NEW YORK (Feb. 19)
President Roosevelt’s firm stand for religious liberty was reported last night to more than 1,000 Catholic, Protestant and Jewish lay and religious leaders by Secretary of War George H. Dern, addressing the fellowship dinner of the National Committee for Religion and Welfare Recovery.
Governor Lehman, Mayor Laguardia, William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor, and Mrs. Edward Jacobs, president of Hadassah, also addressed the dinner which was held as a demonstration for a united front on behalf of a spiritual revival in the United States.
Secretary Dern stated: “The President desires me to tell you that he wholeheartedly sympathizes with your movement to raise the standard of human conduct by restoring spiritual values in our national life. Those who know the workings of his mind and heart understand that fellowship is his guiding star, and hence he is with you in your great undertaking.”
Discussing the necessity for human brotherhood, Mr. Dern said: “Most of us believe in a reasonable degree of preparedness as an insurance policy, but we admit that preparedness alone does not keep nations out of war. Witness the fact that no nation was ever so thoroughly prepared as Germany, and yet she got into the war and was overwhelmed. She needed something else besides preparedness–something of the spirit.”
Governor Lehman declared his plea was that “guided by these two bright beacon lights, fellowship and religion, we dedicate ourselves to the American principles which lie at the very foundation of our nation. The United States has been peopled and built by men and women who in true fellowship sought to know God in their generation.”
Introduced as the Jewish speaker, Mrs. Jacobs warned against the spread of “unhealthy chauvinism” as undermining the ideals of harmony, fellowship and universal peace. “Chauvinism, which emphasizes superiority, accentuates differences and is not consonant with tolerance.
“Those of my people who foster the Zionist ideal to build up a Jewish center in Palestine carry with it the hope and prayer that we shall on our historic soil build up a culture that will give expression to universal brotherhood born out of tolerance for all peoples and religions.”
Charles H. Tuttle, who presided, asserted that the occasion was “unique in bringing Protestants, Catholics and Jews together in the bonds of fellowship.” Mr. Green asked a consolidation of all organizations seeking spiritual recovery.
Mr. Dern said in part:
“Our major problem is how to change the human heart. When Walter Lippmann tells us that the disorder today is not the disorder of our system but the disorder of the human spirit, he is but telling us that which spiritual religion from the beginning has said. Just as a law may be either good or bad according to the manner in which it is administered, so our social and economic system would be all right if those who control it were always actuated a little more by love of their fellow man and a little less by self, services.