Brewers and Patriots… and Jesus

There are those who will tell you that the Founding Fathers were not really Christians and that they never meant for the United States to be a “Christian nation.” It would seem, however, that at least one was fairly Christian and seemed to think the rest of the nation was or ought to be.

In 1777, after the Continental Congress had moved from Philadelphia to York, Pennsylvania because of the invading British army, things looked fairly bleak to some of the leaders of the revolution. However, by the end of the year, the rebel cause met with some success and this prompted Samuel Adams to propose what was to be the first national day “for SOLEMN THANKSGIVING and PRAISE.” He, in committee with Richard Henry Lee (who had introduced the resolution that led to the Declaration of Independence) and Daniel Roberdeau, introduced a legislation setting aside a day so “That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor.” Sounds pretty Christian, right? But that’s not all. The holiday was also established so that “they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins” and pray that they be forgiven “through the Merits of JESUS CHRIST.” That guy?! What’s he doing in there?!

Anyway, Sam Adams and his ilk sat at home and prayed all day. Presumably, some other people did not. At any rate, Providence (or superior tactics and greater dedication due to ideological and personal motivation) granted victory to the colonists. And with the invention York Peppermint Pattie over 150 years away, the young government moved to new accommodations. They bounced around a bit and “experimented” with Confederation, but finally settled down in a swamp. The government founded there, or rather, the remnants of it, are still in that swamp. And they’ve kept holiday but abandoned the meaning.

Needless to say, the blatant Christianity would find no place in Washington today. But Jesus is not the only part of this Proclamation that has gone by the wayside. Modern politics has been reduced to platitudes and pandering, leaving no room for the ideals laid down by the founding fathers. No pundits ask candidates about their plans for “cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety.” No serious nominee has room in his platform for “the greatest of all human Blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE.”

Don’t worry, there are still some “Christians” in Washington. Unfortunately they want to tell everybody else how to live. And they’ve also hung on to another part of this Proclamation: asking God “to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War[s].” So much for “INDEPENDENCE and PEACE.” Thanks, guys.

Beer of the Week: Samuel Adams Boston Lager – When an upstart Massachusetts brewery wanted a name that evoked thoughts of tradition and reliability, Sam Adams was the right choice. The man basically founded the traditional American holiday. He had also been a brewer himself, so the choice was a no-brainer. As for the beer itself, there is a reason it has grown so successful so quickly. The beer pours a light amber with a good, off-white head. There is a nice touch of earthy, bittering hops on the nose. The taste is driven by the hops and there is a bit of lingering sweetness. All in all, a very nice, classic lager.

Reading of the week: Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1777 by Samuel Adams in committee with Richard Henry Lee and Daniel Roberdeau – The first of many Thanksgiving Proclamations written by Samuel Adams ends by recommending that everybody take a day off of work. But it also advises against any recreation which might be unbecoming “on so solemn an Occasion.” So no touch football after dinner.

Question of the week: Many Christians acknowledge four purposes for prayer: adoration, thanksgiving, contrition and supplication. The Proclamation specifically mentions each of these four, (even naming adoration as “the indispensable Duty of all Men”,) so why should the holiday be called “Thanksgiving” instead of “Adoration” or either of the other options? Or,even better, why should there not be four separate holidays? “Supplication Sunday” has a nice ring to it.

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