Thanksgiving Proclamation: 1795

Thursday, November 22, AD 2012

When we review the calamities which afflict so many other nations, the present condition of the United States affords much matter of consolation and satisfaction. Our exemption hitherto from foreign war, an increasing prospect of the continuance of that exception, the great degree of internal tranquillity we have enjoyed, the recent confirmation of that tranquillity by the suppression of an insurrection which so wantonly threatened it, the happy course of our public affairs in general, the unexampled prosperity of all classes of our citizens, are circumstances which peculiarly mark our situation with indications of the Divine beneficence toward us. In such a state of things it is in an especial manner our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experience.

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6 Responses to Thanksgiving Proclamation: 1795

  • Happy Thanksgiving all!

    This year I give thanks for recent national events which led me back to prayer (any moment not encumbered with worldly labors) and to the Truth. The Truth that this vail of tears in which we (poor, banished children of Eve) exist is not our true home. The Truth that some day we may enter our true, happy home with Christ, who by His Life, Death, and Resurrection purchased for us the rewards of eternal life.

    “Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the Promises of Christ.”

    Now, the cooking begins. And, dig in!

  • Happy Thanksgiving to you to T.Shaw and to all contributors, commenters and readers of TAC.

  • Pingback: THANKSGIVING DAY SPECIAL | Big Pulpit
  • Did he have two speeches like this? Here he assigns it to Nov. 26th.

    “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.”

    Read more: EDITORIAL: Rendering our sincere thanks – Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/nov/21/rendering-our-sincere-thanks/#ixzz2D0KU12ZD
    Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

    And sort of run-on sentences.

  • AMERICAN SPIRIT STILL LIVES!

    The true American spirit will always live – I know why.
    Liberty and religious freedom are ever our cry.
    Don’t let a day pass without honor for the God we trust.
    To aspire for salvation must always be our main thrust.

    The hour of visitation must never be forgotten.
    Without trust in God, our nation could not be begotten.
    We must ensure that Christianity again prevails.
    Without the God of Abraham our basic nature fails.

    The liberty ball is silent – freedom we still ensure.
    In the hearts of Americans it will always endure.
    I will fly Old Glory when our nation is again free.
    Socialism leads a nation into ignominy.

    Now, the nation my military career defended,
    has by traitorous American votes been upended.
    A grave sin was committed against unborn human life.
    God’s Justice surely demands vengeance and eternal strife.

    When spirit seems at its very worst, patriots heed the call.
    They know what made liberty and freedom refuse to fall.
    The American dream, now in default, we must revive,
    Only with revived trust in God can our nation survive.

    Bob Rowland
    X1/XVIII/MMXII

Ben Franklin and the Turkey

Tuesday, November 20, AD 2012

 

 

 

After the American Revolution, former American officers in that struggle created a fraternal organization called the Society of Cinncinatus, named after the Roman consul and dictator, a constitutional office of the Roman Republic in emergencies, who saved Rome through his efforts in the fifth century BC and then retired to his humble farm.  The Society selected as its symbol a bald eagle.  In a letter to his daughter Sally Bache on January 26, 1784, no doubt with his tongue placed firmly in his cheek, Dr. Franklin indicated that he thought another bird would have been a better choice.

Others object to the Bald Eagle, as looking too much like a Dindon, or Turkey. For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen as the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perch’d on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him. With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping and Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country, tho’ exactly fit for that Order of Knights which the French call Chevaliers d’Industrie. I am on this account not displeas’d that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America. Eagles have been found in all Countries, but the Turkey was peculiar to ours, the first of the Species seen in Europe being brought to France by the Jesuits from Canada, and serv’d up at the Wedding Table of Charles the ninth. He is besides, tho’ a little vain and silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.

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6 Responses to Ben Franklin and the Turkey

  • Well, whenever I think of Franklin’s suggestion regarding our national bird, the thought always occurs to me that if it had gone through, our fighter pilots today would be flying F-15 Turkeys. 😉

  • When I was in the Army Tommy, we often associated the Air Force with turkeys. 🙂

  • If the Turkey was the National Bird, I guess we would not or could not eat it, I don’t know. Turkeys are wild birds in a number of places in this country.

