Why George Washington Embraced the Idea of a ‘Nondescript’ God
The First President Wanted to Unite Americans of All Religions Without Alienating Catholics, Freethinkers, and Jews
George Washington issued what might be considered the first executive order. To commemorate the end of a bloody Revolutionary War, Washington set aside the last Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving and prayer. His 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation was short, a mere 456 words, punctuated by references—“Almighty God,” “the Lord and Ruler of Nations,” “the great and glorious Being,” “the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be”—to a Supreme Being.
Pointing to sources like the proclamation, today’s religious leaders often count Washington as …