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Thanksgiving Proclamation

The modern trend of our nation is to eliminate even the mention of God’s name from any public conversation.  The fear is that recognition of God will endanger the freedom of Americans and violate the so-called “separation of church and state.”  Yet, from the beginning, this was not the attitude of this nation.  Just consider the words of George Washington, known as the father of this country, in his “Proclamation of National Thanksgiving.”

 

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness." 

 

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us. 

 

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best. 

 

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our

Lord 1789.

Go: Washington

 

This proclamation was given just three months after the last state ratified the Constitution and the nation was first made whole.  No one interpreted this proclamation as an attack upon their rights or as an establishment of a state religion.  Rather, this was understood as the dutiful observation of a people who had been blessed beyond measure.  Giving thanks to God was simply the right thing to do.

 

Today, the blessings that we enjoy in the United States of America have multiplied in countless ways beyond anything that George Washington’s generation ever knew.  Yet now there is less recognition of God’s providence than ever.

 

Consider the words of this proclamation carefully.  Do not believe anyone who tells you that this nation was founded by unbelieving men who intended to establish a truly godless nation.  History denies the deceptions of modern atheists who seek to eliminate God from this country.  Be thankful to God for this good land and good form of government that we have, and pray that our nation will remember the words of Proverbs 14:34, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”

 

Stacey E. Durham 




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