  • For the record, on Veteran’s Day, Fox had this guy on their with a “Bald Eagle”, envision Falconry or Falconing but with a Bald Eagle. I’m sure one can find their song or cry online as most birds do have that online at bird sites.

    Interestingly, per the Ben Franklin quote above, “You may have seen him perch’d on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk…” , I once came upon a “Young Bald Eagle” on a tree stump right next to the river! So Franklin’s quote makes some sense to me, young Bald Eagles so they say are still all brown and this one was, I guess young Bald Eagles don’t have that white head yet.

  • Oh, and I wanted to add on a humble thank you for allowing these posts. It is appreciated.

  • Interesting that Franklin uses the French name « Dindon » originally « coq d’Inde » or “Cockerel of the Indies” Later, a turkey cock became « Dindon » and the hen, « poule d’Inde » became « dinde »

Thanksgiving 1952: Red Skelton

Sunday, November 27, AD 2011

Red Skelton rose from poverty to become one of the most popular comedians of his day.  A comedic genius, he created a gallery of comedic personas:  Clem Kaddidlehopper, the Mean Little Kid, San Fernando Red, Freddie the Freeloader  and others, which allowed him not only to amuse but also to engage in wry commentary about some of the foibles of his time. Skelton the man was fairly simple:  he liked to make people laugh, and he loved God, Country and Kids.  The love of God and his dying son I have written about in the post The Pope, the Clown and the Cross.  Skelton’s love of God and Country shines through in his rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance which I have written about here.

His love of kids was no mere entertainer’s pose as the following anecdote illustrates:

“Funny how you can go to a doctor’s offices and find magazines that are years old in the lobby. I had to go to a dentist two week ago and found a Golf magazine from the 80’s. I also found a magazine that told me the following story:

Decades ago, a young American was flying across the mountain ranges of Europe on his way to London. Accompanying his friend, a Catholic priest, the two were scheduled to have a meeting with the Pope in England. As the priest talked, the plane suddenly rocked. Then rocked again.  Something told the priest the plane was not destined to ever touch land again.

The passengers, busy in their individual conversations, failed to notice, the priest observed, until a flight attendant made an announcement of impending doom. The plane was over a mountain range and losing altitude.

As expected, panic set in.

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Thanksgiving 1789

Thursday, November 24, AD 2011

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

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Thanksgiving 1863

Wednesday, November 23, AD 2011

If a nation ever needed Divine assistance it was our own America during the Civil War.  Riven in two, the nation must have seemed on a path to destruction by many of those who lived through that terrible trial.  Abraham Lincoln, as he led the United States through that struggle, increasingly found his mind turning to God.  This Proclamation was written by Secretary of State Seward, but the sentiments are no doubt ones in which Lincoln fully joined.

 

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

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One Response to Thanksgiving 1863

  • I habitually re-read Vermont’s Royster’s two Wall Street Journal editorials: “The Desolate Wilderness” and “And the Fair Land.” They have been published each Thanksgiving eve since 1949. It gives me occasion to say to myself, “That is worth the subscription price.”

We Are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Wednesday, November 23, AD 2011

 

Hattip to Joe Carter at First Things.  A truly remarkable video showing the development of us humans from our conception to our birth.  While I was watching it I thought of Psalm 139:14:  I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.  Tomorrow as we thank God for his manifold blessings, we should always keep in mind our chief blessing:  His gift of life to us.

