Can America Still Thank God?

When Thanksgiving comes around every year, I am reminded to thank God even more for our 1st Amendment right to freedom of religion and what is left of it (Eph. 1:3). The purpose of Thanksgiving was to thank God for that freedom, and it was by that freedom that Thanksgiving was established. Yet, look where we are when Thanksgiving is a day of giving thanks to soldiers, family, and inspiring leaders with little or no mention of God. While God’s name may still be mentioned in the Pledge, what student or teacher can actually openly reflect upon the identity of the Creator, who created all men equal with certain unalienable rights? George Washington Thanksgiving ProclamationWhat school, workplace, or any public place can openly recognize “Nature’s God”, “divine Providence”, self-evident truth, or being created by a Creator? Does it sound right that the Declaration of Independence and our basis of rights should be avoided in discussion or stripped of any meaning in America

God is already removed from our nation when His name has no more meaning or historical recognition. As in most of today’s history books, eyewitness reports and direct quotes are exchanged for a paraphrased, interpreted, and revised history cited upon unverified sources in footnotes. Why not allow students to interpret history from direct quotes and eyewitness reports? Envision our schools discussing their Creator in classrooms with walls covered with historical quotes referencing God. That would improve behavior and critical thinking skills. Without faith in self-evident truth of the Creator and men being created equal, unjust slavery would not have ended. That same kind of transparent history is used in the Scriptures to report the eyewitness testimonies of Jesus Christ fulfilling centuries-old prophetic predictions of His coming. Maybe that is what they fear – an honest examination of what they oppose.

What if historical references to God were posted in our classrooms? Imagine a teacher covering the classroom walls with historical quotes about God. Envision our schools proclaiming and studying George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation. What if they heard George Washington’s words declaring, “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”. By Congress, Washington instituted Thanksgiving Day proclaiming,

“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 and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”.

Imagine students learning about their right of religious freedom from Thanksgiving. What was the very purpose of the Thanksgiving Proclamation? Washington stated about that day,

“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 civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed […].

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 trangressions; […] to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase 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.”

What God was Washington and the Congress referring to? Was this proclamation inclusive of the Native American’s “Great Spirit”, the “God” of Deism, the Jewish God without Jesus, and the Mohammedan’s “Allah”? Actually, none of these other religions were included, because Washington concluded, “in the year of our Lord 1789”, whose “our Lord” can only be Jesus Christ. See, every title and recognition of God in this Thanksgiving address originates from one source, the Bible. What does this mean for the interpretation of the First Amendment? Who is “Nature’s God” and the Creator? He is the God of Jesus Christ. Yet, now Jesus has little if any reflection in our schools.

Although Washington specified to be thankful “for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed”, our state schools no longer give thanks to God for religious liberty, because of a spineless fear of legal battles. Our nation should do as Washington presented and “beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions”, and ask God’s blessing “to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue”. Again, let us consider,

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Tim. 2:1-2).

______________________

George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

“By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

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 and 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 favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, 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 has 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 trangressions; 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 to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase 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”

About Scott J. Shifferd

Minister, church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]yahoo.com
This entry was posted in Christian, Church of Christ and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Can America Still Thank God?

  1. KEVIN NYAPARA says:

    Yes because God created everybody to worship him. Sent from Huawei Mobile

    Like

Comments Welcome:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s