You will often hear today about “separation of church and state”. Many will claim we must separate our faith and obedience to the one and only God from our government. This is clearly not the intent of our founders and more importantly not the intent and desire of God. Further, it is a lie to say that this is how our nation functioned. “separation of church and state” is nowhere in the Constitution. It appears in some letters from the founders. It is primarily focused on the government not determining which denomination of Christianity we should follow. We see overwhelming evidence in history, if we study it (because schools will not teach it anymore). I have previously shared George Washington’s Thanksgiving Day Proclamation and also some resources about our history (Silencing God). Today I wanted to highlight another Thanksgiving proclamation from Abraham Lincoln to help us remember how our country should be humble and repentant and thankful before God… and yes how our government should represent our Christian faith in the one true God without apology.
I am referencing below a website by a historian named Bill Petro for Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 proclamation and afterwards Fox News for Abraham Lincolns 1864 proclamation. I am sure you can search these out online in many places.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION – 1863
Following the initial Presidential Thanksgiving proclamations of George Washington, John Adams and James Madison, there were no further Presidential proclamations for this day until Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day during the Civil War, but it was not initially in November. Instead it was in the Spring of 1862 and then again on October 3, 1863 for victories in battle. He later established the common Fall celebration of Thanksgiving for the blessings of the year on Thursday, November 26 1863. It was on March 30, 1863 that Lincoln, in his Proclamation for a Day of Prayer and Fasting said the following:
“…It is the duty of nations as well as of men to owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.
“We know that by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subject to punishments and chastisements in
this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins; to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?
“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.
“But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.
“Intoxicated with unbroken success we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.
“It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
Abraham Lincoln later went on to say on October 3, 1863:
“It has seemed to me fit and proper that God 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 as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”
Editor’s note: The following is a proclamation from Abraham Lincoln on Thanksgiving Day, October 20, 1864. (Fox News.com)
It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with His guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the rivers and seas with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while He has opened to us new sources of wealth and has crowned the labor of our workingmen in every department of industry and abundant rewards. Moreover, He has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage, and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war into which we have been brought by our adherence as a nation to the cause of freedom and humanity, and to afford to us reasonable hopes of an ultimate and happy deliverance from all our dangers and afflictions:
Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on the occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for the return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.
Done at the city of Washington, this 20th day of October, A.D. 1864, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.
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