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Thanksgiving 1908

Tuesday, November 22, AD 2011

Theodore Roosevelt, that force of nature that was once President of these United States, was a deeply religious man.  He attended church faithfully his entire life.  (He was Dutch Reformed, but he often attended Episcopal services with his wife.)  He opposed putting the national motto “In God We Trust” on currency, for fear it would cheapen the  noble sentiment, as would be the case, in his view, if it were used on postage stamps or in advertisements.  He was opposed to all religious bigotry as he would state immediately after the campaign of 1908 when the Unitarian Willam Howard Taft came under fire for his religion:

“I did not answer any of these letters during the campaign, because I regarded it as an outrage even to agitate such a question. … To discriminate against a thoroughly upright citizen because he belongs to some particular Church, or because, like Abraham Lincoln, he has not avowed his allegiance to any Church, is an outrage against the liberty of conscience which is one of the foundations of American life. … I do not for one moment believe that the mass of our fellow-citizens, or that any considerable number of our fellow citizens, can be influenced by such narrow bigotry as to refuse to vote for any thoroughly upright and fit man because he happens to have a particular religious creed. … I believe that this Republic will endure for many centuries. If so, there will doubtless be among its Presidents Protestants and Catholics, and very probably at some time, Jews. … In my Cabinet at the present moment there sit side by side Catholic and Protestant, Christian and Jew, each man chosen because in my belief he is peculiarly fit to exercise on behalf of all our people the duties of the office. … In no case does a man’s religious belief in any way influence his discharge of his duties, save as it makes him more eager to act justly and uprightly in his relations to all men.”

A frequent reader of the Bible, Roosevelt once opined that a thorough knowledge of it was more valuable to a person than a college education.

His Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1908 rejoices in the material well being of the country, but notes that there is far more to life than piling up material possessions.  He would have vigorously dissented from the idiotic bumper sticker:  “He who dies with the most toys wins.”  Here is the text of the Proclamation:

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General Washington and the Lord of Hosts

Sunday, November 20, AD 2011

We live in an age where scoffing at religion and believers in God is all the rage.  In some ways the Eighteenth Century was like this time period.  In the Age of Enlightenment much of elite Western European opinion mocked Christianity and some  openly embraced atheism.  It was considered witty and daring and fun by the cultural avant garde.  It seemed much less humorous at the tail end of the century when the French Revolutionary regime for a time persecuted Christians and slaughtered them for their faith.  This type of hostility was much less in evidence in Eighteenth Century America.  Even those, for example Thomas Jefferson, who had doubts about the divinity of Christ, praised His teachings and had no doubt as to the existence of God.

George Washington, the commanding American figure of his day, was a very conventional Christian.  He attended church regularly, said his prayers and read his Bible.  His faith was as much a part of him as his love of his wife, his love of Mount Vernon and his ability to lead men through sufferings in the War of Independence that most of us today would find simply unimaginable.  Pious without being sanctimonious, Washington had no doubt that the fate of America in the Revolution was firmly in the hands of God.

We see this belief in the General Order he issued to the Continental Army on March 6, 1776:

Thursday the seventh Instant, being set apart by the Honorable the Legislature of this province, as a day of fasting, prayer, and humiliation, “to implore the Lord, and Giver of all victory, to pardon our manifold sins and wickedness’s, and that it would please him to bless the Continental Arms, with his divine favour and protection”—All Officers, and Soldiers, are strictly enjoined to pay all due reverance, and attention on that day, to the sacred duties due to the Lord of hosts, for his mercies already received, and for those blessings, which our Holiness and Uprightness of life can alone encourage us to hope through his mercy to obtain.

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Adagio for Brass

Saturday, November 19, AD 2011

Something for the weekend.  Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings performed with brass instruments.  It makes a fit accompaniment to the above video which reminds us of the veterans who ensured that we enjoy the freedom next Thursday to give thanks to God for that freedom and all the other blessings He has showered upon us in this land.  May we be worthy of their sacrifice.

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  • Each evening, I remember and pray for them each and every one.

    “Greet them ever with grateful hearts.”

  • ‘ “May we be worthy of their sacrifice.” and “Greet them ever with grateful hearts.” ‘
    Your lips to God’s ears.
    So many lives entangled, past and present, in the ravages. I pray that we sober up as a people and open our hearts before we lose what’s left.

