Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving Then and Now

This week, millions of Americans celebrated Thanksgiving, a Christian holiday (holy day) patterned after the first Pilgrim festival in 1621 in Plymouth. Within the next ten years, the annual celebration had spread throughout most of the New England colonies. After America’s independence from England, presidents regularly declared national thanksgiving days until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln began the annual practice of issuing a national Thanksgiving Day proclamation for the fourth day of November. Subsequent presidents continued the tradition, annually specifying various Thursdays in November. Finally, Congress permanently established the fourth Thursday each November at Thanksgiving in 1941.

For non-believers, it is relatively easy to celebrate Christmas and Easter without knowing the true meaning for each. Most see Christmas as all about Santa Claus and commemorate Easter by searching for eggs hidden by the Easter bunny. Scores of people don’t realize the Biblical Roots of Thanksgiving, but a false alternate tradition has yet to be established. It remains to be seen however, just how long this will remain the case.

During the past several decades, the godless public school systems, federalized under Jimmy Carter in the early 1970s, began systematically scrubbing the strong Christian beliefs of our country’s founding fathers (and anything else relating to the Christian faith) from the history books. Children are now taught that the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians instead of God (even though their first abundant harvest wasn’t until the third Thanksgiving). According to a November 23, 1986 story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, children were being taught that “the Pilgrims were narrow-minded bigots who survived initially only with the Indians’ help, but turned on them when their help wasn't needed anymore”.

It thus comes as no surprise that, during various man-on-the-street type interviews, we hear answers to questions about Thanksgiving such as the Pilgrims landed in Hawaii, the attendees at the first thanksgiving were “a bunch of presidents”, the first Thanksgiving was held in 1940, and many other tidbits of historical wisdom from products of our modern education system.

Just prior to this era, Democratic President John F Kennedy stated in his first Thanksgiving proclamation issued on October 28, 1961:

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.

More than three centuries ago, the Pilgrims, after a year of hardship and peril, humbly and reverently set aside a special day upon which to give thanks to God for their preservation and for the good harvest from the virgin soil upon which they had labored. Grave and unknown dangers remained. Yet by their faith and by their toil they had survived the rigors of the harsh New England winter. Hence they paused in their labors to give thanks for the blessings that had been bestowed upon them by Divine Providence…

I ask the head of each family to recount to his children the story of the first New England Thanksgiving, thus to impress upon future generations the heritage of this nation born in toil, in danger, in purpose, and in the conviction that right and justice and freedom can through man's efforts persevere and come to fruition with the blessing of God. (Kennedy Public Papers)

We’ve come a long way from Kennedy to Obama, who likes to invoke the socialist slogan “Forward”! Perhaps we’d be much better by returning to God and the traditions of our Christian Founders.