Thanksgiving is approaching. As you know, this is the one time of year we are encouraged and legally permitted to give thanks for the blessings we enjoy in this country. What is no longer permitted, oddly, is to specify exactly to whom those thanks should be directed. It’s all become very vague. Who (or what) are we thanking?
Those folks who actually have to ask this question (the rest of us are sure) give mixed answers. Some say we should give thanks to “the universe.” Some say we should give thanks to our inner selves. Then there’s always the cosmic consciousness or the solar logos. And let’s not forget Gaia.
Me, I think we should thank the turkey. Sure, the turkey. At least he gave his life so that we may eat, right?
Public schools have become clever at leading the way into this new and nebulous form of celebration. The original story of the Pilgrims commemorating a bountiful harvest is being made over to purge it of any offensive references to the Deity. “We teach about Thanksgiving from a purely historical perspective, not from a religious perspective,” said Charles Ridgell, St. Mary’s County (Maryland) Public Schools curriculum and instruction director.
After all, it’s well-known that the Pilgrims came to the New World on a lark. Just for fun. What the heck, honey, I’m bored – let’s leave our secure homes and all our beloved friends and relatives, and go starve and die of cold or disease in an unknown land. Why not?
“We don’t focus on religion, because it is not a part of our curriculum,” said Sandra Grulich, Cecil County (Maryland) Schools’ elementary school curriculum coordinator. Of course it isn’t. To hear educrats talk, it’s pretty obvious that religion had no influence whatever on any human being at any time in world history. Ever.
Thanks to the humanistic revisionism of the first Thanksgiving, school textbooks discuss at great length the diversity of attendees (Europeans and Native Americans), the harvest, the food, the weather and the sports. They discuss everything, in fact, except why these deeply religious people proclaimed a general thanksgiving to begin with.
But schools aren’t alone. The verbal gymnastics necessary to exclude all mention of God in popular culture can get pretty wacky. In an effort to purge references to a Supreme Being who might be at least partially responsible for our blessings, the holiday has now descended to jokes about turkeys running from hatchets or the weight we’ll gain.
Personally I think it would be a kind of an empty feeling to be in the company of beloved friends and relatives partaking of a feast worthy of kings, yet have no sense of reverence. Probably at some level, even the most godless can admit that.
Let’s face it – without God, Thanksgiving will die a slow but relentless death. Just like our country seems to be doing without a divine acknowledgment. A hundred years from now, Thanksgiving may be a day just like any other day. And the United States will be a quasi-sovereign nation just like any other nation in the U.N.
To the best of my knowledge – correct me if I’m wrong – the United States and Canada are the only countries that have an official nationally celebrated day of Thanksgiving, a day set aside specifically to thank God for what we have. No other countries have seen fit to thank the Deity for its blessings on a national scale. I think that’s kind of sad.
But now we’re doing our best to purge the holiday of its original meaning and substitute in its place the bland Pabulum of mere feasting. In fact, as an interesting twist, those who still attribute reverence with Thanksgiving are actually criticized for doing so. Yes, if you have the gall to thank God for your blessings on this national holiday, you’re being divisive and insulting to those whose beliefs don’t include Him. Good one, eh?
It’s become a sort of national preoccupation to cleanse God from our culture lest we offend. Mentioning God in conjunction with anything positive must mean you’re some sort of fanatical right-wing whacko who attributes divine intervention to everything from your choice of toilet paper to the light turning green when you approach the intersection.
Thanking God at Thanksgiving has become – yes, I’ll say it – unpatriotic.
Therefore, it would probably be embarrassing to go back and read Lincoln’s proclamation when Thanksgiving was declared an official national holiday. Fortunately for those who embarrass easily, our schools never permit this. Nonetheless, at the risk of offending graduates of our public educational system, let me quote the stirring words of Lincoln in 1863: “No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
But we can’t do that nowadays. No sirree-bob, keep God out of it.
So for the head of the house when he (or she) stands up at the table before everyone partakes of the feast this Thursday, I humbly offer the following prayer:
“We thank you, O Turkey, for our blessings. May your flesh feed our inner universe and nurture the cosmic consciousness within us. May we grow in non-specific spiritual understanding even as we grow in girth. As our life energy waits for the harmonic convergence, may we endeavor to tread lightly on Gaia in the future by not eating you anymore.”