    Don’t know why it’s at the top of my mind at the moment, but I remember from 9/11 aftermath a time sitting in church. A mother, always a quiet steady person, whose son was deployed to the desert, stood up afterwards and tearfully asked us to realize that her son among others needed toothpaste. He is home now teaching in the military branch.

    That’s about as upbeat as anything I can think of to say about the depths of the cost of our freedom. Thanks giving to God and His people for it.

  • Indeed! Think of them on Thursday and on Christmas Day. Imagine Christmas Day in a COP in Afghanistan. Imagine the wives and mothers unsure if their husbands or sons are dead or maimed at any moment.

    At this moment, two young soldiers are in the next room watching TV. A third staying with us is attending a local college football game. There are at least five combat deployments between them. One told me his COP was hit with 200 rockets and RPG’s in the year he was there. My son spent a month in the Karangal Valley . . .

    One is a medic with the ranger battalion that is deploying this month. No complaining here.

    Merry Christmas!

    Love,

    Uncle Sam!

    A month ago as I was dropping one soldier at the airport to return to Fort Benning, I thanked him for his service. He thanked me.

  • May God keep them safe, body, mind and soul. We are indeed very fortunate to live in this free country. May we be worthy of their sacrifice.

Would You Like Some Politics With Your Turkey?

Thursday, November 25, AD 2010

 

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, fresh off a disastrous election campaign, believes that Americans might be discussing politics with their Turkey today.  (I can’t think of a subject less likely to come up today at the McClarey Thanksgiving Dinner except for raising armadilloes for fun and profit.) 

Just in case your Republican friends or relatives at Thanksgiving try to repeat anything they’ve heard from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or by reading Sarah Palin’s Facebook page, we wanted to help you respond with the truth.

In the event that it does, the DCCC has a cheatsheat which you may peruse here.

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7 Responses to Would You Like Some Politics With Your Turkey?

  • Rush, a majority of the GOP in Congress, and 61% of we the people oppose the listed big government taxes, rationing, and wreckulations.

    BTW: we had chocolate covered mousse balls for dessert. Delish!! Thank you, Sarah Palin!

  • After the dressing down they received, they are still convinced they can sell this turkey of a platform. They will continue yam-mering until we are all vegetables. They made the mistake of thinking it was all gravy after the 2008 election, but the proof of the pudding is in the tasting. If they could have squashed the political talk on this American feast, they could have gotten down to meat and potatoes tomorrow. But perhaps they feel the sauce this Thanksgiving is a little thin, so they need to butter up the faithful and roll with the political punches. But we’ll just relish in their disarray passively today.

    Wishing all a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving.

  • Dminor, all I can add to your yummy comment is that reaching for the antacid is the only possible reaction to the attempt by the DCCC to inject politics into our Turkey revels. (That, and the fact that I am nomally reaching for antacid at 6:00 PM on Thanksgiving!)

  • On the contrary, I enjoyed the annual political discussion at my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. With 4 Republicans, 2 Democrats, 1 liberal Libertarian and 1 Independent (myself), the conversation was often heated and animated. But it was enjoyalbe and nobody left the table angry.

    I reminded my Catholic family members that healthcare is a basic human right; I don’t know how else to read Matthew 5 and 25. In addition, the church explicitly supports redistribution of wealth. If you call yourself a Catholic and you do not believe this, you may want to re(?)familiarize yourself with the Catholic Catechism, beginning with paragraph 2426 — Social and Economic Justice.

    And please don’t choke on your leftovers! Enjoy the rest of the long holiday.

  • “I reminded my Catholic family members that healthcare is a basic human right; I don’t know how else to read Matthew 5 and 25.”

    Astonishing then that this “right” took almost 2000 years to be recognized.

    As for redistribution of wealth, that is a very strained interpretation of 2426:

    “The development of economic activity and growth in production are meant to provide for the needs of human beings. Economic life is not meant solely to multiply goods produced and increase profit or power; it is ordered first of all to the service of persons, of the whole man, and of the entire human community. Economic activity, conducted according to its own proper methods, is to be exercised within the limits of the moral order, in keeping with social justice so as to correspond to God’s plan for man.”

