Today is George Washington’s birthday. He was actually born on February 11, 1731 according to the Julian calendar. But later the colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar making his birthday February 22. But now the federal government declared the third Monday in February as his birthday.
In his eulogy for George Washington, Henry Lee said he was, “First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” We could also say that Washington demonstrated Christian character both in war and in peace.
One of his orders while serving as the general in the Revolutionary War was to establish chaplains. He wrote that: “All chaplains are to perform divine service tomorrow, and on every succeeding Sunday . . . The commander in chief expects an exact compliance with this order . . . and every neglect will be consider not only a breach of orders, but a disregard to decency, virtue and religion.”
Washington grew even more explicit as the war dragged on: “While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of a Christian.”
In his inaugural address, Washington said: “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”
He issued a thanksgiving proclamation in 1789 in which he asserted “the duty of all nations” in regard to God. And in his farewell address, he reminded Americans that: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports.”
Washington demonstrated Christian character in war and in peace.