What Does Pres. Obama’s Proclamation Really Say?

From the site of the White House comes the Thanksgiving Day Proclamation by Pres. Barak Hussein Obama:

You will want to read this with your own eye and ear to the sort of language used and the concepts behind that language.

I will focus on one aspect: expression of thanks to God.

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
November 23, 2009
Presidential Proclamation — Thanksgiving Day

A PROCLAMATION

What began as a harvest celebration between European settlers and indigenous communities nearly four centuries ago has become our cherished tradition of Thanksgiving. This day’s roots are intertwined with those of our Nation, and its history traces the American narrative.

Today, we recall President George Washington, who proclaimed our first national day of public thanksgiving to be observed "by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God," and President Abraham Lincoln, who established our annual Thanksgiving Day to help mend a fractured Nation in the midst of civil war. We also recognize the contributions of Native Americans, who helped the early colonists survive their first harsh winter and continue to strengthen our Nation. From our earliest days of independence, and in times of tragedy and triumph, Americans have come together to celebrate Thanksgiving.

As Americans, we hail from every part of the world. While we observe traditions from every culture, Thanksgiving Day is a unique national tradition we all share. Its spirit binds us together as one people, each of us thankful for our common blessings.

As we gather once again among loved ones, let us also reach out to our neighbors and fellow citizens in need of a helping hand. This is a time for us to renew our bonds with one another, and we can fulfill that commitment by serving our communities and our Nation throughout the year. In doing so, we pay tribute to our country’s men and women in uniform who set an example of service that inspires us all. Let us be guided by the legacy of those who have fought for the freedoms for which we give thanks, and be worthy heirs to the noble tradition of goodwill shown on this day.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 26, 2009, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all the people of the United States to come together, whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place where family, friends and neighbors may gather, with gratitude for all we have received in the past year; to express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own; and to share our bounty with others.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

BARACK OBAMA

Read it in comparison the previous proclamation.

George W. Bush – 2008

Thanksgiving Day 2008
November 21, 2008

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

Thanksgiving is a time for families and friends to gather together and express gratitude for all that we have been given, the freedoms we enjoy, and the loved ones who enrich our lives. We recognize that all of these blessings, and life itself, come not from the hand of man but from Almighty God.

Every Thanksgiving, we remember the story of the Pilgrims who came to America in search of religious freedom and a better life. Having arrived in the New World, these early settlers gave thanks to the Author of Life for granting them safe passage to this abundant land and protecting them through a bitter winter. Our Nation’s first President, George Washington, stated in the first Thanksgiving proclamation that "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." While in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln revived the tradition of proclaiming a day of thanksgiving, asking God to heal our wounds and restore our country.

Today, as we look back on the beginnings of our democracy, Americans recall that we live in a land of many blessings where every person has the right to live, work, and worship in freedom. Our Nation is especially thankful for the brave men and women of our Armed Forces who protect these rights while setting aside their own comfort and safety. Their courage keeps us free, their sacrifice makes us grateful, and their character makes us proud. Especially during the holidays, our whole country keeps them and their families in our thoughts and prayers.

Americans are also mindful of the need to share our gifts with others, and our Nation is moved to compassionate action. We pay tribute to all caring citizens who reach out a helping hand and serve a cause larger than themselves.
On this day, let us all give thanks to God who blessed our Nation’s first days and who blesses us today. May He continue to guide and watch over our families and our country always.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 27, 2008, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all Americans to gather together in their homes and places of worship with family, friends, and loved ones to strengthen the ties that bind us and give thanks for the freedoms and many blessings we enjoy.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.

GEORGE W. BUSH

 

Notice the difference in the ways the two president’s make reference to God.

In the 2009 Proclamation, God is mentioned in the context of another President’s quote.

In the 2008 Proclamation, frequent reference is made to God as part of the original composition.

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29 Responses to What Does Pres. Obama’s Proclamation Really Say?

  1. An interesting comparison, to be sure: I might have highlighted also life itself in FPGWB’s Proclamation.

    Again, all the best on this day of national Thanksgiving!

    I have been blessed abundantly in my life, and I consider it the greatest blessing, this side of the Promise of Jerusalem, to have been born a citizen of our United States.

