Thankful For Nine
Vol: 74 Issue: 22 Thursday, November 22, 2007
I think I’ve said this before. Of all the various holidays, both secular and religious that we celebrate in our culture, my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. Every year, I discover another new reason why.
It isn’t so much for the way it is celebrated — about the only thing that bores me more than a parade is a football game (sorry sports fans, but I’m not smart enough to keep track of all the stats necessary to enjoy the game).
What I love about Thanksgiving is both its premise and the confusing effect it engenders in 21st century America.
First, I love the premise of setting aside a national day of Thanksgiving for our national and individual blessings. The Scriptures tell us “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1st Thessalonians 2:13)
Thanksgiving Day is the day that His people humble themselves and call upon His Name.
“If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2nd Chronicles 7:14)
I am under no illusions that everybody in America sets aside time on this day to thank Almighty God for their blessings. But the whole day is set apart by official government proclamation for the purpose — whether everyone avails themselves or not.
Thanksgiving Day is one of the two conundrums that face American secularists, since they have nobody to thank for the day off, so they call it “Turkey Day”.
Setting aside a day to honor a turkey and capping off the day by eating the guest of honor must leave them at least a little conflicted. The second is funerals, as once expressed on an atheist’s tombstone epitaph; “All dressed up — and no place to go.”
For nearly two hundred years, giving thanks was voluntary, but since November, 1941, Thanksgiving Day has officially been a “perpetual day of Thanksgiving to God Almighty for the continuance of His favor and protection to these United States” by Act of Congress.
Thanksgiving Day tends to highlight America’s spiritual schizophrenia and gives me hope that God will pronounce America ‘not guilty by reason of spiritual insanity’ and forestall judgment upon it for another year.
Viewed from the perspective of the Court’s post -1948 interpretation of the 1st Amendment, Thanksgiving Day is about the only clearly unconstitutional exercise of religion in America.
The Court has ordered everything from the removal of Bibles from school libraries to ordering the removal of the Ten Commandments from public places based on the 1st Amendment’s so-called ‘separation clause’.
What the 1st Amendment says is this: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
The Supreme Court has seized on the first clause; “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” as justification for violating the second claus; “prohibiting the free exercise thereof” on all public-owned property.
Interestingly, interpreting the first clause as meaning any public endorsement is the same as a Congressional declaration not only negates the second clause, but also the third; freedom of speech; weakens the fourth; freedom of the press; undoes the fifth; the right of the people to peaceably assemble; and makes a mockery of the sixth; to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Instead of providing a list of examples of how the ‘separation clause’, as interpreted, erases all the rest, I will give just one, since one is all that is necessary to prove the point:
Walk within 100 feet of an abortion clinic with a Bible visible in one hand and see how many of your 1st Amendment Rights are protected.
Congress didn’t authorize putting up a Ten Commandment placard in Kentucky, the county did. But the Supremes deemed that to be the same thing.
But Congress DID order the setting aside of a perpetual day of Thanksgiving “to God Almighty” — which was then signed into law on November 26, 1941 and the Supreme Court has, to date, allowed it to stand untouched.
This year, I am particularly grateful to our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Israel and the United States for His promise, and the certain knowledge that;
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2nd Peter 3:9)
In Genesis 18 God promised Abraham that He would spare Sodom and Gomorrah if He could find but ten righteous men within its walls.
Until the Supreme Court declares Thanksgiving Day to be unconstitutional, I can at least hope that nine might be enough for another year.
Happy Thanksgiving and may our God richly bless you all.