Although we tend to associate the modern holiday with the proclamation issued by Abraham Lincoln on October 3, 1863, the first presidential proclamation declaring a day of Thanksgiving actually dates back to 1789 and was promulgated by our first president, George Washington.
On April 30th in 1789, at Federal Hall in New York City, George Washington took the oath of office to become the first president of the United States. He took that oath amidst a widespread surge of popularity and consensual respect that has yet to be replicated in any subsequent presidential election in this country.
Barack Obama’s handlers continually seem to look for opportunities to create analogous comparisons between Obama and other iconic American figures, in the hopes that some patina of their greatness will burnish Obama’s flawed image.
In an age and time when I find most of my college students unfamiliar with the story of Adam and Eve or the origin of the phrase, “judge not lest ye be judged,” I enter discussions about religion with some caution. Almost universally my students do not believe that religious belief is necessary for morality, and seem to be offended by the very concept.
Only Americans of a certain age remember what the holiday on the third Monday in February is all about. I asked a few high-school students the other day what it is, exactly, we celebrate with "Presidents Day." One young man suggested that it was about selling used cars, since there are so many newspaper advertisements and television commercials announcing "birthday sales."
Most of us have heard or read at least part of Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamation at some point. But even those who have heard it many times can overlook two important aspects of this important document.
According to social commentator Bill Muehlenberg, “The fate of a nation is intimately tied up with its moral and spiritual condition.” If this is true, would it be wrong for conservative Christians, within the parameters established by our Constitution and laws, to do everything in their power to take the lead in the political and educational and media and business sectors of our country? Or does the very thought of that send shivers up your spine?
A few weeks ago, several friends and I braved the impending rainstorm and went to the National Book Festival on the Washington Mall. The purpose of attending -- besides the obvious reason of wanting to stand in the company of Hollywood actors, renowned historians and poet laureates -- was to hear David McCullough speak.