By Michael Nedderman
Note: The following is derived from "America's Primal Prayer: Is Jesus Christ the God of the Declaration; Did the Founders Dedicate the Nation to Him; Is the Constitution Woven From Christian Fabric; and Why it Matters" by Michael Nedderman.
Thanksgiving is a national holiday enshrined in law at 5 U.S.C. 6103. It is a celebration that the Revolutionary-era Congress, Presidents Washington, Madison and every president since it became a national holiday under Abraham Lincoln observed by issuing an official proclamation on behalf of all Americans, explicitly thanking God for blessing and protecting them and our nation.
U.S. presidents have thanked God on behalf of our grateful nation 164 times without any objection!
Interesting historical examples are when FDR led the nation in prayer (1940), recited the 23rd Psalm in his first wartime proclamation (1942) and, in 1944, urged all Americans to study the scriptures: "to the end that we may bear more earnest witness to our gratitude to Almighty God."
In light of the growing belief that the American government can only be secular (godless), is it even possible that every one of those presidential proclamations exclusively thanked God as understood by Christians, revealed in and by Jesus Christ? Or is it more likely that the official object of our national gratitude is, and constitutionally must be, a nebulous trans-deity who can be any god, all gods, the deist's "ungod," or even the atheist's "NO GOD!" based upon the subjective perception of each American?
The answer is found in the historical fact that our mostly Christian founders dedicated this nation to their understanding of God by acknowledging him, not once, but four times in America's birth certificate, the Declaration of Independence. Those references are to "Nature's God," the "Creator" of all mankind, "divine Providence" and to the "Supreme Judge of the world."
Using the biblical title every Christian should know, the reference to the "Supreme Judge of the world" in the concluding paragraph of the Declaration is an undisguised prayer to Jesus inserted into Congress' draft by that document's actual author, the Christians in Congress:
"… appealing [praying] to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude [righteousness] of our intentions …" [Bracketed content added.]
See this author's WND article, "Is Jesus in the Declaration of Independence?" demonstrating a symbiotic "God" connection between the Declaration and Constitution.
All of the Declaration's signers knew what Jesus said of himself:
"The Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father." (John 5:22-23)
The Declaration's four "God references" explicitly acknowledge Jesus before "a candid world" (second paragraph) which obligated Jesus to acknowledge our nation before his Father as he promised in Matthew 10:32-33:
"Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father."
Because the founders dedicated America to the Christian understanding of God, every official "God reference" made by our government is a reference to that Christian understanding, manifesting in Jesus Christ. And yes, that certainly includes the National Motto, the Pledge of Allegiance, when the Supreme Court is announced ("God save the United States and this Honorable Court!") and in each presidential Thanksgiving Day proclamation. And that is true regardless of the personal beliefs of non-Christian Americans or the officials making such an acknowledgment. How could it be otherwise?
Additional examples of the founders acknowledging the Christian understanding of God "before others":
- In 1777, Congress explicitly identified Jesus by name in America's first Thanksgiving Proclamation: "… that it may please GOD through the Merits of JESUS CHRIST, mercifully to forgive and blot out of Remembrance" [of the People's] "manifold Sins." [Emphases in original.]
- In 1783, John Adams, John Jay and Benjamin Franklin signed The Definitive Treaty of Peace 1783 with Great Britain. That treaty begins with this dedication: "In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity."
Those two official references by the U.S. government are pertinent exceptions demonstrating that the general practice of the mostly Christian founders was to use titles for Jesus Christ rather than naming him or the Trinity specifically. That practice continues today in presidential proclamations and other governmental pronouncements. Other historical examples:
- The last paragraph of the 1775 Declaration … Setting Forth the Causes and Necessity of … Taking Up Arms has a prayer of trust and supplication to "… the supreme and impartial Judge and Ruler of the Universe," aka Jesus Christ.
- Article XIII of the1777 Articles of Confederation offered a prayer of thanksgiving to "the Great Governor of the World," aka Jesus Christ.
- George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation was the first by a president under the new Constitution, wherein he references God eight times including as "the great Lord and Ruler of Nations," aka Jesus Christ.
The little-understood genius of Americanism is that it achieves a historically unique triple balance by:
- gratefully acknowledging Jesus Christ in the Declaration as the providential Author of our blessing of Liberty and prosperity; while
- outlawing a theocracy with the constitutional prohibition against religious tests and with the First Amendment's prohibition against "an establishment" of an official religion; while
- simultaneously guaranteeing "the free exercise" of religion in the First Amendment – free, that is, from government interference, thus, defining it as a political right.
From the Declaration of Independence to President Biden's soon-to-be-issued 2022 Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, it's clear that the long record of America's explicit and repeated acknowledgments of Jesus Christ "before others" is why we have been so abundantly blessed. Whether by name, title, or just as "God," how could any president issue a Thanksgiving Proclamation thanking any but the God who actually blesses and protects America, namely Jesus Christ?
As history proves, our American government cannot ever be a theocracy. Nor can it ever be secular (godless). Those are the false alternatives the ACLU and the Freedom From Religion Foundation would like you to believe are the choices.
Americanism is, in fact, a God-blessed happy medium for which we, as a nation led by our presidents, thank God every Thanksgiving Day.
Michael Nedderman is a California-based writer who is the author of the eBook "America's Primal Prayer" and these WND articles: "Is Jesus in the Declaration of Independence?"; "The personal exemption and 'inflation tax'"; "If the 40 million Christians who don't vote did vote" and "Why should Charlie Kirk be ineligible to run for president?" Contact him at AmericasPrimalPrayer@gmail.com.
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