    I am,

    YOS

    C.

  2. Oleksander says:

    credit is due when due, at least he said “in the year of our Lord”

  3. Gabriella says:

    Interesting!
    It certainly isn’t a ‘small’ difference.

  4. JenB says:

    President Bush also mentioned worship and places of worship (which got highlighted in President Obama’s proclamation.”

    Definately a different focus.

  5. Monica Edith says:

    Re: use of “Year of our Lord” I believe it’s just general nomenclature used for official documents :(

    Wikipedia: Anno Domini (A.D. “in the Year of the Lord” – Short for Anno Domini Nostri Iesus Christi (in the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ), the predominantly used system for dating years across the world, used with the Gregorian calendar, and based on the perceived year of the birth of Jesus Christ.

  6. rinkevichjm says:

    Wasn’t the first Thanksgiving actually celebrated by the Spanish who having found some French (Protestants) inhabiting their claimed lands near St Augustine, launched an armed clean up and having been successful in that offered the Holy and Pure Sacrifice of Our Lord in Thanksgiving (e.g. they had Mass and celebrated with the Eucharistic sacrifice)? Obama should get his facts checked out.

  7. TNCath says:

    I heard it proclaimed today from the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Miguel Diaz at the Church of Santa Susanna in Rome. It got polite applause. Leading the applause was His Eminence, John Cardinal Foley, who was the principal celebrant. Needless to say, it was not exactly the high point of my day. I then went over to the North American College for their Thanksgiving Mass. This Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Raymond Burke. It was a much more pleasant experience to say the least. Things are definitely improving at the NAC. I wish they were at Santa Susanna.

  8. Kimberly says:

    Yep, I think that says it all.

  9. amsjj1002 says:

    I was happy that the “Common Era” date garbage wasn’t brought out.

  10. EXCHIEF says:

    The difference is between one who loves God and one who loves himself. BO’s reference to God was in the form of a quote from a former President. It was not an expression of his personal thanks to God.

  11. wanda says:

    Not surprised at all. I don’t think I’m wrong, but I understand that BO hasn’t taken the time to find a Church to attend on Sundays. I think this has always been done by our Presidents.

    Pray and pray some more.

  12. moon1234 says:

    Obama is a Muslim, however much he denies it in public. He would not want to put forth any show of Christianity. That is why all of his references to God are always in keeping with Islam. He even has publically said the US is not a christian nation. Amazing since Christianity is by a long shot the largest makup of the US population.

    God help us the next three years.

  13. DisturbedMary says:

    My ungenerous bias inclines me to view Obama as pagan no matter what words he speaks. With his messianic delusions I can’t imagine what he will do about Christmas. Emphasis on Kwanza do you think?

  14. JohnE says:

    From Washington’s original proclamation:
    “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”

    Perhaps needed now more than ever.

  15. iudicame says:

    “From Washington’s original proclamation:
    “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”

    Did Bp. Trautman proof this before it was delivered?

    m

  16. tzard says:

    “…to express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own; ”

    I heard this from the CBS Thanksgiving parade coverage – how thanksgiving is about thanking those who do for us (no reference to God) – people like firemen, armed services, and those who serve others in food kitchens….. I can see a significant reference to these groups in the media this year.

    I was wondering about this – who do those who do not believe in any god give thanks to? Previously it was an amorphous “thank you” which could be to the nature or luck or something invisible (illogical, but not off the deep end yet). It looks like we’ve now received confirmation of a new idolatry.

  17. Thank you, Father. I wish you godspeed in your recovery. Thank you for another “home run”. One need need look no further than the tapes of the Rev. Wright’s hate filled, vicious speeches (G.D. America) in the “church” which Obama allegedly attended for twenty years to know that Obama has no faith at all.
    He is the modern secular man. In meetings with those who contributed to his campaign he evinces a coldness which leaves them ill at ease. On the plus side, I believe there will be a return to prayer as people realize more and more that the enemies who oppose us are satanic and not human.

    DELIVER US FROM FROM EVIL.