    You might also wish to read 2431:

    “The responsibility of the state. “Economic activity, especially the activity of a market economy, cannot be conducted in an institutional, juridical, or political vacuum. On the contrary, it presupposes sure guarantees of individual freedom and private property, as well as a stable currency and efficient public services. Hence the principal task of the state is to guarantee this security, so that those who work and produce can enjoy the fruits of their labors and thus feel encouraged to work efficiently and honestly. . . . Another task of the state is that of overseeing and directing the exercise of human rights in the economic sector. However, primary responsibility in this area belongs not to the state but to individuals and to the various groups and associations which make up society.”

  • Wow, what a collection of a) things I oppose, and b) methods I oppose aimed at things I support! Thanks, DCCC, for providing such a succinct list!

  • Uhh…
    Matthew 5 includes: the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes, the similes of salt and light, “I come not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it,” and teachings about anger, adultery, divorce, oaths, retaliation, and loving your enemies. One could perhaps find an individual responsibility to practice works of charity in some of the Beatitudes (though it would require some parsing,) but one person’s individual responsibility to charity does not equal another’s right to specific service. And neither a moral responsibility to charity nor a moral right to benefit from it equal a government right to dictate citizen contributions or to decide who benefits. Where did you get a “basic human right” to healthcare from this?

    Matthew 25 includes: the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, the parable of the talents, and the judgement of the nations (separating the sheep from the goats, when I was hungry, you fed me, etc.) Again, the individual responsibility to charity is emphasized, not because the hungry, thirsty and imprisoned necessarily have a claim on you, but because voluntarily serving them is like serving God. So the Christian has a moral obligation, and one could from that, if one really wants to find one, extrapolate a moral right to receive charity for the hungry, thirsty, etc. But how that translates into a “basic human right” to healthcare or grants a government the right to mediate the provision of charity, I’d like to have explained.

George Washington: First Thanksgiving Proclamation

Thursday, November 25, AD 2010

A contemplation of the compleat attainment (at a period earlier than could have been expected) of the object for which we contended against so formidable a power cannot but inspire us with astonishment and gratitude. The disadvantageous circumstances on our part, under which the war was undertaken, can never be forgotten. The singular interpositions of Providence in our feeble condition were such, as could scarcely escape the attention of the most unobserving; while the unparalleled perseverance of the Armies of the U States, through almost every possible suffering and discouragement for the space of eight long years, was little short of a standing miracle.   George Washington

The father of our nation was a religious man.  He had no doubt of the existence of God, and that He intervened in the affairs of men and nations.  Therefore it is no surprise that he originated the tradition of the last Thursday in November for Americans to thank God.  Lincoln revived the tradition in 1863 in the midst of the Civil War.  When we celebrate Thanksgiving today, we are celebrating a holiday that is at the very core of American history from the Pilgrims forward.

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  • He was a deist, not a Christian. Just because he believed in God, doesn’t mean he believed in the Catholic God.

  • That is quite a popular theory Charles, but I believe it is wrong. I think Washington was a fairly conventional Christian. He avoided the use of language that could smack of sectarianism, and he made it a point of attending Christian services of all the major sects in America at the time. However, his relatives attested to his belief in Christ and they knew him best. Unlike Jefferson, there is not a word in Washington’s correspondence indicating any doubt in Christianity.

  • He oversaw the “No Religious Clause” of the US Constitution and oversaw the completion of the Treaty of Tripoli which laid out in perfect terms that the US wasn’t founded on Christian values. I don’t see how any Christian man could endorse it if it weren’t true. He was forced to declare himself apart of the Anglican Church in order to be granted such credulity in the first place. He was a Freemason, and as any Freemason will tell you, he was known for his doubts of Christian literature (but not particularly of God).

  • There is no “no religious clause” in the US Constitution. There is a First Amendment which establishes freedom of religion and bans Congress from creating a Federal established religion.

