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Presidential Proclamations: Some Chief Executive Thoughts For The Holiday

Editor's Note: Today's blog is a re-publication of an item that originally appeared on Presidents' Day 2012.

Today is Presidents’ Day. Celebrate by reading some great presidential classics of religious liberty!

Start with George Washington’s letter to Touro Synagogue, one of the most succinct statements ever issued about religious liberty.

Hawkeye Revival: Iowa Governor Formally Asks His State To Pray And Repent

In a move straight out of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s playbook, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad issued an official proclamation instructing citizens to pray and repent and presided over a revival event on the grounds of the state capitol.

In April, Branstad signed the proclamation urging everyone in the state of Iowa to repent and pray daily. He also invited them to join in a day of prayer, fasting and repentance on July 14 on the grounds of the state capitol. Read more

Founding Fibs: The Religious Right Is Still Trying To Hijack George Washington’s Legacy

In high school, I had a history teacher who summed up George Washington’s importance to early Americans this way: “There was God and then there was George Washington” in the minds of the people, he said.

That seems like a reasonable representation of how many contemporaries likely viewed our nation’s first president. But one could easily wonder what Washington, himself, thought about God. The Religious Right thinks it has the answer, and as usual it’s far removed from reality. Read more

State-Sponsored Supplications: Does The United States Really Need A National Day of Prayer?

Editor’s Note: Today is the congressionally mandated National Day of Prayer. “The Wall of Separation” is pleased to offer this guest post by James C. Nelson, a retired justice of the Montana Supreme Court. Nelson was appointed to the court by Gov. Marc Racicot in 1993 and was reelected to the position three times, serving until his retirement in 2013.   Read more

Falsehoods, By George!: Religious Right Seeks Retroactive Baptism Of America’s First President

If you have nothing better to do on Wednesday, May 8, at 6:30 p.m., you could go to Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol and listen to a bunch of Religious Right activists tell lies about George Washington.

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and other members of Congress are sponsoring an event to celebrate the 224th anniversary of the inauguration of Washington. The event is called “Washington: A Man of Prayer.” Read more

Prayer Problem: Congressman’s Sectarian Invocation Muddies Constitutional Waters

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who is chair of the House Armed Forces Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, has been opening subcommittee meetings with Christian prayers.

“Heavenly Father,…help us to be wise, help us to be good planners and good stewards,” Akin said at the start of a March 29 hearing, according to Congressional Quarterly. “And we pray that you help us with the somewhat busy schedule this morning, and the votes and all. And I pray in Jesus’ name.” Read more

Presidential Proclamations: Some Chief Executive Thoughts For The Holiday

Today is Presidents’ Day. Celebrate by reading some great presidential classics of religious liberty!

Start with George Washington’s letter to Touro Synagogue, one of the most succinct statements ever issued about religious liberty.

Of course, Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists, which contains the famous “wall of separation between church and state” metaphor, is always worth your time. Read more

Drive-Thru Baloney: Don’t Buy ‘Christian Nation’ Propagandist David Barton’s Junk Food History

The Religious Right likes to invoke American history to advance its agenda, but sometimes the truth of that history doesn’t fit with the fundamentalist narrative. When that happens, people like David Barton decide to write revisionist textbooks and peddle those books to public schools. Read more

Beyond Toleration: The Enduring Message Of Washington’s Letter To The Touro Synagogue

President George Washington received an interesting letter 220 years ago today.

Washington was visiting Newport, R.I., and Moses Seixas, an official at the Touro Synagogue, wrote to welcome our first chief executive to the city and to solicit his views on religious liberty.

Washington’s reply, dated Aug. 21, 1790, isn’t as well known as some other historic documents from the founding period, and that’s a shame. Every American should read it. Read more

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