Commenting on the “liberty to worship our Creator” Thomas Jefferson wrote to Captain John Thomas of the Newhope Baptist Church, NOVEMBER 18, 1807:
“Among the most inestimable of our blessings is that … of liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable in His will; a liberty deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support.”
This sentiment was echoed by the most popular preacher in America during the Civil War era, Henry Ward Beecher, whose sister, Harriett Beecher Stowe, wrote the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 1852.
Henry Ward Beecher, pastor of Brooklyn’s Plymouth Church, stated NOVEMBER 18, 1869:
“In the unity of the nation … we hope much from religion; very little from sectarian churches;
much from the Spirit of God blessing the Truth of his Word to the hearts of individual men;
much from the individual men that are nobler than their sect;
much from free men whose adhesion to forms and ceremonies is the least part of their existence;
much from religion as it exists in its higher forms in individual nature and in public sentiment;
very little from dogmas; very little from theology as such …”
Henry Ward Beecher concluded:
“Let us implore the God of our fathers, by his own wise providence, to save us from our wanton passions, from impertinent egotism, from pride, arrogance, cruelty, and sensual lusts, that as a nation we may show forth his praise in all the earth.”
A similar sentiment was shared by President Chester Arthur, who died NOVEMBER 18, 1886.
The son of a Baptist minister from Ireland, Chester Arthur was an abolitionist lawyer who defended the rights of African Americans, then served as the Union’s Inspector General during the Civil War.
As the 21st President, Chester Arthur stated October 25, 1882:
“The blessings demanding our gratitude are numerous and varied … for … moral education of our youth; for the influence upon the conscience of a restraining and transforming religion … for these and for many other blessings we should give thanks …
I do recommend … that the people, ceasing from their daily labors … draw near to the throne of Almighty God, offering to Him praise and gratitude for the manifold goodness which He has vouchsafed to us.”
On NOVEMBER 18, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated in Savannah, Georgia:
“We are celebrating the planting of the Colony of Georgia … which had its roots in religious teachings and religious liberty, a State in which the first Sunday School was established …
Let me … read to you a very short passage from … a great son of a great Georgia mother, Theodore Roosevelt. He said:
‘Spiritually and ethically we must strive to bring about clean living and right thinking. We appreciate that the things of the body are important; but we appreciate also that the things of the soul are immeasurably more important.'”
On NOVEMBER 18, 1992, The New York Times printed Mississippi Governor Kirk Fordice’s statement:
“The less we emphasize the Christian religion the further we fall into the abyss of poor character and chaos in the United States of America.”
Julius Caesar Watts, Jr., was born NOVEMBER 18, 1957:
A college and pro football player, J.C. Watts was a youth minister before being elected in 1994 as a U.S. Congressman.
As the House Conference Chairman, J.C. Watts responded to the President’s 1997 State of the Union Address:
“I was taught to respect everyone for the simple reason that we’re all God’s children.
I was taught, in the words of Martin Luther King, to judge a man not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.
And I was taught that character is simply doing what’s right when nobody’s looking.”