    Actually the treaty with Tripoli was ratified in 1797 under John Adams. The provision you cite:

    “Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

    was thrown in because the Barbary Pirates routinely declared war on all Christian states. As the subsequent wars with the Barbary Pirates and the US indicated, the Treaty was unsuccessful.

    Washington was an Episcopalian by birth, and regularly attended those services, as well as those of other Christian denominations, including Catholic mass, when traveling. As for his Freemasony, Washington didn’t make much of it, as he indicated when he wrote a letter to a crackpot, George Washington Snyder, who sent him a book warning against the dangers of the Illuminati:

    “Mount Vernon, September 25, 1798.

    Sir: Many apologies are due to you, for my not acknowledging the receipt of your obliging favour of the 22d. Ulto, and for not thanking you, at an earlier period, for the Book you had the goodness to send me.

    I have heard much of the nefarious, and dangerous plan, and doctrines of the Illuminati, but never saw the Book until you were pleased to send it to me. The same causes which have prevented my acknowledging the receipt of your letter have prevented my reading the Book, hitherto; namely, the multiplicity of matters which pressed upon me before, and the debilitated state in which I was left after, a severe fever had been removed. And which allows me to add little more now, than thanks for your kind wishes and favourable sentiments, except to correct an error you have run into, of my Presiding over the English lodges in this Country. The fact is, I preside over none, nor have I been in one more than once or twice, within the last thirty years. I believe notwithstanding, that none of the Lodges in this Country are contaminated with the principles ascribed to the Society of the Illuminati. With respect I am &c.”

  • I misspoke. I was referring to the “No Religious Test Clause” located in Article VI, paragraph 3 of the US Constitution.

    George Washington was a 33rd Degree Mason. Here are some pics of Washington in full outfit: http://www.google.com/images?q=george+washington+freemason&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi&biw=1024&bih=673

    I realize there are a lot of enemies to the Masons, and that’s okay, but it’s not okay to conjecture facts. In the Lodge at Fredericksburg in
    Virginia, he was declared Master Mason. He visited the lodge numerous times, and they’re all on record. If this is a legitimate letter, it must have been a lie to cover himself up, because there are in fact records of him being a member of several lodges. I suspect you know nothing about Freemasonry, and again that’s okay, but it’s not okay to project prejudices before conducting objective historical research.

    As to the Treaty, it was still unanimously voted on, and that is enough evidence as any to definitively claim that we’re not a Christian nation.

  • 1. The No Religious Test Clause has nothing anti-religious or anti-Christian about it. It was meant to avoid the situation in England where political office was restricted to Anglicans and a few other favored Protestant sects.

    2. In regard to Freemasony the letter is part of George Washington’s recognized correspondence. Look it up for yourself. As to your contention that he was lying, that is risible. Why on Earth would he lie in a piece of private correspondence about his attendance at Masonic lodges? The Masons made much of Washington being a member, but he apparently viewed it as little more than a fraternal organization. His correspondence has precious few references to the Masons, and it apparently just wasn’t very important to him.

  • As to the Tripoli treaty, you have completely ignored my exaplanation as to why the provision about this not being a Christian nation was tossed in there, no doubt because you are unfamiliar with the early history of this nation, and mentioned the Tripoli treaty because you had heard about it on the internet. Atheist web-sites are fond of citing this treaty in contending that the Founding Fathers were not Christians, and reveal their bone ignorance about the time period when they do so.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 26, AD 2009

A roundup from around the web …

1.  Jay Anderson gives us a history lesson on “The First Thanksgiving”:

Every gradeschool boy and girl in the U.S. will confidently tell you that their history books say that the very first Thanksgiving on American soil took place in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621 when the English Pilgrims who had arrived the year before and the Patuxet Indians shared the food from their respective harvests in one great big happy feast.

