Congressman Jeff Duncan on Being Thankful to God Floor Speech 11/30/11

November 30, 2011

Mr. Speaker,

This past weekend I joined millions of Americans in celebrating Thanksgiving with friends and family.  As Americans, each of us has so much to be thankful for this holiday season. America is the greatest, most free country in the history of the world.  As a nation, we can do anything we set out to accomplish. We built the world’s most free and successful Republic, right here in America. We’ve used innovation to cure disease, fight hunger, and spread the message of freedom across the globe. We’ve changed the way societies interact by inventing things like the telephone, the automobile, and the airplane. We’ve built some of the finest schools and universities in the history of the planet. We’ve changed our world for the better, but none of it would have been possible without the grace and blessings of our Almighty God.

That’s why I was both surprised and disappointed that President Obama failed to make a single reference to God during his Thanksgiving address to the nation.  Since the President has a history of doing this sort of thing, it’s hard to believe that this was simply oversight on his part. Perhaps this glaring omission was the President’s attempt at being politically correct. But regardless of the intention, there’s no excuse for once again leaving out the one whom the foundation of our liberties rest.

What did our Founding Fathers say in the Declaration of Independence? Not that our rights come from governments, but rather that our rights come directly from God. As the Apostle Paul said “In Everything give Thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” We should never pass up an opportunity to thank the Lord for the blessings He has bestowed on our nation.

I know the specter of political correctness looms over our country more than ever before.  There’s a lot of pressure from elements of our society to censor public comments about faith in Jesus Christ. Groups like the ACLU seek to drive God out of our schools and classrooms. Universities are discouraged from praying before graduation and athletic events. And some shopping malls and radio stations would rather play Christmas music only about Santa Claus, and never mention Jesus Christ. Seeking guidance from the Lord through prayer, and thanking Him for the blessings He has given our nation is something our country should do more of, not less. Praying and giving thanks to God for all blessing was the example set for us by the first settlers who came to America.  Times were tough for them. They endured bitterly cold winters, food shortages, and plagues.  The early settlers faced insurmountable odds, but they kept the faith, persevered, and later thrived.

General George Washington, who went on to become our first President, was known for frequently stopping whatever he was doing, to get down on one knee to seek guidance from the Lord and to Praise him for the blessings given to his troops.

Here in this building, there’s a chapel where members of Congress can go to pray for our country, and in that chapel there’s a beautiful stained glass window depicting our first President, frozen in prayer.  That chapel should be a reminder for all of us that our country’s faith should be nothing to hide, but rather something to embrace, and protect.  And that image of George Washington in prayer, should be a reminder that our leaders need to seek the wisdom of the Lord whenever possible.

For the past several weeks, former Heisman Trophy winner, and current starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos, Tim Tebow has come under fire for publicly professing his faith.  Facing mounting criticism from the media, from sports commentators, and even some of his own team mates, Tim Tebow gave the following response to reporters, a response that I believe perfectly explains how our country should recognize God:  Tebow said "If you're married, and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only say to your wife 'I love her' the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and every opportunity? My relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing in my life. So any time I get an opportunity to tell Him that I love Him or given an opportunity to shout Him out on national TV, I'm going to take that opportunity. And so I look at it as a relationship that I have with Him that I want to give Him the honor and glory anytime I have the opportunity."

Tim Tebow’s brave comments are an excellent reminder that we need to look for every opportunity to thank the Lord for our blessings of liberty that he has bestowed upon our nation.

May God forgive this nation of its sins, may He overlook the times we forget to thank Him for His gifts, may our people turn to Him for guidance and salvation, and may He continue to bless the United States of America.