George Washington on Good Faith, Justice, and Peace

Today we continue our series examining our past presidents on subjects such religion, virtue, and so on.

Below is an excerpt from some of the writings of  George Washington, taken from a letter written to Alexander Hamilton, dated May 15, 1796.

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“Cherish good faith, justice, and peace, with other nations:

1. Because religion and morality dictate it.

2. Because policy dictates it.

If these could exist, a nation invariably honest and faithful, the benefits would be immense.”

Prayer Proclamation of President George Washington

washington_prayer_procToday is the National Day of Prayer. In honor of this day set aside to pray for our nation, we want to share a call to prayer issued by President George Washington more than two centuries ago on October 3, 1789.

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

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.

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 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 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 kindness unto 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 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.

George Washington

Words from Our Presidents: Reagan on the Bible

As part of a series entitled Words from Our Presidents we are bringing you different from quotes from U.S. Presidents on religion, religious liberty, and individual freedom. Today we have a quote from President Reagan’s proclamation designating 1983 “The Year of the Bible” in America and calling all Americans to reexamine the Bible’s “priceless and timeless message.”

“Of the many influences that have shaped the United States of America into a distinctive Nation and people, none may be said to be more fundamental and enduring than the Bible.”

President Ronald Reagan
February 3, 1983

Words from Our Presidents: Bush, Sr., on Voluntary Prayer in School

As part of a series entitled Words from Our Presidents we are bringing you different from quotes from U.S. Presidents on religion, religious liberty, and individual freedom. Today we have a 1992 quote from President George H. W. Bush on voluntary prayer in public schools.

“Something’s wrong when kids can get birth control in school but can’t say a prayer in school.”

President George H. W. Bush
August 22, 1992

Words from Our Presidents: Reagan on Conscience

As part of a series entitled Words from Our Presidents we are bringing you different from quotes from U.S. Presidents on religious liberty and individual freedom. Today we have a quote from President Reagan’s 1984 address at the Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast in Texas.

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“We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. We command no worship. We mandate no belief. But we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. We court corruption when we leave it bereft of belief. All are free to believe or not believe; all are free to practice a faith or not. But those who believe must be free to speak of and act on their belief, to apply moral teaching to public questions.”

President Ronald Reagan
August 23, 1984