstones for the people of the world.  In his mind, the goal was that if each nation worked to fulfill those four, all other differences between us would either be viewed as tolerable or unimportant.

As we know now, it would be less than 24 hours before Mr. Roosevelt would return to Congress to state that “today, Dec.7, 1941, is a day that will live in infamy!”  The Japanese fighter planes would bomb the US Pacific Fleet that was docked in Pearl Harbor. The horrific attack killed many of our sailors at Pearl Harbor and disabled or destroyed the planes at Hickam Air Force base.  For many years to follow, World War II created open hostility in Europe, Asia, and Africa with horrific loss. 

The end of the long and bloody war would not come until 1945.  But the hope of establishing the Four Freedoms globally has never been realized.  The tragedy is that even in America, we are not embracing or protecting the freedoms and our people do live in fear in many places. If “give-away” programs worked, we would be free from want in the USA by now.  But, only giving people food and shelter creates a dependency that is now established generation to generation to keep on being the supplier. Working to provide the needs of life builds responsibility, worth, and character.

Only Jesus can empower people to fight for the liberty they seek and motivate them to secure and protect the freedom from wants of life by His transforming power.  Just give me Jesus!