And a Happy Presidents Day to all.
The following is offered as a potential pre-emptive strike, directed at any who might be disposed to load the forum on this holiday with bogus information concerning the religious inclinations of our first president.
The first president was a churchgoer, though not as constant a one as some have claimed.
Scroll down to Chapter 1 in this link for a detailed and well-annotated discussion of Washington's sketchy pattern of church attendance as derived from information in his own diaries. Excerpt:
<<<We will divide the Diary into four periods, using only such years as are complete. First, before the Revolution; second, after the Revolution; third, while he was President, and fourth, after his second term as ended. During the Revolution he discontinued the Diary. We find in 1768 that he went to church 15 times, in 1769, 10 times, in 1770, nine times, in 1771, six times, and the same number in 1772. In 1773, he went five times, while in 1774 he went 18 times, his banner year outside of the Presidency. During this year he was two months at the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia, where he was in church six times, three times to the Episcopal, once to Romish high mass, once to a Quaker meeting and once to a Presbyterian. In 1784, after the Revolution, he was in the West a long time looking after his land interests, so we will omit this year. In 1785 he attended church just once, but spent many of his Sundays in wholly "secular" pursuits. In 1786 he went once.>>>
Here's the "rebel" part:
Interestingly, Washington apparently declined, consistently, to take communion. One of the pastors of a church Washington attended wrote this:
<cite> 'With respect to the inquiry you make I can only state the following facts; that, as pastor of the Episcopal church, observing that, on sacramental Sundays, Gen. Washington, immediately after the desk and pulpit services, went out with the greater part of the congregation -- always leaving Mrs. Washington with the other communicants -- she invariably being one -- I considered it my duty in a sermon on Public Worship, to state the unhappy tendency of example, particularly of those in elevated stations who uniformly turned their backs upon the celebration of the Lord's Supper. I acknowledge the remark was intended for the President; and as such he received it. A few days after, in conversation with, I believe, a senator of the United States, he told me he had dined the day before with the President, who in the course of conversation at table said that on the preceding Sunday he had received a very just reproof from the pulpit for always leaving the church before the administration of the Sacrament; that he honored the preacher for his integrity and candor; that he had never sufficiently considered the influence of his example, and that he would not again give cause for the repetition of the reproof; and that, as he had never been a communicant, were he to become one then it would be imputed to an ostentatious display of religious zeal? arising altogether from his elevated station. Accordingly, he never afterwards came on the morning of sacramental Sunday, though at other times he was a constant attendant in the morning'" (Annals of the American Pulpit, Vol. v, p. 394).</cite>
And, yes, this information comes from a source, infidels.org, that has its own particular anti-religious agenda, but I find that the research on this web site is consistently more scholarly and accurate than the material posted by the pseudo-historian and Christian Nationist, David Walton, whose latest book, following publication, was recalled by the publisher owing to its inaccuracies and who has been shown to have published numerous alleged quotations from the founders and framers that are either altogether bogus or significantly in doubt.