26 November 2008


Those who have been reading my journal over the past year may recall a post I did called THE WAR ON CHRISTMAS IS NOT OVER! Click on the title if you would like to read it. Since the left has been attempting to remove all symbols of Christmas from the public eye, even down to greeting each other during the Christmas season with "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas", there may be efforts to attack Thanksgiving too.

I got this through one of my alerts on Google. This appeared in BRIANLEE'S journal, but was originally posted on TOWNHALL.COM by Chuck Norris. His article is called THANKSGIVING - A VIOLATION OF CHURCH AND STATE? that was posted yesterday. It seems there was a recent editorial in NEWSWEEK/WASHINGTON POST by Susan Jacoby called THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATIONS: CRACKS IN THE WALL OF SEPARATION. Mr. Norris's response is excellent, so I am sharing it with you:

Thanksgiving - A Violation of Church and State?
Chuck Norris
Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Is the government's observance of Thanksgiving a violation of the separation of church and state?

This past week, a Newsweek/Washington Post editorial labeled presidential Thanksgiving Day proclamations as "cracks in the wall of separation." The author explained, "The problem with these proclamations, it seems to me, is that they pave the way for public acceptance of gross violations of the constitutional separation of church and state." What?!

Forget for a moment that nearly every president since George Washington (and the Continental Congress before him) has given Judeo-Christian proclamations for Thanksgiving (except between 1816 and 1861) and also has declared other national days of fasting and prayer. Secularists, such as the author of the editorial, get almost giddy every time they highlight that Thomas Jefferson rejected the notion of proclaiming Thanksgiving spirituals and prayers. But the truth is Jefferson was far from the modern-day secularist they make him out to be.
Sure, Jefferson was adamant (as we all should be) that there should be no federal subscription to any one form of religious sectarianism. That is largely what the First Amendment is all about -- establishing the free exercise of religion and restricting sectarian supremacy in government, as well as government intrusion in churches.

But secularists make two grave mistakes when it comes to Jefferson and the First Amendment. First, they misconstrue his understanding of separation. Second, they overlook how Jefferson himself endorsed and intermingled religion and politics, even during his two terms as president. Let me explain, as I believe it is a timely reminder, given that we are experiencing a new round of battles in our Christmas culture war, too.

The phrase "separation of church and state" actually comes from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1802 to the Danbury Baptists. He told them that no particular Christian denomination was going to have a monopoly in government. His words, "a wall of separation between Church & State," were not written to remove all religious practice from government or civic settings, but to prohibit the domination and even legislation of religious sectarianism.

Proof that Jefferson was not trying to rid government of religious (specifically Christian) influence comes from the fact that he endorsed the use of government buildings for church meetings and services, signed a treaty with the Kaskaskia Indians that allotted federal money to support the building of a Catholic church and to pay the salaries of the church's priests, and repeatedly renewed legislation that gave land to the United Brethren to help their missionary activities among the American Indians.

Some might be completely surprised to discover that just two days after Jefferson wrote his famous letter citing the "wall of separation between Church & State," he attended church in the place where he always had as president: the U.S. Capitol. The very seat of our nation's government was used for sacred purposes. As the Library of Congress' Web site notes, "It is no exaggeration to say that on Sundays in Washington during the administrations of Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) and of James Madison (1809-1817) the state became the church." Does that sound like someone who was trying to create an impenetrable wall of separation between church and state?

Let's face the present Thanksgiving facts. President Bush likely will give the last explicit Judeo-Christian Thanksgiving proclamation that Americans will hear for the next four to eight years, as President-elect Obama likely will coddle a form of godliness in his Thanksgiving addresses (if he indeed gives them) that appeases the masses with a deity that fits every politically correct dress.

But I'm an optimist. And because so much attention is being given right now by the media and the president-elect himself regarding his parallels to and lessons learned from President Abraham Lincoln, I recommend Obama heed Lincoln's Thanksgiving wisdom. Don't mince or water down the God of the Pilgrims, as is being done in public schools across this land through the retelling of the first Thanksgiving.

Obama doesn't even need a speechwriter for Thanksgiving 2009. He simply can recite Lincoln's Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, in which Lincoln thanked the Almighty for America's bountiful blessings and providential care despite enduring a war and grave economic hardships. The content seems divinely timed for even such a wintry season as our own:
"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. … I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens … 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."

Whatever your religious persuasion, don't hesitate this Thanksgiving to bow your head, give thanks to God, and follow Lincoln's advice. And when you do, don't forget to say a prayer for our troops and their families. While they serve us so we can serve our Thanksgiving feasts safely, the least we can do is serve them a little honor and remembrance.

Well said, Mr. Norris, well said.


That Baptist Ain't Right said...

So many problems with Norris' piece.

First, the piece he is quoting was not a "Washington Post editorial" at all, but an online response by author Susan Jacoby to a panel question about whether presidential proclamations of prayer and Thanksgiving are appropriate.

Second, Norris' history is grossly in error. The money for the church buildings had nothing to do with endorsement but with reimbursing the colonists for Indian attacks, just like all other towns were reimbursed to rebuild.

And Jefferson attending church service in the capital? Those were Sunday-after-church socials. It is noted in the societal pages of the day & was no more a church service than the Sunday lunch at Applebees.

Proclamations are fine, though not the best use of the Executive Office. I think Congressman Verplanck's speech in 1832 regarding a prayer proclamation during a cholera epidemic said it best.

natalie said...

dear Dirk, ummmm...
Happy Thanksgiving!

Lisa said...

Excellent entry!! Happy Thanksgiving!

MISSY said...

They'll come up with anything to make sure that God is out of the picture. I believe what the Bible says and all of this has already been predicted. *M*


Amanda said...

That Baptist guy is sad to me.... I know you treat him with respect, but the Lord does not call me to respect those that ridule Him and persecute Him. He calls me to love them, in spite of themselves.

I love the humble words of Lincoln in this piece... and I love how much our forefathers were in FACT Christian and proud of it.

It seems to me that you could read this piece and take it two ways. You can accept that the foundation of this country is based in Christian principles and embrace our Heavenly Father and give thanks....

...or you can rip it apart and scrutinize every last detail and try to take God out of it. Again and again and again, because you have so steadfastly tried to remove God form your own life and dont want to see Him anywhere. Its alwyas easy to see, by their editorials and words, who lives for Jeus and who lives for self.

I would be ashamed to so proudlu cut down those noble words of Mr. Norris, I would be ashamed to consistently attack others who support the vocalization of Faith.

I thank you for posting this Dirk.

Well done!


Dawgman said...

Chuck Norris, in addition to being an actor and martial arts Black Belt holder, is also a devout and outspoken Christian man. I think he spoke well for all Christians in his article. Thanks for sharing it with us, Dirk!


Carolyn said...

Happy Thanksgiving Dirk~ This is about the same as the left does with anything these days. They take bits from history that they believe supports their purpose and do away witht eh rest. It's not surprising to me anymore. There is so much more evidence of this being a Christian country right from the begining, but with revisionist history and people saying the same have truthsfor so long has made too many people believe in a lie. It's a shame, but not surprising. God bless!

Georgia Mountain Man said...

We have to be careful in today's world with interpreting history in light of our modern experiences and not in the shoes of those who made it. That Baptist... is correct in his assertions. When historical events are used as Norris uses them, they should be thoroughly researched and not used out of context. Jefferson is often used as an example in cases such as this, but one needs to thoroughly understand him before quoting him too much.

Thanks for your comments on my site. I have just found yours, and I like it. I don't agree with all of your posts, but that is what is great about this medium. We can read other points of view, learn from them, and discuss them, even if we don't agree.