A U.S. President Commends Reading the Bible—Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 – 1945)

Published July 3, 2010 by AV Team in featured

roosevelt.jpg  Assuming office in 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was America’s 32nd president and the nation’s longest-serving chief executive, with over 12 years in office. His first great challenge was the Great Depression; his second, World War II.

In March of 1941, nine months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the president penned an introduction to the little New Testament being prepared for distribution to the troops through their chaplains. That same month, Hitler and Mussolini were seizing European lands; U-Boats were foraging in the North Atlantic; and the United States was enacting Lend-Lease, sending supplies to besieged England.

Today, when the radical separation of Church and State is counted more holy than the Bible itself, it is odd to read that the Government Printing Office once published the New Testament with presidential endorsement. But that is precisely what happened in 1942. Here, then are the president’s words of introduction:1

The White House


March 6, 1941

To the Members of the Army:

As Commander-in-Chief I take pleasure in commending the reading of the Bible to all who serve in the armed forces of the United States. Throughout the centuries men of many faiths and diverse origins have found in the Sacred Book words of wisdom, counsel and inspiration. It is a fountain of strength and now, as always, an aid in attaining the highest aspirations of the human soul.

Very sincerely yours,

Franklin D. Roosevelt
1  The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: Prepared for Use of Protestant Personnel of the Army of the United States, published under the direction of the Chief of Chaplains (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1942).

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