November 22, 2012
FROM THE THANKSGIVING ARCHIVES: KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICE:
Thanksgiving's Simple Meaning (Ken Masugi, November 24, 2004, Precepts)
We are all familiar with the Thanksgiving holiday as a time for family, feasting, and football. All of these are great American institutions, but we forget too easily the meaning of this national holiday as it was first established by George Washington on October 3, 1789 and reaffirmed as we know it today by Abraham Lincoln on October 3, 1863, exactly 74 years later. A mere glance at their Thanksgiving proclamations reminds us of the noblest purposes of government, including its greatest endsï¿½fighting war and educating its citizensï¿½which fulfill all the objects of peace.
Moreover, the simplest meaning of Thanksgiving reminds usï¿½contrary to secularist courts and professorsï¿½that these presidents were proclaiming a holy day, a day for prayer and recognition of Almighty God's authority over man. We are most human when we honor our duties, to our country and to our Creator, and the wisdom that unifies these duties. No understanding of the First Amendment, however crabbed, can possibly gainsay this official government acknowledgement of the power of the sacred in our lives.
A close reading of these two messages reveals a careful and subtle teaching about the higher purposes of government and of human life.
Posted by oj at November 22, 2012 12:00 AM
(originally posted: November 24, 2004)