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Is Thanksgiving a Religious Holiday?

Fef 2011/11/21 18:03:02
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President George Washington made a Thanksgiving Proclamation in New York, 3 October 1789:
"Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor--and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me `to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.'"

President Abraham Lincoln established the American celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday with a religious proclamation on October 3, 1863:
"To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.... 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."
President Lincoln signed the Thanksgiving proclamation as such:
"Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth."

The event that Americans commonly call the "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated to give thanks to God for guiding them safely to the New World. [Wikipedia]

The Christian group known as the Separatists (later called Pilgrims) generally shunned holidays, but periodically proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise in response to evidence of God's favor or a Day of Humiliation and Fasting in response to God's perceived displeasure. These feast and fast days were usually held on the day of special sermons called "Lecture Day," which was Thursday in Massachusetts. [Religion Facts]
President Barack Obama doesn't invoke God's name in any variation (Lord, Father, etc...) and doesn't assign any spiritual / religious meaning to Thanksgiving in Obama's 2009 Thanksgiving Proclamation. Obama only asks us to "recall" what other presidents before him proclaimed.

Further, President Obama applies a politically correct meaning to the holiday by totally stripping the "Thanks" from Thanksgiving: "What began as a harvest celebration between European settlers and indigenous communities nearly four centuries ago has become our cherished tradition of Thanksgiving." President Obama says we owe thanks to others for enriching our lives and encourages us to share our bounties: "express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own; and to share our bounty with others."

I agree with the sharing part -- private individuals have a responsibility to show charity and share (all year, not just the holidays). But President Obama erodes the values of America by saying we owe our thanks only to others.

Thanksgiving, more than any other American holiday (including Christmas) reminds people of all faiths to appreciate the higher spiritual authority that our Founding Fathers recognized as the source of our liberties. Without preaching a single religion, without forcing religion on others, without violating the First Amendment (freedom of religion/speech) the president should encourage people to give thanks to our Creator.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
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Top Opinion

  • Greywolf 2011/11/21 18:18:14
    Thanksgiving is Not a Religious Holiday
    Greywolf
    +8
    I would like to think most U.S. citizens think Thanksgiving is a reminder of our beginnings in the new world. The pilgrims, Plymouth rock, American Indians, a time when we sat together with hope towards a future

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  • www.centristproject.org 2013/11/30 05:32:37
    Thanksgiving is Not a Religious Holiday
    www.centristproject.org
    it can if you want to be I give thanks to God daily for example..
    Thank him for waking me up in the morning, Thank him for roof,cloths,a little money shoes on my feet you know if I didn't have this stuff I would thank him for my health. Thanksgiving for me is to be with family and spiritual family my angelic brothers I can't see them but I know they are in the room with me all the time.
  • T Bevan 2011/12/09 15:10:06 (edited)
    Thanksgiving is a Religious Holiday
    T Bevan
    Last time I looked it was...

    The Pilgrims got together with the Indians and gave thanks to GOD...

    turkey day
  • Claybern 2011/11/24 03:02:13 (edited)
    Thanksgiving is a Religious Holiday
    Claybern
    +2
    It's the time to give thanks to the Lord for everything he has blessed us with.
  • Michael 2011/11/23 19:20:13
    Thanksgiving is a Religious Holiday
    Michael
    At least in some sense it is. By the way the first recorded "Thanksgiving" celebration in the United States occured in what was then Spanish territory (I think California or Arizona) and was a feast of Thanksgiving that very prominently featured the Celebration of the Mass. Also the word Eucharist comes from a Greek word meaning "Thanksgiving".
  • Soup Man Michael 2011/11/24 17:14:02
    Soup Man
    ??
  • Michael Soup Man 2011/11/25 17:49:42
    Michael
    What do you mean by ?? be more specific.
  • Bocephus 2011/11/23 17:29:25
  • Michael Bocephus 2011/11/23 19:22:07
    Michael
    +1
    Of course the pilgrims came to Massachusetts for religious reasons.
  • zbacku 2011/11/23 03:37:18
    Thanksgiving is a Religious Holiday
    zbacku
    +1
    Once again, it looks like the political correct answer is getting the most votes. The facts are clear, the First Thanksgiving was a celebration of thanks to the Lord for a good harvest. There were many 'Prayers' to the Almighty.
  • Soup Man zbacku 2011/11/24 17:15:14
    Soup Man
    Ditto
  • Myself94 2011/11/22 20:44:19
  • Bear 2011/11/22 19:15:50
    Thanksgiving is Not a Religious Holiday
    Bear
    +2
    it is a holiday to give thanks....and by the way where does Obama say we owe our thanks only to others?
  • MBSVirginia BN-2 2011/11/22 18:59:28
    Thanksgiving is Not a Religious Holiday
    MBSVirginia BN-2
    +1
    Why does it have to be a religious holiday? For many, G-d does not exist but they are still thankful for what they have and how they got here. Thank you, sea, for the bounty you give. Thank you, Earth, for the vegetables and herbs. Thank you, whoever or whatever, for everything!!
  • MBSVirg... MBSVirg... 2011/11/22 19:00:06
    MBSVirginia BN-2
    +1
    BTW, I do thank G-d for EVERYTHING!
  • Michael MBSVirg... 2011/11/23 19:21:25
    Michael
    +1
    Just out of curiosity what religion are you?
  • MBSVirg... Michael 2011/11/25 18:45:09
    MBSVirginia BN-2
    Jewish
  • Michael MBSVirg... 2011/12/08 02:00:20
    Michael
    +1
    I thought so. I Just wanted to be sure.
  • MBSVirg... Michael 2011/12/08 16:05:08
    MBSVirginia BN-2
    Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Not that I can or want to change things, but many here on SH are very anti-semitic. I hope you are not one of them.
  • Michael MBSVirg... 2011/12/08 21:44:48
    Michael
    Well I'm a Christian, so I guess it's a little bit of both.
  • MBSVirg... Michael 2011/12/08 22:03:19
    MBSVirginia BN-2
    I have no problem with Christians, why would you have problems with Jews? You Lord and Saviour was a Jew.
  • Michael MBSVirg... 2011/12/21 00:33:31
    Michael
    +1
    I don't have problems with Jews. If someone is not Christian, I would rather than be a Jew than anything else.
  • Centris... MBSVirg... 2011/12/14 20:59:24
    CentristCitizen
    +1
    I like Jewish people. My Christian religion has some Jewish ideas.
  • MBSVirg... Centris... 2011/12/14 21:44:07
    MBSVirginia BN-2
    +1
    Indeed it does. It is good to have friends from all backrounds. It makes us much more well rounded and open minded.
  • Centris... MBSVirg... 2011/12/14 21:45:21
    CentristCitizen
    +1
    Thank you. This is true.
  • ☥☽✪☾DAW... MBSVirg... 2011/11/24 17:38:34
    ☥☽✪☾DAW ☽✪☾
    Is Thanksgiving a Religious holiday Yes and Well Yes!