As is often the case, however, the history books are wrong on this account…

2.  The Maverick Philosopher engages in a thanksgiving reflection:

We need spiritual exercises just as we need physical, mental, and moral exercises. A good spiritual exercise, and easy to boot, is daily recollection of just how good one has it, just how rich and full one’s life is, just how much is going right despite annoyances and setbacks which for the most part are so petty as not to merit consideration…

3.  How Private Property Saved the Pilgrims — When the Pilgrims landed in 1620, they established a system of communal property. Within three years they had scrapped it, instituting private property instead. Hoover media fellow Tom Bethell shares some economic history.

4.  News has it that President Obama’s decision whether to pardon a turkey could come at any day now!

5.  And it wouldn’t be the celebration of another American holiday without a screed from the Catholic Anarchist (reaching the height of self-parody).

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Thanksgiving 1863

Thursday, November 26, AD 2009

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

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One Response to Thanksgiving 1863

6 Responses to Have a Happy Global Warming Thanksgiving!

Thank You to Our Men and Women in Service

Thursday, November 26, AD 2009

On this Thanksgiving I’d like to convey my heartfelt thanks to my brother Nathan (currently overseas – prayers requested) and all those in service. I am forever conscious of the sacrifices they make on behalf of our country, including much time spent away from their loved ones.

God bless, God speed — and may you all enjoy such a welcome home.

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3 Responses to Thank You to Our Men and Women in Service

Moving Halloween to Saturday: Treat or Trick?

Thursday, October 29, AD 2009

In recent years Halloween has gone from a primarily child-oriented holiday to an occasion of commercial importance comparable to Christmas or Easter. National retail sales figures indicate that Halloween is the 6th biggest holiday for retailers — behind Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day — and rapidly gaining ground, particularly among young adults.

The trend has now sparked a movement of sorts — led by the Spirit Halloween retail chain — to move Halloween permanently to the last Saturday in October. Their online petition at this link (http://www.spirithalloweekend.com/ ) asks Congress to lend its official endorsement to the change, although that would not be strictly necessary since Halloween is not a federal or national holiday.

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15 Responses to Moving Halloween to Saturday: Treat or Trick?

  • Darn, I wish Spirit Halloween had a combox. Darn, darn, darn!

  • I vote (B) a concession to worldliness and indifference.
    Vigils, feast days, birthdays… the actual dates count for something. I enjoy a movable feast as much as the next guy, but it should have a better excuse behind it than grubbing for cash or extending the weekend.

  • Remember that they then consolidated both Abraham Lincoln’s and George Washington’s birthdays to “President’s Day”.

  • Halloween and All Saints have a particular significance for me since my wedding anniversay falls on All Saints. If they change it, I will have to come up with some other way to remember, so I vote no. Or maybe I can convince my wife to celebrate the solemnity of our marriage along with All Saints, rather than the actual day of our wedding?

  • I think you make a compelling argument overall. Actually changed my mind, as a matter of fact.

    As to changing the date – I actually find it to be more confusing. When I’m looking at my calendar, it’s so much easier to assess the fixed-date holidays as compared to the floating ones. “Which weekend is that on this year?”

  • For the record, I also would vote “no”.

  • Pingback: Vatican Condemnation of Halloween False « The American Catholic
  • Also, I really need to give credit here to Todd Aglialoro, now a writer for Inside Catholic, who many years ago when he worked for the Peoria Diocese Family Life Office, wrote a column for The Catholic Post titled “How Halloween Is a Very Catholic Thing.”

    It was in that article that I first came across the quote from Chesterton on paganism and Christianity. Unfortunately, I cannot find this article online anywhere, and I no longer have print back issues of The Post to refer to.

    If you happen to be reading this, Todd, thanks for the inspiration, and can you tell me where to find that article?

  • Instead of moving Halloween to Saturday, it needs to be moved right off the calendar. There is nothing good about it- junk food for kids, wild parties for adults, strangers ringing your doorbell all evening, drunks in the ER all night. Once again, America has taken a religious day and turned it into a mockery.

  • I understand your concerns, Annie, but by your standards, St. Patrick’s Day should probably be “moved right off the calendar” too.

