Thanksgiving and Religious Liberty

In the late 1500's the French began making attempts to colonize and settle the northern coast of Florida.(1) It is around this time that a great Huguenot leader named Admiral Coligny would aspire to establish a colony for which his persecuted brethren could seek refuge. The Admiral would send Jean Ribaut who in 1562 discovered St. John's River in Florida. Ribaut also named the country of Carolina after Charles IX, a boy-king. The colonist that Ribaut brought would soon give up and return to England or France. A couple years late Rene de Laudonniere established the St. Johns River Settlement in Florida (June 30, 1564). Laudonniere led a group of French Huguenots to colonize and build Fort Caroline near present-day Jacksonville, Florida. It is recorded that Rene de Laudonniere wrote:
    We sang a psalm of Thanksgiving unto God, beseeching Him that it would please Him to continue His accustomed goodness towards us.
In  August of 1565 Phillip II of Spain, who likely views the French as a threat to their trade route, would send Pedro Melendez de Aviles who announced his purpose to "gibbet and behead all the Protestants in these regions." Melendez would establish St. Augustine which is now one of the oldest towns in the USA. Melendez with bloodthirsty precision would also wipe out the French settlement and Huguenots. Both the French and the Spanish unnecessarily lost many human lives. In 1567 Dominic de Gourgues, a Gascon soldier, would come to avenge the Huguenots. He would capture all the Spanish settlements left by Melendez except St. Augustine.(2) 

The first amendment to the Bill of Rights clearly states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.(3)
Those who once came to this land long ago did not do so in order to erode religious expression. They did not come to the shores of this county in order to seek further deviation from the Creator. Many did so, as did the French Huguenots, in order to worship and thank God freely and without fear of persecution. America was a refuge for those who sought freedom of religious expression.

The generation of Americans today and tomorrow must always hold such things to be true. America is a place where spiritual men came to have spiritual expression. Today and every Thanksgiving Day is a special celebration of such realities that came full circle on American soil. The reality that all mankind, who individually possess' inalienable rights, can flourish and participate in religious expression must always remain. Good men and women must pray and be diligent in order that such freedom can be maintained. Today let us give thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has given and created all things. 

Ephesians 5:20, "And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." NLT
James 1:17, "Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow." NLT

One way the Holy Spirit is evidenced (see Gal. 5:20-22) in our lives is a reversal of any pattern of ingratitude. God wants to make us people who exhibit thankfulness in proportion to the gifts and blessings we’ve received. Let all the earth behold the the creation and its Creator. And give thanks.


1) Many facts and details here taken from: Thwaites, R. G. (2005; 2005). Epochs of American History: The Colonies (34). Pleasant Places Press.

2)  Cincotta, Howard. An Outline of American history. 1998. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc. (original edition by Frances Whitney. Revised and updated by R. Hofstadter, W. Gray, D. Steven, K.W. Olsen, N. Glick and A. Winkler)

3) The Constitution of the United States of America. 1998 (elecronic ed.). Oak Harbor WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

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Adversus Trinitas

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