The Worldwide Church of God, both directly and through the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation, has made continuous efforts to strengthen the spiritual bonds between peoples everywhere and to build better understanding among men and women of different faiths.
This country was founded by men and women who were dedicated or came to be dedicated to two propositions: first, a strong religious conviction, and secondly a recognition that this conviction could flourish only under a system of freedom.
I think it is appropriate that we pay tribute to this great constitutional principle which is enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution: the principle of religious independence, of religious liberty, of religious freedom. And I think it is also important that we pay tribute and acknowledge another great principle, and that is the principle of religious conviction. Religious freedom has no significance unless it is accompanied by conviction. And therefore the Puritans and the Pilgrims, the Quakers of Pennsylvania, the Catholics of Maryland, the Presbyterians of North Carolina, the Methodists and Baptists who carne later, all shared these two great traditions which, like silver threads, have run through the warp and the woof of American history.
While they came from a wide variety of religious backgrounds and held a wide variety of religious beliefs, each of our Presidents in his own way has placed a special trust in God. Those who were honest intellectually were also strongest spiritually.
Today we as the Worldwide Church of God, and our nation, are passing through another time of trial. In many ways, our dangers and our problems are far greater — and certainly infinitely more complex. We will need to draw upon the best that we have and draw upon it physically and intellectually and materialistically.
We need also to call upon our great reservoir of spiritual resources. We must recognize that human collaboration is not enough, that in times such as these we must look beyond ourselves if we are to have ultimate courage and infinite wisdom.
It is an ironic fact that in this nuclear age, when the horizon of human knowledge and human experience has passed far beyond that any prior age has known, that mankind must turn back at this time to the oldest source of wisdom and strength — to the words of the prophets and the apostles who tell us that faith is power and doubt is weakness; that hope is more potent than despair, and that only through the love that is sometimes called charity can we conquer those forces within ourselves and throughout the world that threaten the very existence of mankind.
The whole basis of our present struggle with the State of California is involved in the following concept: We believe that the blessings which come to us come not from the generosity of the State but from the hand of God — and we are unalterably opposed to the idea that the State is the master and the people are servants of the State.
This is really the essence of the issue. We cannot have religious freedom without political freedom.
Religious freedom and religious conviction are the two hallmarks of American society, and therefore as a strong believer in both, I want to save it and deem it an honor to share this evidence of our common belief in these two great principles. And it is a great privilege to match that faith by demonstrating with our lives, whatever our responsibility may be, that we as a church and as individuals care deeply.