Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thank God for America! - Freedom X

Thank God for America! - Freedom X

A Time for Us to Praise God for this Bountiful Nation


Thanksgiving is and always has been celebrated as a public statement of worship and devotion to God. One day after the first House of Representatives voted to adopt the First Amendment Religion Clauses, Congress introduced a resolution asking President Washington to issue the first official Thanksgiving Day Proclamation. The resolution's sponsor, Elias Boudinot of New Jersey, in addition to serving in Congress and later as director of the U.S. Mint, would become the first president of the American Bible Society. His tract, The Age of Revelation, responded directly to Thomas Paine's Enlightenment era inspired treatise, The Age of Reason, taking Paine to task for possessing a "skeptical temper of mind" as an enemy "of truth and godliness, thus to descend to the meanest arts, in order to accomplish the horrid purpose of ruining the souls of men."

Boudinot stated on the House floor that he "could not think of letting the session pass over without offering an opportunity to all the citizens of the United States of joining with one voice, in returning to Almighty God their sincere thanks for the many blessings he had poured down upon them."

The colonial tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving was entrenched at the time Washington issued his proclamation. In it he prescribed it 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 favour." Each year as we enjoy our "traditional" turkey dinners, whether aware of it or not, we are officially directed to show our "devotion" 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."

Washington's Thanksgiving Day proclamation is a clearly articulated call by a government official to endorse religion. It is in fact the command by the federal government to engage in the religious practice of prayer. Our purpose in proclaiming devotion to God on this occasion, according to the father of our country, is to "unite in rendering unto God our sincere and humble thanks" for:

  • His kind care and protection of the people of this country prior to becoming a nation;
  • The civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and,
  • For all the great and various favors which God has been pleased to confer upon us.

Washington also designated Thanksgiving Day to be a day Americans should set aside each year to "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;
  • Enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually;
  • 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;
  • Promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue; and
  • Grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as God alone knows to be best.

The national Thanksgiving holiday has somehow been spared the legal marksmanship of separationist organizations like the ACLU that target the observance of Christmas each year. Nevertheless, by taking that four-day vacation, by carving that turkey and by otherwise accepting Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday, we are each complicit in legally acknowledging God as the source of America's abundance and greatness. So Happy Thanksgiving and praise Almighty God for America.


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