The Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council is looking forward to marking the 75th anniversary of Franklin Roosevelt’s 1941 State
of the Union address which included religious freedom among the “four freedoms” Roosevelt considered most worthy of protecting on a global basis. This famous speech was made the very same year that concluded with formal entry of the United States into the Second World War.
GKCIC’s yearlong commemoration will take several forms and be coordinated by GKCIC member Barry Speert who has visited the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York and reported on presidential elections in a nonpartisan capacity for KMBC-TV9, KCPT-TV19 and KMBZ-AM980. Educational programs and speakers will be offered throughout the metro area. Watch for scheduling information early in 2016.
The ways in which religious freedom is being challenged today, compared to 75 years ago, is one topic certain to be discussed. Along with that, connections will be made between religious freedom and the three other freedoms Roosevelt mentioned. The other freedoms are the freedom of speech, the freedom from want and the freedom from fear. Taken together, these freedoms provided the basis for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Many different sources will be utilized including Colleen McDannell’s book Picturing Faith in which she states that “with the Four Freedoms speech, the toleration of minority difference was imbued with more significance because of its association with religion. In addition, this was not merely a generalized notion of religion. Roosevelt specifically cited ‘freedom of worship’ as what should be guaranteed to produce a moral order.”
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