A Heritage of Liberty & Thanksgiving

Julaine Appling

2021 | Week of November 22 | Radio Transcript #1439

Have you ever considered that as Americans we have an eloquent heritage of thanksgiving? If not, then consider these eloquent quotations from some of our notable leaders and founding documents over the centuries.

  • “…The Lord sent them such seasonable showers…as, through His blessing, caused a fruitful and liberal harvest…”[1]
  • “With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence…”[2]
  • “…It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits…”[3]
  • “It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.”[4]
  • “May we on that day in our churches and in our homes give humble thanks for the blessings bestowed upon us during the year past by Almighty God.”[5]

These statements from Governor Bradford, The Declaration of Independence, President George Washington, President Abraham Lincoln, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, constitute defining moments in our nation’s history, and many more like them contain direct references to the God of the Bible and public proclamations of thanksgiving for His providence and protection.

It is singularly ironic that in a post-modern country such as the United States, we celebrate a national holiday of Thanksgiving, the recognition of which inherently admits that, in truth, our present prospect of peace, prosperity, and liberty is not dependent on either ourselves or our government but is instead the benevolent gift of a Higher Being, God, to Whom thanks may and should be given

Aren’t you grateful that our liberty comes from God? Remember the phrase in The Declaration of Independence, “…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Liberty is not man’s concept; it comes from God, the author of liberty. One of my favorite Bible verses is inscribed on one of our national symbols, the Liberty Bell: Leviticus 25:10 a from the King James Version, “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

Liberty is a Biblical concept. Our nation is founded on the Biblical concept of liberty and personal responsibility before God and man.

We often take for granted some facets of liberty here in the US—ideas such as the rule of law, personal freedom and autonomy, the sacred dignity of humanity and of human life—these are not philosophical positions that man created. God authored these concepts and placed them in the hearts of men. They constitute what is known as natural law, laws the precede and are independent of any government or government document.

Thankfully, our Founding Fathers and many of our leaders down through the years were well versed in the Biblical concept of liberty; thus the ample evidence of public gratitude in historical Thanksgiving and prayer proclamations.

As Americans, we have a proud heritage not only of liberty but also of Thanksgiving. May we never forget that heritage; never forget the struggle our predecessors endured to bestow that heritage on us and our children.

We can look back at our history and see the complementary golden threads of liberty and thanksgiving winding their way through the tapestry of our country’s history. Whatever we do, Americans cannot afford to forget our liberty or neglect the opportunity to give God thanks for the peace and freedom He bestows on our country.

The question we must ask is, are we leaving a heritage of liberty and thanksgiving for our children and our children’s children? Are we teaching it in our schools and churches? Are we enshrining that heritage of liberty and thanksgiving in our public policies and proclamations? What are we individually doing to pass that heritage on to the next generation?

To pass on a heritage requires purposeful commitment. If we haven’t been going this intentionally, this Thanksgiving is a perfect time to begin. Read Scripture together and tell the story of our first Thanksgiving as you gather at your bountiful meal. Give thanks to God for His great goodness. And with that we extend to you and your family our best wishes for a blessed Thanksgiving! May you always celebrate it in liberty and with gratitude!

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

[1]Governor Bradford: http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=17984.

[2]Declaration of Independence.

[3]George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation: http://billpetro.com/2009/11/26/george-washingtons-thanksgiving-proclamation-1789/.

[4]Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation: http://billpetro.com/2009/11/26/abraham-lincolns-thanksgiving-proclamation-1863/.

[5]Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933, Thanksgiving Proclamation: https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/proclamation-2062-thanksgiving-day


Julaine Appling has taught on the junior high, high school, and college levels, and for five years was the administrator of a private school. In 1998 she was asked to become the Executive Director of Wisconsin Family Council, where her mission is to advance Judeo-Christian principles and values in Wisconsin by strengthening, preserving, and promoting marriage, family, life and liberty. In addition to regularly being interviewed for Wisconsin television, radio, and newspapers, she is the host of "Wisconsin Family Connection," aired weekly on almost 50 radio stations in Wisconsin including the VCY America radio network.

Learn more at WIFamilyCouncil.org

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