Here’s a comment I posted at the Baylyblog, on the subject of Obama’s godless Thanksgiving Proclamation:
I’m glad Threegirldad checked previous proclamations. He’s right that Ford 1975 and Carter 1978 omit God.
Carter 1977 and 1979 carefully talk about other people giving thanks to God without doing so directly in the Proclamation (like Obama 2009, which does quote George Washington thanking God). Carter 1980 does thank God (“As we pause on Thanksgiving to offer thanks to God…”) Maybe losing the election earlier that month chastened our born-again President.
He’s wrong on Nixon 1969, though:
“Yet Lincoln knew that the act of thanksgiving should not be limited to time of peace and serenity. He knew that it is precisely at those times of hardship when men most need to recognize that the Source of all good constantly bestows His blessings on mankind.”
Ford 1975 has quite a modern ring:
“On the eve of our 200th year, Thanksgiving Day should be a day of special reflection upon the qualities of heart, mind and character of the men and women who founded and built our great Nation. Let us join in giving thanks for our cultural pluralism. Let us celebrate our diversity and the great strengths that have come from sharing our traditions, our ideas, our resources, our hopes and our dreams.”
Ford 1974 is more traditional:
“It is a time when the differences of a diverse people are forgotten and all Americans join in giving thanks to God for the blessings we share – the blessings of freedom, opportunity and abundance that make America so unique.”
Ford 1976 is actually the most God-laden Proclamation I’ve seen. Maybe almost losing the primaries to Reagan and then losing the election to Carter improved his focus (and got him to fire some liberal speechwriters):
“Traditionally, Americans have set aside a special day to express their gratitude to the Almighty for the blessings of liberty, peace and plenty that have been bestowed upon a grateful Nation.
The early settlers of this land possessed an unconquerable spirit and a reliance on Divine Providence that remains a part of the American character. That reliance, coupled with a belief in ourselves and a love of individual freedom, has brought this nation through two centuries of progress and kept us strong.
As we cross the threshold into our third century as a sovereign and independent Nation, it is especially appropriate that we reaffirm our trust in Him and express our gratitude for the unity, freedom and renewed sense of national pride we enjoy today.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GERALD R. FORD, President of the United States of America, in accord with Section 6103 of Title 5 of the United States Code, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 25, 1976, as a day of national thanksgiving. I call upon all Americans to join on that day with their friends and families in homes and places of worship throughout the land to offer thanks for the blessings we enjoy.
Let each of us resolve this Thanksgiving Day to make the coming year one in which our every deed will reflect our constant gratitude to God. Let us set a standard of honor, justice, and charity against which all the years of our third century may be measured.
Let us make this Thanksgiving a truly special one.