America’s national holiday, Thanksgiving, is different because of all of American’s national holidays it is America’s only holiday for all Americans regardless of religious beliefs, cultural beliefs, racial identity, or profession.
Christmas focuses on Jesus Christ; New Year focuses on reflections, and football; Martin Luther King’s birthday holiday focuses on equality; President’s Day focuses on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln; Easter’s focus is on the resurrection of Jesus Christ as mankind’s Savior; Memorial Day is associated with the Civil War veterans; July 4th celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence; Labor Day’s focus is on the working man and woman, and Veterans Day focuses on America’s millions of veterans.
But Thanksgiving’s focus is on the traditional family, with traditional family understood to be one man married to one woman—with or without children, with each family free to worship God according to their own conscious.
This is America’s uniqueness—allowing individuals and families of all nationalities, races and religious faiths to enter its portals free to worship according to their own conscious, with their different doctrines and beliefs. And this uniqueness is because of America’s First Amendment. No other nation had, until 1791, allowed such religious freedom. And this freedom did not come without heated debate and compromise. This uniqueness allowed my church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to be created in upstate New York in 1830 —becoming one of the few major world religions established in America.
Those who have studied and pondered America’s early history saw clearly just how the hand of God protected the Pilgrims after being forced from their native countries because they wanted to worship their God in ways different from the proscribed worship rules and doctrines established by the existing state religion.
These students of America’s history also see the hand of God on each of the Founding Fathers as they were creating America, the first nation to ever allow freedom of religious thought and practice. Jefferson’s use of words such as “Nature’s God, Creator, Supreme Judge of the World, and divine Providence” is more than sufficient evidence to show me just how important God was to the Founders in their efforts to establish a new nation where the responsibility for governing was on their shoulders, not dictated by the ‘elite few’ who had treated them only with contempt as subjects.
I agree with those who believe America is unique, that God had literally watched over the Pilgrims and founding fathers. The writings of an ancient historian included these words: “this is a land which is choice above all other lands; …”
But there was a caveat. That caveat being: “wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting degree of God. And it is not until the fullness of iniquity among the children of land, that they shall be swept off.”
Later, as those people fell into iniquity, this historian described what happened to this once prosperous people. Said he, “And it came to pass there arose a rebellion among the people because of that secret combination which was built up to get power and gain; and there arose a mighty man among them in iniquity, and gave battle unto the leader and did overthrow half of the kingdom; and he did maintain half of the kingdom for many years.” The historian continued by describing the enslavement of the people by those who led the secret combination. This was anciently, but it sounds very much like America today.
Is it possible that America’s turmoil and division today is caused by a secret combination “built up to get power and gain,” and enslave the people? For its first 125 years America served God. In recent years those who would “get power and gain” have been successful in removing God from the public square—from our schools, from our courts, from our dialog—demeaning Him as political incorrectness.
America was founded on faith-based principles, based on guidelines clearly established by America’s Judeo Christian foundation. And God protected them. What better time to remember these values than on America’s national holiday of Thanksgiving—a time all Americans should be “thankful.”
Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.