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Blogs4God has President George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789.

More Ethan pictures: Sam took him outside to play with the fallen leaves.

Proto-Kaw (the band Kerry Livgren of Kansas has reformed based on an earlier incarnation of Kansas that never released anything until this decade) has a new album coming out in February, called The Wait of Glory. We had the pleasure of seeing them and meeting them all this summer, and it was one of the highlights of the last decade for me. The lyrics for the Wait of Glory are up now. I can't wait to hear it. Everything I've heard is that it's even better than their last album Before Became After, which was one of Livgren's best works.

For some really perverse fun, see A Night at the Roddenberry. [Hat tip: The Gnu]

Speaking of the Gnu, he has a response to a few of Scott Adams's comments on Intelligent Design (see Abednego's post). I think his point about Crick and Watson is particularly interesting.

5 Comments

Interesting. My recollection is that Congress sent a message noting thanks to Jesus. It looks like Washington stripped out all mention of Jesus.

Anyone know what happened?

Wasn't Washington a Unitarian? It might have had something to do with that.

I don't think Washington was a Unitarian, maybe a deist though. His failure to mention Jesus is probably related to him being something of a pluralist. Given his writing Washington's religious views are opaque, and given his actions it's anyones guess. I think in his time he attended just about every kind of church around, which makes it odd that he had so little to say on the subject of religion. Here is some good info on Washington and religion.

I didn't necessarily mean that he was a member of the Unitarian church at the time but that he was very similar to Unitarian Universalists in general. He was a Unitarian in that sense. He seems to have much the same view as Jefferson, I would say.

I don't think it's accurate to call him (or for that matter Jefferson) a deist. This is something I've been trying to figure out for years, but the best I can come up with right now is that the key element of deism is religion through reason rather than revelation. Washington was with Jefferson, Locke, and other people who have been called deists on that issue. But deism as I understand it has an additional element. It denies a personal God and takes God either not to care about what goes on here but to be interested in other things or simply not to have desires or a will. Locke grounds rights in God's rights over his creation, and Jefferson follows him in that, describing our rights as God-given and grounding morality in God in some way. I imagine Washington was more like that than the full deism of someone like Voltaire or Hume.

Sorry, I took you to be suggesting that Washington was in fact a Unitarian. It wouldn't be a stretch since congregational Unitarianism was widespread, and seeing great growth in the New England area. Both John Adams and John Quincy Adams were Unitarians. I said maybe deist because he seems clearly to be a theist of some sort, but on reflection I think that would be a wrong attribution too. I should also note that when I called him a pluralist I meant it in the political toleration sense.

If you meant Washington was something like a Unitarian in the classical sense I think you're probably correct. If not holding a Unitarian view at heart, he was probably at least a fellow traveler. However, there is a lot of distance between the classical Unitarian and the Unitarian Universalism of today. Classical Unitarianism is firmly grounded in the Christian tradition, but rejects as central some core doctrines such as the Trinity. It has roots in the writings of Michael Servetus, who saw himself as trying to reform Christianity to its core scriptural doctrines and practices. This was an attempt to reduce those requirements necessary to be a Christian to a bare minimum in order to remove the stumbling blocks for Jews and Muslims. Locke and Newton follow somewhat directly in the footsteps of Servetus, and it would be a real mistake to characterize either of them as deists. None of these men deny revelation, but they do take a rational approach to it. The scant evidence would seem to suggest that Washington falls into the ranks of Locke and Newton. If Jefferson falls in this league then I think it is at the most tenuous edge.

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