Archives For D-Day

With the start of the new school year we’ve been engineering the tone of homeschool for the rest of the year. So, my focus has been elsewhere. Which means, as far as blog content goes, posts are short and sweet.

Recently, I came across Franklin Roosevelt’s address to the nation on D-Day. One of THE defining military campaigns of the Second World War. (link to full text)

D-Day did more than symbolise a united stand against totalitarianism, it was a just act against blatant evil.

Hence the value of this document: it is both a humble prayer and political speech. Speculation is a cardinal sin for theologians, (or so I was taught), therefore I find myself holding back (with some difficulty) from thinking about how things would have gone if this act of contrition by the then American President had not happened. Looking at the paradigm of today’s political world, it is hard to imagine a prayer like this being deemed permissible.

For this reason: here is one the most powerful leaders in the free world submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. There is no sentimentalism in it that I can see.This is not cultural Christianity parading the veneer of vaguely remembered Sunday School lessons in order to appeal to popular applause.

Underpinning this prayer is the understanding that the human judgement which rightly involved taking action against Nazi aggression and ideology, is itself under divine judgement.

Excluding the word ‘crusade’, Roosevelt is inadvertently preempting the same considerations made by American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, in 1945:

‘Out of the humility of prayer grows the charity for comrade and foe. The recognition that we all stand under a more ultimate bar of judgement mitigates the fury of our self-righteousness and partly dissolves the wickedness of our dishonest pretensions…
We will therefore not be swollen by pride because others think well of us. We will remember that they do not know the secret of our hearts. Neither will we take their disapproval too seriously. The sense of a more ultimate judgement arms us with the courage to defy the false judgements of the community’ [i]

Both are impressive. Each make a unique contribution to how Jesus Christ, just judgement, Christian love and responsibility are valuable to an evangelical ethic that supports life and reaches out in truth. With the understanding that sometimes “no” is given in order to say “yes”; an ethical framework that every responsible parent knows well and practices daily.

Official & original:

With music and a video montage:

Repost: Originally posted 5th Feb, 2015


Updated 24th May 2017:
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I’m seeing quite a bit of condemnation being thrown about regarding people offering their prayers for those lost and caught up in the tragedy in Manchester.

I’m in agreement with putting an end to sentimentalism and empty gestures like lightshows and hashtags. Prayer, however, shouldn’t be linked in with this.

There’s nothing wrong with prayer. At the end of the day, it all depends on who they’re directed towards and the motivation behind it. True prayer is preparation for action, not a substitute for it. Prayer is an act of true freedom.

When genuine, it rallies people in shared solidarity against arrogance, towards humility. It is a revolt against complacency, appeasement, disorder and gestures filled only with empty sentiment.

Underpinning F.D.R’s D-Day prayer is the understanding that the human judgement which rightly involved taking action against Nazi aggression and ideology, is itself under divine judgement.

Ditch the sentimentalism and empty gestures, such as hashtags and lightshows. Don’t ditch prayer. For, ‘out of the humility of prayer..we will not be swollen by pride’ [ii] in right response to aggression.

‘Even the ”devils believe and tremble,” and I really believe they are more afraid of the Americans’ prayers than of their swords’
(Abigail Adams, 1775, Letters #55)

References:

[i] Niebuhr, R. 1945 Discerning The Signs of The Times, Niebuhr Press Kindle. Ed.

[ii] ibid, 1945

Image: Mine. I cropped it using the first and last page of the transcript in order to draw attention to it.

Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, 1944:

Your task is not an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.…I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle.Let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

Right.Left.Up.Down. Most people today have an opinion.

If only we were to only look over our shoulder. Not too far back & not for too long mind you, but if we do, perhaps we might remember the cost. Not only the cost, but also the place where fanaticism, paranoia, hysteria, misinformation, manipulation and propaganda lands a society. Lands the world.

Context determines meaning, we were told, in every class during my university studies. Finding context requires effort, but we live in perilous times. These days form defines the content, or at best, form determines interest in the content.

For example: opinions are moulded solely on the basis of memes, rumour, sensationalism and a tendency to read a news headline or watch a thirty-second video and decide that its content is all there is to know. However, acknowledgement does not always lead to knowledge. This is because all of the above involve, in one way or another, not just an exchange of information, but a surrender and realignment of the heart and mind, with the swaying utilitarian consensus of social media.

Often resulting in a large portion of the public who have become mindless and misinformed. For instance: the growing confusion between what it means to be a free citizen or an indentured subject. Or the growing transaction of faith in God with an absolute faith in an ideology. Blurred distinctions arise when an ideology no longer serves, but is served.

In order to defeat an ideological war machine, the ‘United Nations’ had to become one. The very real questions we face today are how much of that legacy thrives, unseen, in the Western parts of our world today, and what kind of a counter-response does it demand?

‘The defeat of Hitler and the Axis powers in World War II meant the military defeat of fascism, but an ideology cannot be defeated by military power alone. Ideas linger. The intellectual heritage of fascism has never been repudiated.’

– Gene E. Veith, 1993 ‘Modern Fascism’ Kindle ed. Loc. 181, 2695-2696

 

Lest we forget.

 

Australian War Memorial June 6 1944 70 years on_editedborder

Source: Australian War Memorial, June 6 1944.