|Thanksgiving: How Far We've Come|
|Written by Michael Fones|
|Friday, 27 November 2009 07:45|
Yesterday at the Thanksgiving Mass, Fr. Bart, the director of the Newman Center at the University of Arizona, quoted the following declaration made by the Continental Congress in 1777. It got our community talking, and I thought I'd share the proclamation of the first official Thanksgiving celebration with you. Note the date; this act of congress came in the middle of the war for Independence!
FOR AS MUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for Benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of: And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence; but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defense and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased, in so great a Measure, to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops, and to crown our Arms with most signal success:Jefferson's famous expression, "the separation of Church and State," used to describe the intent of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, is nowhere evident in that clearly Christian statement.
The clearly religious origins behind the establishment of a Thanksgiving holiday seem lost on most Americans, who, I suspect, don't ask, "to Whom are we giving thanks?" Just as telling, perhaps, is the Congressional members' assumption that schools are places in which virtue and piety are cultivated!
On this Black Friday, we might ask ourselves what we might consider our greatest blessings. Are they independence, peace, solidarity, virtue, and the forgiveness of sin - or the opportunity to purchase a large, high-end electronic device at 40% off? Hurry to the store if you want to get a Zhu Zhu hampster. I hear they're going fast.