It was October 3, 1789. Our first president had been in office for only eight months. Everything was so new and different in a new Republic operating under a new Constitution. Both houses of Congress had just recently urged President Washington to issue a formal proclamation asking Americans to observe a national day of thanksgiving, acknowledging God as the giver of every good gift to the new nation.

Let that roll around in your head for a few minutes. Both houses of Congress got together to do something. There were no political parties at the time– dividing up our nation into Left or Right. They agreed to do something good for our country! They said we should all thank God for our many blessings!

Wait a minute. Where was the ACLU suing them for violating the First Amendment and the “separation of church and state”? Didn’t they know the Constitution???

Yes. They did. Many of the Congressmen had just written the US Constitution about 18 months before. And Washington had been the president of the Constitutional Convention. If anyone knew the Constitution and what it meant, it was these men.

And they saw no conflict at all in urging people to pray to the God who gave them good government and a bountiful land.