Obama Makes History: Thanksgiving Proclamation First Ever to Omit Direct Mention of God

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President Obama's brief proclamation of Thanksgiving Day on November 26 was unique among all recorded Thanksgiving proclamations by his predecessors: it is the first one that fails to directly acknowledge the existence of God.

The beneficence shown by God to America is a theme that traditionally defines the Thanksgiving holiday, and this theme is strongly emphasized in the original Thanksgiving Day proclamations and consistently acknowledged even by modern presidents.

Obama's unprecedented proclamation, however, only makes indirect mention of God by quoting George Washington, stating: "Today, we recall President George Washington, who proclaimed our first national day of public thanksgiving to be observed 'by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.'"

The proclamation goes on to call Thanksgiving Day "a unique national tradition we all share" that unites people as "thankful for our common blessings." ...

... The second weakest reference to God in a Thanksgiving proclamation was issued in 1975 by Gerald Ford, who in his second year as President exhorted Americans to "reaffirm our belief in a dynamic spirit that will continue to nurture and guide us." But in his first address, Ford characterized Thanksgiving as a time "all Americans join in giving thanks to God for the blessings we share."

In 1969, President Richard Nixon's address referred to the "Source of all good" who "constantly bestows His blessings on mankind." In 1978, Jimmy Carter hailed the bounty provided by "Providence"; Ronald Reagan's 1982 proclamation mentioned "a divine plan" that established America...

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