This I Believe

Bennett, Charles E.
1951-11-26

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Charles Bennett explains the importance of loyalty in Congress and in combat and also believes that individuals must repent for one's sins and develop strong faith to make the world a peaceful place.

Subjects
Loyalty
Friendship
Love
God
Good and evil
Repentance
Sin
Religious life
Faith
Individualism
Jacksonville (Fl.)
United States
United States House of Representatives
Permanent URL
http://hdl.handle.net/10427/76019
ID: tufts:MS025.006.013.00002.00004
To Cite: DCA Citation Guide
Usage: Detailed Rights
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And now, This I Believe, a series of living philosophies presented in the hope they may help to strengthen and enrich your life. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. What is really worth fighting for? One of America’s most promising young citizens, Representative Charles E. Bennett of Florida, had his own answers. They were tested by World War II, which brought him paralysis and a silver star for gallantry in guerilla action against the Japanese.
I believe you can just about tell almost all there is to say about a fellow when you know what his loyalties are. I think the importance of loyalty first struck me when I was fighting in the
Philippines. I came to the conclusion that I would rather have a loyal buddy, who knew little about his rifle, than a sharpshooter you couldn’t rely on. You can always teach marksmanship, it’s something else to teach loyalty.
Just a short time ago here in Congress, an informal committee introduced a proposed code of ethics for government service, and you see what importance they put on loyalty when you read the first statement in that code, which is that “a government employee should put loyalty to God and country above loyalty to persons, party, or government department.
I believe that the most important thing I do is to share friendship. If I can love that guy or gal I
don’t like who’s done me wrong, then I’m on the right track. I have to love what’s good in him, and that’s loving God. Love brings happiness because it reflects itself on us, just like a great, big mirror. It seems to me that selfishness is the mother of loneliness. You can’t do much loving or receive much if you’re selfish.
There are a lot of things that clog up a fellow’s life and soul unless he’s lucky. To mention three of the usual ones, there are money, power, and sex. All are good if they don’t run away with a fellow and become an end or the end of his life. The way I look at it, all people are good, but there’s enough sin in each of us to call for real repentance. We don’t want to get repentance mixed up with remorse.
Remorse is when you’re sorry you’ve sinned again; repentance is when you’re sorry enough to quit sinning.
Sin’s not a very important word, a very popular word, anymore. You hardly ever hear it mentioned in polite society these days. But not mentioning it hasn’t abolished it. There’s a great spiritual force that can come into a person’s life when coming to grips with one’s life, confessing one’s sins to God, turning to paths of right living, adhering to absolute moral principles, and seeking and following the daily guidance from above.
This whole spiritual process has been variously called being saved, being converted, or being changed.
It certainly is not always synonymous with joining the church, as important as it is to do that. People who really get all tied up with sinning have found this process of being changed is the only way to get back on an even keel.
There are some things that an ordinary man just can’t do without faith. There is nothing a person can’t do with faith. This whole world of ours needs a change. It is not right that fine young men should lose their lives in battle. There is only one way to change the world; that is to change the countries in the world. There is only one way to change the countries in the world; that is to change the people in those countries. There is no better place for me to start in this than to start with myself. The soul
level of people in this world is going to have a lot more to do with world peace than is the economic level, and has a lot more to do with happiness, too.
I want to get one thing straight as I close. That is, I am a sinner, just like you are. I don’t always make the right choice of loyalties, and when I do, I don’t always keep myself on an even keel. The only thing I’m sure of is that it’s my duty to keep on trying, and trying makes me happier living.
That was Florida Congressman Charles E. Bennett, a war hero who has now, happily, turned his talents, his courage and his faith to leadership in public life.