  18. Aaron says:

    President Obama isn’t Christian, nor is he Muslim (though he has certain sympathies towards them). He named his god quite clearly in a 2004 interview with Cathleen Falsani of the Chicago Sun-Times (my emphases):

    FALSANI: Do you pray often?
    OBAMA: Uh, yeah, I guess I do.
    It’s not formal, me getting on my knees. I think I have an ongoing conversation with God. I think throughout the day, I’m constantly asking myself questions about what I’m doing, why am I doing it.

    And later in the interview:

    FALSANI: What is sin?
    OBAMA: Being out of alignment with my values.

    If you read the whole article or his memoir, you’ll see that by “my values” he certainly doesn’t mean anything as old-fashioned as “God’s commandments” or even “what my religion teaches.” He means his personal opinion, plain and simple. He sees no greater authority than his own conclusions.

    It’s very much Oprah’s New Age’s-style religion, where we’re all manifestations of God, and so the closest path to God is to look inside oneself. They call themselves Christians, because that word means so many things today that it can mean nothing, and it makes customers/viewers/voters comfortable. But they think Jesus was a nice guy who was particularly close to his internal divinity, but that he did nothing any of us couldn’t do if we just had enough faith in ourselves. I don’t think that qualifies as Christian.

  19. JonM says:

    In my opinion, Aaron is completely correct as he writes

    If you read the whole article or his memoir, you’ll see that by “my values” he certainly doesn’t mean anything as old-fashioned as “God’s commandments” or even “what my religion teaches.” He means his personal opinion, plain and simple. He sees no greater authority than his own conclusions.

    It’s very much Oprah’s New Age’s-style religion, where we’re all manifestations of God, and so the closest path to God is to look inside oneself. They call themselves Christians, because that word means so many things today that it can mean nothing, and it makes customers/viewers/voters comfortable. But they think Jesus was a nice guy who was particularly close to his internal divinity, but that he did nothing any of us couldn’t do if we just had enough faith in ourselves. I don’t think that qualifies as Christian.

    Yes. I strongly argue, the gravest threat we face now is covalent bond of secularism and ‘new age’ nonsense, the latter being merely a reworking of aspects of Brahmanism wrapped up in British imperial apologetics – that’s an entire topic in itself. Both secularism and ‘new age’ appoint the individual as the final judge in matters of good an evil.

    Those of us who suffered through college in the past few decades know that when questions of morality would arise, one could not answer ‘I would follow Church tradition that is guided by the Holy Spirit.’ No, the ‘correct’ answer is erecting an entire moral code solely on personal whim; in a sense, a diluted Kantian ethos.

    In converting, perhaps the biggest shift for me has been the concept of submission. In America, we often don’t like that word and particularly so if you are a Son of the Revolution. ‘Submission’ is contrary to patriotism if that submission is to a power that is other than the state (selectively practiced of course. Submitting to a bishop and the Pope was technically illegal for some time in parts of early America, but a self-styled pastor would be accorded de facto recognition.)

    It is actually intensely comforting: I don’t have to establish right and wrong in every situation, but instead I only have to follow God and His laws.

    Barak Obama is not a Muslim (though as one already pointed out, he does have a conspicuous preference toward aspects of that community) nor is he a pagan (a real pagan, not the neo-pagans playing dress up, serves some entity in some capacity). He is, as Aaron points out, a sterling example of self worship.

    The quotes of Mr. Obama clearly appointing himself as God, whether or not Mr. Obama is conscious of it or not, represent a disturbing situation. Who is to say that Mr. Obama might not, in prayer to himself, determine that it is morally fit to lay waste to a Serbia or begin a mass campaign of shutting down our churches (remember, he is trying to shutdown Belmont Abbey College, a real Catholic school).

  20. DisturbedMary says:

    JonM Your points are sharp and to the point especially regarding “submission.” Is that the same as obedience? I can relate to that. After years of exhausting and incorrect self-direction, is there any greater joy than doing what He says.

  21. Kerry says:

    “Today, we recall…” Shouldn’t this be written, “Today, We recall…”? Wanda wrote “BO hasn’t taken the time to find a Church to attend on Sundays”. He may have been attending a church but just doesn’t remember anything he heard in the pews. Heh.
    JonM, ‘Submission’ is contrary to patriotism. I disagree. One is love of country, patria, the other Love of God. We are fortunate that the patria we love is based upon ideas derived from “Truths we hold to be self evident…and endowed by their Creator…” and not tribal or racial identities. (Anyone can become an American by adhering to its principles. On the other hand, could any of us adhere to something and become Japanese, or Inuit, or even German or French.)

