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Prayer And Christianity In American History, Part III

Pilgrim Thanksgiving

In 1789, on the same day that Congress finished drafting the First Amendment, it requested President Washington to declare a National day of prayer and thanksgiving, resulting in the first Federal official Thanksgiving proclamation that declared “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”.

In 1800, Congress enacted naval regulations requiring that Divine service be performed twice every day aboard “all ships and vessels in the navy,” with a sermon preached each Sunday.

In 1800, Congress approved the use of the just-completed Capitol structure as a church building, with Divine services to be held each Sunday in the Hall of the House, alternately administered by the House and Senate chaplains.

In 1853 Congress declared that congressional chaplains have a “duty … to conduct religious services weekly in the Hall of the House of Representatives”.

By 1867, the church at the Capitol was the largest church in Washington, DC, with up to 2,000 people a week attending Sunday service in the Hall of the House.

By 1815, over 2,000 official governmental calls to prayer had been issued at both the State and the Federal levels, with thousands more issued since 1815.

In 1853 the United States Senate declared that the Founding Fathers “had no fear or jealousy of religion itself, nor did they wish to see us an irreligious people … they did not intend to spread over all the public authorities and the whole public action of the nation the dead and revolting spectacle of atheistical apathy”.

In 1854 the United States House of Representatives declared “It [religion] must be considered as the foundation on which the whole structure rests … Christianity; in its general principles, is the great conservative element on which we must rely for the purity and permanence of free institutions”.

In 1864, by law Congress added `In God We Trust’ to American coinage.

In 1870, the Federal government made Christmas (a recognition of the birth of Christ, an event described by the U.S. Supreme Court as “acknowledged in the Western World for 20 centuries, and in this country by the people, the Executive Branch, Congress, and the courts for 2 centuries”) and Thanksgiving as official holidays. (110th CONGRESS, 1st Session, H. RES. 888)

Part I

Part II

One Response

  1. […] here to read the rest: Prayer And Christianity In American History, Part III « Samuel at … By admin | category: american, american history | tags: christianity, congress, […]

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