Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Very Happy Secular Thanksgiving to You!

Last year, I wrote about the sorry state of this week’s holiday in "Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving." I spoke of how Thanksgiving is being largely forgotten as the most religious of our national holidays, and how consumerism is destroying the purpose of our celebration as one for slowing down to thank God for His goodness. And I suggested we begin to call for the renewed acknowledgment of this great day. I feel now as I did last year that the best first step to take is merely to wait until Friday morning to shop.

I had an opportunity to deliver a Thanksgiving sermon a few weeks ago, and during my preparation I once again turned to thinking about how it has been relegated to a mere Thursday in between  Halloween and Christmas. One of the things I touched upon last year was the fact that we have been caught up in the “Keep Christ in Christmas” campaign, and rightly so, but that has kept us from seeing the damage being done to Thanksgiving. Since that time, I have thought a bit more about it and see that Thanksgiving has suffered not just from our inactivity. It has suffered from the inactivity of antitheists, as well.

That is no typo. I said “inactivity,” and I meant it. Think about it. Thanksgiving is a purely religious holiday. The United States government is asking all of us to pray. You don’t have to, but you are being asked to. Church and State are not so very separate after all, wouldn’t you agree? But when did you last hear an antitheist complain about it? They don’t. They know not to touch this one with a 30-foot pole. Why? I think it is because they know just what a losing issue it would be for them right now. A day might come when they will loudly call for it to be done away with, but if they did it today, it would make people think. They would think about how long we have celebrated Thanksgiving, what it is for, and the fact that our government, rather than the Church, set the day for celebrating. If most of the people in this country thought about that right now, the progressive interpretation of “separation and church and state” would be seen for the absurdity it is. The antitheists cannot afford that, so they remain silent.

Well, not perfectly silent. It is not as if they merely have yet to notice Thanksgiving. They are just taking the tack of “If you can’t beat them, co-opt them.” Check out this article from The Blaze. The American Humanist Association has prepared a selection of “prayers” for antitheists to use on Thanksgiving. They even call it “a uniquely secular holiday, as gratitude is a universal human emotion.” Never mind the history of the tradition, its original purpose, or the fact that gratitude itself makes no sense in an irrational universe. Thanksgiving is theirs, people!  Here is just a sample of the ridiculousness: “As we come together at this special time, let us pause a moment to appreciate the opportunity for good company and to thank all those past and present whose efforts have made this event possible. We reap the fruits of our society, our Country, and our civilization, and take joy in the bounties of Nature on this happy occasion. Let us also wish that, some day, all people on Earth may enjoy the same good fortune that we share.” As if “effort” makes any of these things possible. Nor are they accidents. They are the providence of God. Antitheists understand that this is the most natural way to see things, but they can’t attack it directly. They need to give some rationalization, no matter how weak, for their place in this holy day. Silence, or at most a tempered statement, is their best weapon. They are hoping it will die on its own, and then each one will be able to say, “Is not this the great [existence] I have built?” (Daniel 4:30).

We need to call their hubris to account. Thanksgiving without God is not gratitude. It is self-praise. It is about saying humanity is the best there is, and we owe nothing to anyone for what we have. Life is too full of benefices for that type of foolishness. We are too fragile to think we could exist at all without the help of the Almighty. Don’t forget that this week. And don’t let anyone pretend it is otherwise.