Friday, August 28, 2009

Harry Truman vs. Barack Obama

Barack Obama has gone around the world assuring (Muslim) nations that America is not a Christian nation.

Of course, Obama is mistaken.

Just ask Harry Truman.

Here is an Exchange of Messages With Pope Pius XII, from the The Public Papers of the Presidents, released on this day in 1947.

Your Holiness:

In continuance of the exchanges of views undertaken from time to time since their beginning, on December 23, 1939, for the purpose of facilitating parallel endeavors for peace and the alleviation of human suffering, I am requesting Mr. Taylor to return to Rome and to resume audiences with Your Holiness at such times as may be found appropriate. These exchanges have already contributed profoundly toward a sound and lasting peace and to the strengthening of the impelling convictions pursued by the peoples of the world in their quest for a moral world order firmly established in the life of nations.

I desire to do everything in my power to support and to contribute to a concert of all the forces striving for a moral world. Those forces are in the homes of peaceful and law-abiding citizens in every part of the world who are exemplifying in their own lives the principles of the good neighbor: the Golden Rule itself. They are on the farms, in the factories, mines, and little shops in all parts of the world where the principles of free cooperation and voluntary association in self-government are honored. These moral aspirations are in the hearts of good men the world over. They are in all churches, and in schools. The war demonstrated that all persons, regardless of divergent religious allegiances, can unite their efforts for the preservation and support of the principles of freedom and morality and justice. They must unite their efforts in the cause of enduring peace if they are not one by one to be weakened and rendered impotent at the times of their great need. They have, individually and together, the duty to vindicate, by their thoughts and deeds, the great hopes for which men fought in World War II and the hopes which today all serious-thinking men and women throughout the world know must be attained.

The tasks now confronting us are formidable. The conditions for meeting the heavy problems of war settlement and of new problems still unsolved are accompanied by multiplied discouragements. Unless the moral forces of the world now join their strength, discouragement must inevitably deepen, and the strength and effectiveness which thereby would be lost by these moral forces would be gained by those forces which oppose and seek to destroy them. The hopes and ideals of mankind have often been jeopardized by force. They will be jeopardized today by any division of the moral forces of the world or, by any refusal to support and strengthen the hopes and ideals of all mankind.

As the chosen leader of the people of the United States I am privileged to pledge full faith to you once again to work with Your Holiness and with every agency of good the world over for an enduring peace. An enduring peace can be built only upon Christian principles. To such a consummation we dedicate all our resources, both spiritual and material, remembering always that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it.

Your Holiness, this is a Christian Nation. More than a half century ago that declaration was written into the decrees of the highest court in this land. It is not without significance that the valiant pioneers who left Europe to establish settlements here, at the very beginning of their colonial enterprises, declared their faith in the Christian religion and made ample provision for its practice and for its support. The story of the Christian missionaries who in earliest days endured perils, hardship--even death itself in carrying the message of Jesus Christ to untutored savages is one that still moves the hearts of men.

As a Christian Nation our earnest desire is to work with men of good will everywhere to banish war and the causes of war from the world whose Creator desired that men of every race and in every clime should live together in peace, good will and mutual trust. Freedom of conscience, ordained by the Fathers of our Constitution to all who live under the flag of the United States, has been a bulwark of national strength, a source of happiness, from the establishment of our Nation to this day.

I believe that the greatest need of the world today, fundamental to all else, is a renewal of faith. I seek to encourage renewed faith in the dignity and worth of the human person in all lands, to the end that the individual's sacred rights, inherent in his relationship to God and his fellows, will be respected in every land. We must have faith in the inevitable triumph of truth and decency; faith that mankind shall live in freedom, not in the chains of untruth nor in the chains of a collectivist organization of their lives; faith of such fullness that it will energize men and women everywhere to build with tenacity, the better social world order under self-rule. The times demand faith that is strong enough to struggle if need be for the right, that is able to endure troubles and hardships, attack and even contempt from forces of evil--and able to arise reborn and revitalized from the daily struggle. Faith leads to hope, to determination, to trust in the truth and the good, and to sustained effort to create the kind of peace and well-being sought by humble men and women in all lands and which will ultimately prevail between all nations. Through faith, the purposes of God shall be carried out in the hearts and deeds of Man. I believe with heartfelt conviction that those who do not recognize their responsibility to Almighty God cannot meet their full duty toward their fellow men.

I have asked Mr. Taylor to convey these views and to say that I seek to cooperate with the efforts of Your Holiness and the efforts of every leader of the world's moral forces. Our common goal is to arouse and invigorate the faith of men to attain eternal values in our own generation--no matter what obstacles exist or may arise in the path.

Faithfully yours,


Truman spoke of a "renewal of faith," a faith in faith, or any faith, as Eisenhower would soon suggest, it doesn't matter which one. But it does matter, as Truman eventually got around to saying by the end of the paragraph. Great Faith in our own ability to end war will not end war.

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