RUSH: ‘George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation.’ Here it is: ‘Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor — and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me ‘to 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 especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.” So, the first paragraph of Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation is essentially thanking God for the Constitution. (interruption) It was! Don’t smirk in there, Dawn. Washington was thanking God for our founding and our Constitution.
‘Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be — That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks — for His kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation — for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of His Providence which we experienced in the tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed — for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted — for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us.
‘And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions — to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually — to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed — to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn [sic] kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord — To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease [sic] of science among them and us — and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best. — Given under my hand at the City of New York, the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.’
The Father of our Country. There you have it. That’s the first Thanksgiving Proclamation. There’s nothing in there about the pilgrims. There’s nothing in there about Native Americans. There’s nothing in there about a feast. There’s nothing in there about communal living and socialism. There’s nothing in there about syphilis and starving. There’s nothing in there about anything that you think Thanksgiving is about. George Washington. And the number of references to ‘the Almighty’ and to God? Why if a president read that today the ACLU would file suit! A number of other groups would claim oppression over having to listen to it and having it forced upon them. Also, ladies and gentlemen, I must note (before our obscene profit time out) that on the third day of October 1789 A.D. in New York, George Washington gave out not one Butterball turkey.
Zero, zilch, nada Butterball turkeys were given away in New York, including what is now known as Harlem.
RUSH: When you read that first Thanksgiving proclamation, it sure doesn’t sound like George Washington believed any ‘wall of separation,’ does it, ‘between church and state’? It doesn’t sound like it crossed his mind at all. All those references to God. There’s a famous painter I’m reminded of, a famous painter and poet, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Not to be confused with ‘risotto.’ This is Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and he said, ‘The worst moment for the atheist is when he’s really thankful and has no one to thank.’ That’s when the atheist wakes up: He’s really, really thankful but doesn’t have anybody to thank.