‘Signal and Manifest Mercies’
Giving thanks to God for America’s blessings has a long pedigree, from observances in Jamestown, Virginia and Plymouth, Massachusetts in the 17th Century, and at the dawn of our new nation.
On Sept. 25, 1789, the day after the House of Representatives passed the Bill of Rights, Elias Boudinot, president of the Congress from 1782 to 1783, raised a motion to request that President George Washington “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.”
The measure passed both Houses of Congress with a nearly unanimous vote, according to James H. Hudson, author of Religion and the Founding of the American Republic (Library of Congress, 1998).
On October 3, 1789, Washington issued a proclamation asking the American people to thank God for His “signal and manifest mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence.” Washington also suggested some repentance, asking God “to pardon our national and other transgressions.”
With all the bad news happening in Washington, D.C., and abroad, one might get the impression that Americans have every right to grumble about our plight. As a self-governing nation, we do have the right and duty to criticize our leaders, but this is not the same as giving in to chronic complaining, depression and hopelessness. Those things go with an ungrateful heart, and we have much for which to be thankful.
This indispensable country is still the best earthly hope for humanity’s progress and well-being, but we risk losing that if we decline to acknowledge, as did the Founders, our debt to God Almighty, who has made it all possible.
At the ACRU, we are grateful for the ability to fight for freedom in the nation’s courts of law and public opinion. We are grateful for recent historic court victories in Mississippi in our campaign to ensure clean voter rolls and honest elections.
We are grateful for our supporters, for the ultimate sacrifices of many in uniform who have kept us free, and, of course, to the God who raised up this great nation.
Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!
–Susan A. Carleson, Chairman and CEO, and the ACRU staff