The topic of discussion for this Freedom Friday concerns two of the four freedoms discussed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) in his 1941 State of the Union address on January 6, 1941. He spoke about four fundamental freedoms that he considered essential to people “everywhere in the world.” His speech is known as the Four Freedoms speech and has its own monument in Madison Square Garden and its own park on Roosevelt Island. The four freedoms FDR discussed are: (1) Freedom of speech, (2) Freedom of worship, (3) Freedom from want, and (4) Freedom from fear.
FDR delivered his speech just eleven months before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and the United States declared war on Japan the next day. “The State of the Union speech before Congress was largely about the national security of the United States and the threat to other democracies form world war that was being waged across the continents in the eastern hemisphere. In the speech, he made a break with the tradition of United States non-interventionism that had long been held in the United States. He outlined the U.S. role in helping allies already engaged in warfare.
“In that context, he summarized the values of democracy behind the bipartisan consensus on international involvement that existed at the time. A famous quote from the speech prefaces those values: “As men do not live by bread alone, they do not fight by armaments alone.’ In the second half of the speech, he lists the benefits of democracy, which includes economic opportunity, employment, social security, and the promise of `adequate health care’. The first two freedoms, of speech and religion, are protected by the First Amendment in the United States Constitution. His inclusion of the latter two freedoms went beyond the traditional Constitutional values protected by the U.S. Bill of Rights. Roosevelt endorsed a broader human right to economic security and anticipated what would become known decades later as the `human security’ paradigm in social science and economic development. He also included the `freedom from fear’ against national aggression before the idea of a United Nations for this protection was envisioned or discussed by world leaders and allied nations.”
FDR and his administration did their best to grant these four freedoms, and the Barack Obama and his administration have done their best to destroy all four freedoms. The fact is that no man has the right or power to grant these freedoms or others like them. These freedoms come directly from God with two of them – freedom of speech and freedom of religion – are protected by our divinely inspired Constitution and its Bill of Rights. The other two – freedom from want and freedom from fear - are conditional.
Freedom from want is covered in “the right to an adequate standard of living.” This right is “recognized as a human right in international human rights instruments and is understood to establish a minimum entitlement to food, clothing and housing t an adequate level. The right to food and the right to housing have been further defined in human rights instruments.
“The right to an adequate standard of living is enshrined in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights….”
In other words those who are willing to work are supposed to give some of their hard earned money to others so they can have “an adequate standard of living.” This is not the Lord’s way to prevent want. He tells us that the “poor will always be with us,” but He expects every able-bodied man to provide for himself and his family. He also expects everyone to pay ten percent of their income to Him in order to receive His blessings. What are his blessings? Here are the words of the prophet Malachi:
“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
“Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
“And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.
“And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 3:8-12; italics in original).
In other words, freedom from want comes from obedience to the law of tithing. The Lord promises that He will “open the windows of heaven” and pour blessings upon our heads if we will just pay tithes and offerings. He also promises that our works will be fruitful.
Freedom from fear has also been declared a “fundamental human right” by The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In FDR’s speech he equated “freedom from fear” to be “a world-wide reduction of armaments” that meant “no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor – anywhere in the world.”
Again, the Lord has a different plan. The Lord wants us to prepare for the future, particularly for the time He returns to earth. “Yea, open your mouths and they shall be filled, saying: Repent, repent, and prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand: (Doctrine and Covenants 33:10). The Lord revealed at another time, “I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in our bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30; italics added).
If we desire to have freedom from fear, we must turn to the Lord in prayer and prepare for that which is coming. If we are prepared, we will not fear! We can have freedom from fear by keeping the commandments of God!