As Americans, each of us has our own list of things and people to be thankful for. But there are some blessings we all share.
We’re also grateful for the Americans who are taking time out of their holiday to serve in soup kitchens and shelters, making sure their neighbors have a hot meal and a place to stay. This sense of mutual responsibility – the idea that I am my brother’s keeper; that I am my sister’s keeper – has always been a part of what makes our country special. And it’s one of the reasons the Thanksgiving tradition has endured.
The very first Thanksgiving was a celebration of community during a time of great hardship, and we have followed that example ever since. Even when the fate of our union was far from certain — during a Civil War, two World Wars, a Great Depression — Americans drew strength from each other. They had faith that tomorrow would be better than today.
With all the partisanship and gridlock here in Washington, it’s easy to wonder if such unity is really possible. But think about what’s happening at this very moment: Americans from all walks of life are coming together as one people, grateful for the blessings of family, community, and country.
Why would the religious right be upset with that? He used their buzzwords: “faith,” “brother’s keeper,” “sister’s keeper,” “blessings”…
Or he was just trying to be respectful of everybody’s beliefs…
Or he’s a secret Muslim and he hates Jesus! Yeah. That’s catchier. Let’s go with that.
“Holy cow! Is that one screwed up or what?” columnist Sherman Frederick of the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote in a Thanksgiving-morning blog post.
“Somebody ought to remind Obama (and his speechwriter) that when Americans sit down around a meal today and give thanks, they give thanks to God.”
Over on the website of Fox News Radio, radio host Todd Starnes also took issue.
“His remarks were void of any religious references, although Thanksgiving is a holiday traditionally steeped in giving thanks and praise to God,” Starnes wrote.
Huh. My family sat together for Thanksgiving and we didn’t give thanks to a god. And my parents are religious.
Since when is Thanksgiving a Christian holiday, anyway? I don’t remember the part in the Bible where Jesus slaughtered a turkey. Christians already pretend like they own December. Now, they want November, too?
Next thing you know, we’re gonna hear about how Jesus actually blessed the first Halloween so that churches could create Hell Houses.
Whatever the Religious Right thinks he was trying to do, Obama certainly wasn’t trying to pass himself off an an atheist. His 2011 address sounds pretty damn Christian-y to me. He uses plenty of religious language without explicitly praising one particular god. It’s the PC thing to do, and we’ve come to expect no better from him.