Why Did The American President
Forget To Thank God
(On Thanksgiving Day) – Or Did He?

By Pastor Vincent Imwensi

I am not a political commentator or analyst but just like anyone else, I do contemplate on issues around me.

And so when it hit the headlines two months ago that the American President made a speech on the national Thanksgiving day (November 24th, 2011) without mentioning God – talk less of thanking Him, it was a matter for concern not only to me, but to many people across the world.

He thanked military personnel, service men and women, pilgrims, pioneers and patriots, cooks, as well as family, community, country and all Americans – but not God! That touched my heart.

Let’s Not Pretend About It

Someone may say that was last year and it is a forgotten issue but I say no! Why? Because the reasons behind what the President did (or did not do) in that speech are still there and they won’t go away by pretending they are not there. There are serious implications in that.

I am not an American but since America has come to be regarded by many people (rightly or wrongly) as the biggest Christian nation on earth right now, such an act provokes some serious thinking in the minds of God-minded people around the world.

This Is Not A Criticism

I am not one of those who like to criticize those in authority. In accordance with the word of God, I endeavour not to speak evil of those in positions of authority. What I owe them is not criticism but respect, prayer and obedience in righteousness.

There are several people who spend a lot of time blaming leadership for their woes. While certain problems are caused by leadership blunders, most of the time the people have more to do with the problem they are complaining about than those in leadership.

There are even those who have made a career out of criticism, fault-finding and finger pointing at those in authority. I detest and hate it. Therefore, the purpose of this writing is not fault finding and criticism – it is to bring certain truth to light.

Who Is Behind America’s Greatness?

America is a great nation and even though there are some people and nations that are ill disposed towards America and Americans, there are many that love America and Americans.
In fact, in many parts of Africa, merely saying that you are from America confers immediate respect on you. Is it any wonder that it is the lifelong dream of many in different parts of the world to migrate to America?

But what or who made America great? Some think it is their clever politicians, or their strong military or their inventors or their industrialists. But it is none of these. Other nations are equally endowed and in some cases, even more. Don’t tell me that the Americans are smarter than the British or the Russians!

I believe that the greatness of America derives from God. Without Him, every human effort, skill, training or experience will come to naught.

The Americans Know Their History Better Than Anyone Else

The American people are intelligent, well read and well-schooled – so I believe they know their history better than anyone else. I am sure they know how the whole idea of a day of national Thanksgiving came about. So turning it into something else is not the doing of one person.

In fact, if we were to postulate that they have forgotten what the national day of Thanksgiving is all about,  their President certainly did not.

A Little Bit Of History:


Thanksgiving Day Was Intended To Thank God

As far as I understand, the whole idea was to thank the Almighty God for His bountiful blessings upon the nation and its citizens.

The Pilgrims started it in 1621 and the reason was to thank God. It is said that it was a tradition they brought with them from England where the idea also was to thank God for His gracious providence and provision.

Then on October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln made a proclamation establishing the last Thursday in the month of November as a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise” to God … (well, it has since been amended to the fourth Thursday in November).

That God was the object of this Thanksgiving celebration is eloquently expressed in that declaration. After enumerating so many blessings that God had brought upon the nation including that of protection, preservation, provision, prosperity and so on, he said:

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”

You can see that the idea was NOT to thank one another but God.

How the whole thing now turned around such that it is all about thanking men instead of God – to the point that He doesn’t even deserve a mention in the President’s Thanksgiving speech, is difficult to understand.

The President Did Not Forget And It Was Not A Mistake

I believe he did not forget that he is supposed to thank God, it was not a mistake that he did not do it, instead, it was a deliberate omission.

Take a look at the American president and you will see that he is smart, clever and intelligent – don’t expect him to forget something like that!

Moreover, do you know how many times that speech was rehearsed and cross examined before it was broadcast? He was simply playing safe – saying what is agreeable to most Americans nowadays and not likely to ruffle many feathers.

In politics, you have to dance to the drum beat of those that put you in power otherwise, if they cannot impeach you before the completion of your tenure, they will not vote for you in the next election.

