Thanksgiving is one of the most beloved holidays in America.
But in the hands of liberals and their schools and MSM, Thanksgiving has long become yet another occasion for white guilt. If you want an illustration, see my 2010 post “Thanksgiving card from my liberal friend“.
But did you know that unlike other secular holidays like Labor Day or the Fourth of July, the Thanksgiving that you think is a secular holiday is actually a national holiday that is explicitly religious in nature?
As shown in the quotes below, Thanksgiving was instituted as a day to thank God for the many blessings He has bestowed on America.
In 1789, in his first year in office, President George Washington called for a day of Thanksgiving because —
“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.”
In 1815, President James Madison issued a proclamation for “a day of thanksgiving and of devout acknowledgments to Almighty God for His great goodness.” After Madison, however, Thanksgiving reverted to a regional celebration in New England for 48 years.
In 1863, magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale petitioned the Lincoln administration that “a day of Thanksgiving now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution.”
In a proclamation in the midst of the Civil War on October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving an official national holiday. Here is the full text of his proclamation:
“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. 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.
“In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.
“Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.
“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 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. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and 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.
“In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
America has just lived through the most divisive election in our lifetime. To echo the words of Lincoln, on this day, “with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience,” we “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.”
We of the Fellowship of the Minds also take this occasion to thank all our readers and especially our faithful regular commenters who contribute so much to this little blog with their encouragement, trenchant observation, insight and righteous outrage.
God bless you, and may God bless America,