  22. Kerry says:

    Note also that counterfeit phrase beloved of the secular,nihilistic, materialistic, atheistic, progressive left, “come together”. All very mealy mouthed.

  23. Dr. Eric says:

    Kerry,

    One could become Japanese by adhering to the laws of Japan and speaking the language, German by its laws and language, French by its laws and language. Inuit is going to be a little harder.

  24. spesalvi23 says:

    Kerry,

    My Irish/Bostonian husband has been successfully assimilated into Bavaria. It’s not as hard as you might think it is.
    I, on the other hand would have found it a bit straining to become an American.

  25. Aaron says:

    ‘new age’ nonsense, the latter being merely a reworking of aspects of Brahmanism wrapped up in British imperial apologetics – that’s an entire topic in itself

    Thanks, JonM, I’ll have to look into that aspect of it. I seem to know more and more people who are into that these days. It seems to be popping up in lots of Christian settings, as with the prosperity gospel stuff.

  26. Peggy R says:

    Interestingly, BHO’s was based on GWB’s formula: (1) quote GW and AL; (2) thanks to God, though indirect by BHO, but all over the place for GWB; (3) thanks to military; (4) references to places of worship. BHO’s proclamation seems to have taken a big red pen to GWB’s fine work and reflects his vague religious belief as well as his views of American society. He elaborated extensively on service in society as if it were supreme. He mentioned “community centers,” I guess the creation of the community organization movement. The guy’s political expertise is limited to urban politics. He can’t govern the nation as a whole well with that limited knowledge, as we’ve seen.

    I read that Christianity Today interview as well. BHO is at best a self-directed “Christian.” He has struck me as more atheist, as that is more in keeping with his marxism. (Anti-white/European) Liberation theology seems to go hand in hand with marxism. Yes, he does have great sympathies for Islam.

    And Kerry, don’t forget the next line is “…right now…over ME.” How appropriate for BHO’s world view.

  27. ray from mn says:

    It’s been ten months since BO has been president and he has been so busy saving the world, the US, US Banking and Industry from disaster and creating new jobs for the unemployed that he hasn’t been able to find a church or mosque in which to attend services.

    Maybe those readers of Fr Z who are familiar with the WDC area might make some suggestions to ease his selection process.

  28. maynardus says:

    Does anyone else get the very strong impression that the president is not a “believer” in any real sense of the word? Nothing in his words or deeds suggests any sort of personal relationship with the Almighty, or even an attempt to seek one. When he must make reference to “God” or religion his demeanor is uneasy and his phrases wooden and lifeless. For all that I am a bit surprised that he hasn’t found somewhere to attend services, at least occasionally, for the sake of appearances. Remember how Bill Clinton would make sure he was photographed entering a church holding hands with his wife – with a bible in his other hand – at the height of his personal scandals? Somehow, as staged as his piety was, one never felt that the man actually didn’t believe in God.

  29. JonM says:

    Kerry, I should have been more clear and wrote that submission to God, particularly for Catholics, often runs contrary to widely held notions of patriotism. Traditionally in America, Catholics were looked upon suspiciously because we are obliged to follow the teachings of the Pope. This creates a dual loyalty some argue. More recently, secularism has been declared official state policy (even though the majority of states had official religions after the ratification of the Constitution).

    The right order for things is God, Family, Country. I think that this gets scrambled sometimes. And, with the past year of dramatic consolidation by government and multinational corporations, the overall push of things political is increasingly counter to our primary principles.

    Submission to lawful authority is central to our faith and does represent the basis for patriotism. Christ submitted to Pilate and the Jewish leaders; Paul to Augustus. Our system has the Constitution, theoretically, as the ultimate power. This year I have become increasingly partial to a monarchical form of government – with no illusions as to that actually happening in the remote future.

    Maynardus, Obama is a believer but apparently that belief begins and ends with Barak H. Obama.