Don’t Blame The President – Ask The People

I know that many people are quick to pin the blame of the president but in reality, he is not to blame – ask the people what happened to their relationship with God.

After all, when in 1939 President Franklin Roosevelt changed the Thanksgiving day to the 3rd Thursday of the month of November instead of the last, there was a great public outcry (oh well, because of the financial implications).

And that was why in 1941, by an act of Congressional Joint Resolution, the 4th Thursday of November was set as a national day of Thanksgiving and it has been so ever since.

How many Americans are concerned that on a day set aside to thank God for His goodness to the nation, His name was not even mentioned in the president’s Thanksgiving speech talk less of thanking Him?

What do you think the reaction will be in the Congress right now, if someone was to complain that God was not mentioned (in the President’s Thanksgiving speech) talk less of being thanked? I believe that person will be booed and told to shut up. So don’t tell me the president is to blame!

What Happened To “God’s Own Country”?

Although this phrase has been jokingly used for different nations (including America), it seems to be more true of America because of the abundant blessings and prosperity upon that nation, their open heartedness towards the gospel of Christ (in the past) and their public acknowledgement of the God of the Bible – that is, until more recent years.

Once upon a time, most American presidents were not ashamed to acknowledge their faith in the living God publicly. Till today, the American motto is “In God We Trust” and it is printed on their currency. But all that is now changing.

And I won’t be surprised if a group of politically correct intellectuals and politicians are hard at work to scrap that motto and replace it with something else. Is this still “God’s own country”? Well, I don’t know.

God Deserves More Than A “Mention” In America.

What some complained about in the President’s Thanksgiving speech was that he did not “mention” God – not that he did not thank God for His goodness to the nation.

If he had sprinkled a careless and politically correct “God bless America” on his thanksgiving speech,(as has been done in previous years), many would have been content.

Mind you, saying “God bless America” in a Thanksgiving speech, is not the same thing as thanking God for His goodness to the nation, yet many would have been ok with that – at least he mentioned God! How else can you define superficiality and lip service?

It was even better he didn’t do it at all than being hypocritical about it.

What Evil Has God Done To America?

At last, some smart politicians, opinion leaders, intellectuals and liberalists have eventually come to see that public acknowledgment of the living God is not healthy for the nation: it is offensive, injurious, divisive and unprofitable.

Praying in public places has been banned in schools and public places, it is now forbidden to hang the Ten Commandments in public buildings in most of the States (if not all).

It has become politically incorrect to acknowledge Christmas in America – (it is now called the “Holidays” to strip the season of its association with “Christ” which many Americans now find offensive).

In fact, during this last Christmas, (25th December, 2011) several people in America took to the streets on Christmas day (it was in the news) to protest against Christmas symbols in public places such as the Nativity scene and Christmas trees. Can you imagine that? What evil has Christ done to America? Has God not been good to that country – well, you judge.

Some Changes Can Lead To  Downfall.

Any river that forgets (or that is cut off from) its source will soon dry up irrespective of how much water pours into it from other sources.

Change is a good thing and making changes is often part of making progress but that is on the ground that the change is a positive one.

There are changes that lead to downfall instead of elevation, demotion instead of promotion, failure instead of success, poverty instead of prosperity and retrogression instead of progress. So there are some changes never to make.

Any change by which any people move away from God instead drawing closer to Him is a bad change and it always leads downwards. Read the accounts of the nation of Israel in the Bible and you will see a vivid illustration of this.

A Call To Repentance

What I have highlighted in this article is not about Americans alone. Many nations are forgetting God and some even boast about it.

As you read this article, I want to ask you dear friend, does God have a place in your life? Or are you among the many millions (if not billions) of humanity to whom God is irrelevant? But He still owns the breadth in your nostril and when you leave this world you will stand before Him to give account of your life on earth – believe it or not.

Now is the time to turn to Him. He loves you and cares about you. He wants you to come into a personal relationship with Him. Click here to find out how.

267 Responses to “Why Did The American President
Forget To Thank God
(On Thanksgiving Day) – Or Did He?”

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