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President George Washington
October 3, 1789

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 and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”


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 in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of 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 has 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 shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase 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 one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

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Explicitly Christian Constitution of the Constitution State

By:  Reed R. Heustis, Jr., Esq.
November 21, 2009

The State of Connecticut’s nickname is the Constitution State.

If asked, most people may guess that the reason for this nickname is that Connecticut may have been the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In actuality, they’d be wrong.  Delaware was the first, having done so on December 7, 1787.  Connecticut was the fifth state to ratify.

So, why the nickname?

Most people would be surprised to learn that Connecticut is known as the Constitution State because what many consider to be the first written constitution in the western tradition was adopted there.  Thus, Connecticut became known as the Constitution State.

However, what would really stun people is to learn that this first written constitution was an explicitly Christian document.  It unabashedly professed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, honored the Rule of the Word of God, and established a government according to God.  What a beautiful constitution it was. 

Try sharing that tidbit of trivia with the guests at your next cocktail party.

Most people already realize that nearly every state constitution acknowledges God in some form or fashion today.  However, these acknowledgements are so extremely generic that they usually serve as a one-size-fits-all reference to any home-made deity.  Today’s acknowledgements seem to be nothing more than fill-in-the-blanks.  Christ need not apply.

Today, the moment someone remotely suggests that Christ be acknowledged in a constitutional document, is when all hell breaks loose.  Accusations of religious bigotry are the predictable result.

Adopted in 1638, the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut that are known as the first written constitution, was so explicitly Christian, that it should make today’s Christian Americans blush with shame.

Only the Preamble need be cited to make this point:

“For as much as it hath pleased Almighty God by the wise disposition of his divine providence so to order and dispose of things that we the Inhabitants and Residents of Windsor, Hartford and Wethersfield are now cohabiting and dwelling in and upon the River of Connectecotte and the lands thereunto adjoining; and well knowing where a people are gathered together the word of God requires that to maintain the peace and union of such a people there should be an orderly and decent Government established according to God, to order and dispose of the affairs of the people at all seasons as occasion shall require; do therefore associate and conjoin ourselves to be as one Public State or Commonwealth; and do for ourselves and our successors and such as shall be adjoined to us at any time hereafter, enter into Combination and Confederation together, to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess, as also, the discipline of the Churches, which according to the truth of the said Gospel is now practiced amongst us; as also in our civil affairs to be guided and governed according to such Laws, Rules, Orders and Decrees as shall be made, ordered, and decreed….”  (emphasis added)

If you really want to know whether today’s conservative Christians truly stand for biblical principles in civil government, ask them whether they would support a constitutional document that makes these professions and proclamations.

Ask them whether they would support a constitutional document that explicitly describes the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the words Liberty and Purity.

Ask them whether they would agree that to maintain peace and union, there should be an orderly and decent government established according to God.

Today’s conservatives may be quick to support the mention of “god” in the Pledge of Allegiance, or to sing God Bless America, but don’t be surprised if none of them would support an explicit acknowledgement of the Kingship of Jesus Christ.

How’s that for constitutional government?

Reed R. Heustis, Jr., Esq. is a Southern California native, and publisher of Christian Constitutionalist.  A member of the State Bar of California, Reed earned his Juris Doctor from California Western School of Law in San Diego, California, and his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from University of California at Irvine.  Reed is a member of a local church affiliated with the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America.


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