    It lacks only junk food for kids and strangers ringing your doorbell… although strangers in an adjacent apartment who start their St. Paddy’s Day party at 2 in the afternoon are just as annoying 🙂 Likewise, it too is a religious holiday that has been pretty much turned into a caricature of itself, at least in the U.S.

    Also, I read somewhere many years ago that the government of Ireland, back in the late 50s or early 60s, briefly considered moving St. Patrick’s Day to September so there would be better weather for outdoor celebrations! Needless to say, that didn’t fly.

  • And speaking of moving holidays to weekends — if I remember correctly, students at U. of Ill. in Champaign observe something called “Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day” on the Friday or Saturday closest to the actual St. Paddy’s Day. The observance consists entirely of hanging out in bars and getting as drunk as possible.

    I suppose that no matter what happens to the Spirit Halloween petition drive, the preceding Saturday will become, if it hasn’t already, “Unofficial Halloween” for adult partying purposes anyway.

  • Goodness, perhaps someday the secularists will wish to ensure “Christmas,” which they will call “The Winter Holiday,” always falls on Friday so everyone gets a 3 day weekend.

    Awfully pesky the way things are now, when Dec. 25 can fall on a Wednesday. Once you remove the religious significance of these holidays, there’s no point to keeping to a set date.

  • Some of you should read up on history a bit.

    The reality is that the Church chose Dec 25th for Christmas in an attempt to add religious meaning to an already existent pagan holiday. There is circumstantial evidence that Jesus was actually born in April.

    Back to the holiday at hand…Halloween is and always has been a pagan holiday. The religious holiday that the Church attached to it (once again, in order to add a religious meaning to it) is All Saints Day. This petition doesn’t mention moving All Saints Day. In fact, you might end up with more people in the pews on Nov. 1st if they haven’t been out trick or treating and then stuffing themselves full of candy all night the night before.

  • Martha,

    I wasn’t aware that the Hebrews were pagans. Wasn’t Dec. 25th the date the temple was re-dedicated? It seems like a religiously significant date for the temple in Jerusalem and since Jesus refers to Himself as the temple – it makes sense, don’t you think?

    As for Halloween – move it, don’t move it – it doesn’t matter – for most of us, including the secularists, it is just a fun night to dress up act silly, beg for candy and share some frivolous entertainment with each other. There is a danger that the occult becomes cool, but I think for most people this is innocent fun. As for all the drunks, rowdy morons, witches and satanists – they are going to do what they do, with or without secular Halloween and they’ll do it on Oct 31 and/or the last Sat in Oct – do they really care?

    People are not skipping Mass on All Saints because of Halloween – how else do you account for all the other days they skip Mass?

    Holidays have the significance we give them. Christmas can be just a day to drink egg nog and get gifts. Easter can just be about chocolate eggs. We are not forced to worship God; we are just as free to worship ourselves – at least for a little while – then Bam! Halloween won’t mean a thing although some of the imagery might be familiar in hell.

  • Thanks for sharing with information. now i know more about holloween..please keep posting. I will visit again.

Thanksgiving in Rome

Friday, November 28, AD 2008

From Amy Welborn (presently in Rome) tells us How to get a bunch of Americans to start tearing up, immediately?:

Start playing America the Beautiful as your closing song at a Thanksgiving day Mass at an American-centered parish in a foreign country. Even if it’s Italy, and even if it’s a beautiful Roman day outside. Halfway through the first verse, I looked around, and saw six people wiping their eyes….

It was Thanksgiving Day Mass at Santa Susanna, the American parish in Rome, run by the Paulists. I got there about halfway through, so I didn’t hear Cardinal Foley’s homily. But I did meet him as he juggled coffee and a muffin, and also had the great honor of meeting Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon, who was there in attendance, and read President Bush’s Thanksgiving Day proclamation after Mass.

Zenit News Service relays Thanksgiving Address of Cardinal Foley, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, at the Santa Susanna Church in Rome:

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