Roosevelt’s Speech and the Apocalypse

Source: A Tribuna Regional newspaper, Santo Ângelo, Brazil, Saturday and Sunday edition, March 1 and 2, 2008.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

In Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s (1882-1945) inaugural address as president of the United States of America on March 4, 1933, we find these words that have much to do with what we advocate:

The right not to be afraid

“Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

In this crucial moment in history, let us seek security in God and join hands with those who are really working for a better world and a happier Humanity, a long-established slogan of the Legion of Good Will. Let us try, as Roosevelt advises us, “to convert retreat into advance, in other words, fear into knowledge, therefore, into light, but under the brightness of which we can, by overcoming our millennial-old fears, build a new world as promised by God. Note well: promised by God in the Apocalypse (21:3 and 4):

A new heaven and a new earth

Tela: Sátyro Marques (1935-2019)

“3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

“4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’”

Fear vs. Survival

We have free will . . . God respects it. However, if we are free to sow, then harvesting is inevitable. When I explain in my improvised talks that we should not be afraid of the Apocalypse (the last book of the Holy Bible), it is because it is a providential warning on the conclusion of what we plant. I never said that the messages written there in letters of fire are fairy tales. What I am doing is drawing your attention to the fact that fear is not a good teacher for instructing us how to overcome anything. Where fear sets in, Freedom does not bear fruit; where hatred exists, weakness reigns. If there is anything to fear, it is not the Apocalypse, which is our fortress. Bad human attitudes can cause dread. However, we must even overcome this through proper measures taken on the basis of our integration with the Divine Wisdom. Otherwise, acts of planetary irresponsibility are capable of leading us to an unprecedented destruction of civilization as we know it. The threat of a full confrontation has not diminished; not even with the end of the Cold War or with international agreements. Dozens of atomic artifacts are missing. There remains the danger of war materials being smuggled, of bioterrorism, and also of radioactive waste. This is very serious.

Blessed Obstinacy

However, let us stubbornly continue to believe in the final good sense of human beings. So far, society has managed to survive. This is a blessed obstinacy, which is proving to be superior to the madness of many of those who still have power in this world. In fact, as our Muslim brothers and sisters exclaim: "God is greater!" Therefore, to live is better!

José de Paiva Netto is a writer, journalist, radio broadcaster, composer, and poet. He is the President of the Legion of Good Will (LGW), effective member of the Brazilian Press Association (ABI) and of the Brazilian International Press Association (ABI-Inter). Affiliated to the National Federation of Journalists (FENAJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Union of Professional Journalists of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the Union of Writers of Rio de Janeiro, the Union of Radio Broadcasters of Rio de Janeiro, and the Brazilian Union of Composers (UBC). He is also a member of the Academy of Letters of Central Brazil. He is an author of international reference in the concept and defense of the cause of Ecumenical Citizenship and Spirituality which, according to him, constitute “the cradle of the most generous values that are born of the Soul, the dwelling of the emotions and of the reasoning enlightened by intuition, the atmosphere that embraces everything that transcends the ordinary field of matter and comes from the elevated human sensitivity, such as Truth, Justice, Mercy, Ethics, Honesty, Generosity, and Fraternal Love.”