Are the Four Freedoms that President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered to the nation on Jan. 6, 1941 more prevalent today than then?
The first is freedom of speech and expression everywhere in the world. This, I believe has not really changed, since we still have countries such as North Korea, Cuba, El Salvador and many African countries where there is no justice. If one speaks out against injustices these people are executed or incarcerated; often without due process of law. Further evidence of this can be read in the New York Times or other media.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way everywhere in the world. This is very difficult for Christians in most Muslim dominated countries. In Bosnia, it was the Serb Christians doing the injustices to the Musli people. It is my understanding that public worship of Christians in these countries is almost or near impossible. We have read in some parts of the Sudan, Christians have been prevented from worshiping. Many have been murdered or detained.
The third is freedom from want. We still have countries where there are people starving for lack of food. Even in our own country, there are many who are just getting by, if at all. Actually, I believe that a great deal of this depends on peoples social and economical conditions, as well as education. One could go on to mention that today we have many who are unemployed, as well as some on fixed incomes, who might be struggling to meet a day to day existence. We do know that peoples primary needs are shelter, food, work and education. This area is too large to expand in this letter.
The fourth is freedom from fear. This fear may be close to an individual, such as where his next meal is coming from. Fear of those who might do one harm. During Roosevelt’s time we probably had fear that our country would become more directly involved in the war going on in Europe and Asia. Shortly after the Second World War, we can remember we were afraid of having the Soviet Union bomb us. In our present time in 2001 we were attacked by terrorists in our own country. As long as there is an outside threat to our existence, many of us can sleep well knowing that our soldiers are protecting us.
In conclusion, I would like to repeat three words that the former Pope John Paul the Second espoused, “Be not afraid” which incidentally, he borrowes from Jesus in the Holy Scriptures. In reality this probably sums up the four freedoms.