Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter Acknowledging the Award of the American Hebrew Medal.

March 06, 1939

General Johnson, friends:

I am proud to receive this award. And I like the broad spirit of good will which prompts the bestowal. I like also to think that no matter how diverse and conflicting and mutually contradictory our views may be on any number of questions and policies—there remains one issue upon which we are in complete accord. Embodied in the Federal Constitution and ingrained in our hearts and souls is the national conviction that every man has an inalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.

After all, the majority of Americans, whether they adhere to the ancient teaching of Israel or accept the tenets of the Christian religion, have a common source of inspiration in the Old Testament. In the spirit of brotherhood we should, therefore, seek to emphasize all those many essential things in which we find unity in our common Biblical heritage.

If we labor in that spirit may we not hope to attain the ideal put forth by the Prophet Micah: "And what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter Acknowledging the Award of the American Hebrew Medal. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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