The Christian Nation crowd loves to laud the Reverend Jacob Duché because he gave the first prayer for the Continental Congress, on September 7, 1774. However, they rarely discuss that Duché turned out to be a traitor to America during the Revolutionary War. He was, as this article I discussed put it, the Benedict Arnold of civil religion.
Less well-known are the resolutions adopted by the Continental Congress throughout the Revolutionary War, setting aside particular days for “Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer.” One such resolution, issued in 1777 and distributed throughout the churches of the land, called on all Americans to “join the penitent confession of their manifold sins … and their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance.” Several themes emerge here: awareness of sin, dependence on God’s providence, the urge to stay faithful, the belief that God had a special relationship with America, and even the explicit invocation of Christ. And the first Congress seems to have practiced what it preached. After convening in 1774, the Continental Congress immediately selected a chaplain to open its sessions in prayer. The Rev. Jacob Duche’, an Anglican priest from Philadelphia, served as the first Congressional chaplain from 1774 until 1777. His term “ended” not because he retired but because he defected to the British—the Benedict Arnold of civil religion, perhaps.
Here is Duché's letter to George Washington imploring him to lay down his arms and surrender to the British.