Increasingly we are seeing attempts to erase or rewrite America’s history. For decades efforts have been underway to erase our nation’s Christian roots by ignoring the overwhelming evidence that our Founding Fathers were Christian. Stories attacking Thomas Jefferson, accusing him of fathering children with Sally Hemings (although there is no evidence Thomas Jefferson was the father of any of her children), and attacking George Washington and others for being slave owners abound. These, of course, ignore the heated debate over slavery during the Constitutional Convention, the compromise that had to be reached in order to form the United States and the release of all Washington’s slaves upon his death.
This month we celebrated the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln on the 12th and George Washington on the 22nd. The federal holiday honoring George Washington was originally implemented by an Act of Congress in 1879 for government offices in Washington and expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices. It was always celebrated on his birthday — February 22nd. On January 1, 1971 when the Uniform Monday Holiday Act went into effect, the celebration rarely fell on Washington’s actual birthday. An early draft of this law would have renamed the holiday “Presidents’ Day” to honor the birthdays of both Washington and Lincoln, but that failed in committee. Advertisers in the mid-1980’s began the push to use the term “Presidents’ Day” and it first appeared in print during this time.
Is it necessary that any one should certify, “General Washington avowed himself to me a believer in Christianity?” As well may we question his patriotism, his heroic, disinterested devotion to his country. His mottos were, “Deeds, not Words”; and, “For God and my Country.”