Commencement Week regained another of the trappings of normaley Sunday afternoon when President Conant returned to the pulpit of Memorial Church to deliver his first baccalaureate sermon since 1942.
Speaking before approximately 400 members of this year's graduating class and assorted friends and relatives, President Conant called for an American "national solidarity" in order that the United States can both "make our democracy work here at home" and "conduct our foreign affairs with farsighted wisdom, understanding, and, above all, courage."
American democracy, according to Conant, is a unique form of government and must be based upon one great unifying philosophy: the wide diversity of our beliefs and the tolerance of this diversity.
There is one common denominator, said Conant, that unites many Americans of otherwise highly divergent views: They all affirm that "the universe is somehow so constructed that a sane individual's acts are subject to moral judgments under all circumstances and under all conditions."
Conant declared that "whether Protestant, Catholic, or Jew, active church-member or non-conformist, almost every American believes that human life is sacred." This is the ultimate basis of our democratic creed--the dividing line that separates "the believers in a free democracy from the adherents to the Soviet or fascist doctrines."
"We do not believe the collective end justifies the means," Conant concluded, "we do not assert that the good of may kind demands that an individual be sacrificed to the community...For us, each individual is related to the structure of the universe."