Standing Fast in Liberty

Stevenson, Adlai E. (Adlai Ewing)

  • Adlai Stevenson, Governor of Illinois, describes his beliefs in generosity, in liberty, in the rights of man, in God's goodness and protection, in liberalism, in individualism, in freedom of conscience, in diversity and the right to dissent, and in open-mindedness. Audio also contains advertisement for "This I Believe" book.
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Adlai E. Stevenson was the Democratic candidate for the office of President of the United States in 1952. By his political campaign, based on "talking sense to the American people," he won the respect, if not the majority of votes, of his fellow countrymen. His voice and political ideas are known to all. Here now are the personal beliefs of Adlai Stevenson.
What do I believe? As an American, I believe in generosity, in liberty, in the rights of man. These
are social and political faiths that are part of me, as they are, I suppose, part of all of us. Such beliefs are easy to express. But part of me too is my religion, my relation to all life, and this is not so easy to talk about.
Religious experience is highly intimate, and for me at least, ready words are not at hand. I am profoundly aware of the magnitude of the universe, that all is ruled by law, including my finite person. I believe in the infinite wisdom that envelops and embraces me and from which I take direction, purpose, strength. First to my mind there spring those words of the 27th Psalm, my favorites: “For in the time of trouble, the Lord shall hide
me in His pavilion, He shall set me upon a rock. I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart.”
Yes, I believe in and I have experienced His goodness in the land of the living, and I have found no rocks of certainty or safety but His. But having beliefs, or at least enunciating them, is only part of it. Living up to them, for me, is much harder, for as someone said, it is easier to fight for one’s beliefs than to live up to them. And I wonder if the chief cause of discord in human affairs is not so much the undesirable nature of beliefs as it is the fighting for them, the competitive indoctrination among them.
I believe in liberalism, in individualism, in freedom of conscience. And if there is anything that the whole idea of liberalism contradicts, it is the notion of competitive indoctrination. So I believe that if we really want human brotherhood to spread and increase until it makes life safe and sane, we must also be certain that there is no one true faith or path by which it may spread.
Difference is in the nature of life; it is part of our moral universe. Without difference, life would become lifeless. So I reject the idea of conformity, compulsory or complacent, the faith that is swallowed like pills,
whole and at once, with no questions asked.
I believe in helping ourselves and others to see the possibilities in viewpoints other than one’s own, in urging the fullest, the most vigorous use of critical self-examination. Thus, we can learn to unite in our common search for the truth within a better and a happier world.
The basic faith in liberty of conscience is by no means exclusive with us. But I believe we are its ordained guardians in this age of assault and anxiety, when so many seem to believe their doubts and to doubt their
Finally, I should like to live--and not just believe--these strong words of faith in St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians: “Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and not be entangled with the yoke of bondage.
Those were the personal beliefs of Adlai E. Stevenson. They were chosen from the beliefs broadcast in the past two years for inclusion in the new This I Believe book, now at your bookstore.