    The Pagans in Rome celebrated their thanksgiving in early November. The holiday was dedicated to the goddess of the harvest, Ceres, and the holiday was called Cerelia.



    The Catholic church took over the pagan holiday and it became well established in England, where some of the pagan customs and rituals for this day were observed long after the Roman Empire had disappeared. In England the "Harvest Home" has been observed continuously for centuries



    Man and Horse that Built Civilization

    Other ancient Civilizations such as the Ancient Babylonians had a harvest Festival to honor Semiramis Goddess





    Differance between Need and Want



    the Cherokees of the American Southeast danced the Green Corn Dance and began the new year at harvest's end.

    Other Native Tribes honored Xilonen, The goddess of the new corn, and had a Harvest Festival



    In Ancient Civilizations of the past and modern times continued to have Harvest Holidays
  • MBSVirg... ☥☽✪☾DAW... 2011/11/25 18:47:20
    MBSVirginia BN-2
    +1
    So why would all of this suggest religion? It suggests a celebration of the harvest to me. I can celebrate the harvest without incorporating religion.
  • darwolf 2011/11/22 18:41:19
    Thanksgiving is Not a Religious Holiday
    darwolf
    Thanksgiving like any other holiday is a waist of time.
  • zbacku darwolf 2011/11/24 22:58:38
    zbacku
    Did you mean to use the word 'waist'? Or did you mean waste.
    If you meant 'waist', I would get your symbolism.
  • darwolf zbacku 2011/11/25 06:11:51
    darwolf
    Yes i meant waste.
  • chgo 2011/11/22 18:31:31 (edited)
    Thanksgiving is Not a Religious Holiday
    chgo
    We do indeed owe our thanks only to others, not the pilgrims and any other barbaric heathen separatists.
  • seathanaich 2011/11/22 18:00:43
    Thanksgiving is Not a Religious Holiday
    seathanaich
    +1
    Of course not. If you're not religious, no holiday you celebrate is religious. Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Valentine's Day, St Patrick's Day, Labour Day - the parts we all do for those holidays are not religious. The religious are free to sprinkle a little or a lot of religious content on them, if they want to.

    I would think that religious people can find something religious about their birthdays, and that's their perogative.
  • Steve J~PWCM~JLA 2011/11/22 16:43:24
    Thanksgiving is a Religious Holiday
    Steve J~PWCM~JLA
    +1
    Whether someone wants to celebrate it or not......

    It is not required.

    There are gods in many religions, I don't think thanksgiving has ever picked just one.
  • Bingo's Faddah 2011/11/22 15:26:53
    Thanksgiving is Not a Religious Holiday
    Bingo's Faddah
    It's secular. Let's see how many groups try to claim it!

    secular groups claim
  • dawn 2011/11/22 15:24:43
    Thanksgiving is a Religious Holiday
    dawn
    +3
    Thanking God is why this wonderful day was installed. It was a great idea, & still is. .
  • Semper Fi 2011/11/22 14:13:52 (edited)
    Thanksgiving is Not a Religious Holiday
    Semper Fi
    +3
    Perhaps the turkeys believe it is a religious holiday.. After all, aren't they going to meet their "baker"!

    turkey oh god
  • lucky 2011/11/22 13:43:18
    Thanksgiving is a Religious Holiday
    lucky
    +1
    Thanksgiving throughout history has had religious significance, that is undeniable, some of our Presidents even disagreed with it because they thought it was unconstitutional. Obama has once again wimped out by using political correctness.
  • Bingo's... lucky 2011/11/22 15:22:31
    Bingo's Faddah
    +2
    What religious significance does it have? Which religion?
  • lucky Bingo's... 2011/11/22 18:29:56
    lucky
    First start with the Pilgrims, look up exactly what they were and why they had that first Thanksgiving from then on out it was much the same a day of giving thanks to a higher power, from George Washington's first proclamation about Thanksgiving to FDR finally signing in a bill setting a national date for it, there has never been a time when any of those who originally got it going did not mention religion in the same breath, most of them even specifically stated give thanks to the divine or the creator.

    I dont think it belongs to any one religion.
  • Bingo's... lucky 2011/11/22 23:08:15
    Bingo's Faddah
    Like Arbor day.
  • lucky Bingo's... 2011/11/30 13:05:02
    lucky
    Im not sure what you mean, Arbor Day is not a religious holiday where as Thanksgiving is.
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