President Obama, who recently recorded Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address without the usual reference to “under God,” worked the “Almighty” into his Thanksgiving Day proclamation by quoting Lincoln referencing God.
Obama also used the opportunity to bring out his favorite hobby horse, homosexuality, offering in the first lines a reference to being Americans “no matter who we are or who we love.”
The Thanksgiving Day proclamation from Obama, released Tuesday, said Americans should count their blessings – “the freedoms we enjoy, the time we spend with loved ones, the brave men and women who defend our nation at home and abroad.”
It ignores the foundations of the day as a day of thanks to God for his hand of blessing over the newcomers to North America.
Instead, Obama explains, “Our annual celebration has roots in centuries-old colonial customs. When we gather around the table, we follow the example of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags, who shared the fruits of a successful harvest nearly 400 years ago.
“When we offer our thanks, we mirror those who set aside a day of prayer. And when we join with friends and neighbors to alleviate suffering and make our communities whole, we honor the spirit of President Abraham Lincoln, who called on his fellow citizens to ‘fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.”
He also talks about giving back, thanking first responders and medical professionals.
“Let us forge deeper connections with our loved ones,” he exhorts. “Let us extend our gratitude and our compassion. And let us lift each other up and recognize, in the oldest spirit of this tradition, that we rise or fall as one nation, under God.”
It was those words, “under God,” that Obama recently dropped for the Gettysburg Address.
It came in a recording for a Ken Burns documentary, according to Washington talk show host Chris Plante.
Plante, on his WMAL program, reported, “Curiously enough, in his version of the speech, President Barack Obama’s delivery contained an omission – in a line that every other celebrity delivered as ‘that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom,’ the president left out the words ‘under God.’”
An update later appeared on the Burns website noting that there were different versions of the Gettysburg Address, and Obama was asked to recite the Nicolay Version.
The current date for Thanksgiving was established in 1941 by President Franklin Roosevelt, but it was Lincoln who declared in 1863 a national Thanksgiving holiday. While it had been celebrated before at the nation’s founding, and sporadically thereafter, it was not formalized until that point.
History.com explains that first event followed a brutal winter where many colonists who had arrived from England suffered exposure, scurvy and disease, and died.
During the summer, the settlers learned from the Wampanoags how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees and catch fish.
Gov. William Bradford, on the successful harvesting of corn that fall, “organized a celebratory feast … now remembered as American’s ‘first Thanksgiving.’”
According to a description at the website for the original “Plimouth Plantation,” for the native Americans who joined the Pilgrims “giving thanks for the Creator’s gifts had always been a part of Wampanoag daily life.”
And for the Christians who were the settlers, “this was not merely a revel; it was also a joyous outpouring of gratitude” to God and for his bounty, the report said.
A report on the original festivities said, “And God be praised we had a good increase .. our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. … By the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”
At the same time as his declaration of Thanksgiving Day, Obama proclaimed, “Minority Enterprise Development Week, 2013,” which praises and recognizes minority-owned businesses.
“Obama plot to steal Thanksgiving” by Joseph Farah
“Thanksgiving’s history” by Jerry Newcombe
“Thankful for property” by John Stossel