Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Fox News is trying to make its audience hate us evil liberal secularists, by lying and misrepresenting sources:

Students Free to Thank Anybody, Except God

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland public school students are free to thank anyone they want while learning about the 17th century celebration of Thanksgiving — as long as it's not God.

And that is how it should be, administrators say.

Young students across the state read stories about the Pilgrims and Native Americans, simulate Mayflower voyages, hold mock feasts and learn about the famous meal that temporarily allied two very different groups.

But what teachers don't mention when they describe the feast is that the Pilgrims not only thanked the Native Americans for their peaceful three-day indulgence, but repeatedly thanked God....

The title and lead paragraph of the story are, quite simply, a lie. Whatever may or may not be in the curriculum of Maryland public schools with regard to Thanksgiving, nothing in the story says that children are being prevented from giving their own thanks to God.

But the main thrust of the story is that, liberal propaganda notwithstanding, Thanksgiving is godly -- and Fox has a source to back this assertion up:

According to the Web site Plimoth.org... Thanksgiving ... derived from their belief that "a series of misfortunes meant that God was displeased, and the people should both search for the cause and humble themselves before him. Good fortune, on the other hand, was a sign of God's mercy and compassion, and therefore he should be thanked and praised."

Plimoth.org is the Web site of Plimoth Plantation, the "living museum" in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Here's the page from the Plimouth Plantation site that's quoted in the Fox article. But here's a passage from the same page that, interestingly, isn't quoted:

While the harvest celebration held in Plymouth Colony in 1621 has been mistakenly referred to as the “First Thanksgiving” since the 1800s, the first Thanksgiving Day as the Separatists [Pilgrims] understood it occurred in 1623.

Nor is this, from another page at the site:

The harvest celebration of autumn, 1621, was quite plainly neither a fast day nor a thanksgiving day in the eyes of the Pilgrims. Rather it was a secular celebration which included games, recreations, three days of feasting and Indian guests. It would have been unthinkable to have these things as part of a religious Thanksgiving. The actual first declared Thanksgiving occurred in 1623, after a providential rain shower saved the colony’s crops.

So Thanksgiving was religious, but the feast we think of as "the first Thanksgiving" wasn't religious -- according to Fox's own source. So should we teach Thanksgiving as a Godly day or not?

Clearly, to Fox, we should. But if we do, should we leave out half the story? After all, as yet another page at the Plimoth Plantation site notes,

The American custom of giving thanks did not begin with the arrival of European colonists. Spirituality was (and is) a deeply sacred and personal part of Wampanoag life. Everything is sacred, and giving thanks for the Creator’s gifts is an integral part of daily life. From ancient times up to the present day, the Native people of North America have held ceremonies to give thanks for successful harvests and other good fortune. According to the oral information of tribal elders, giving thanks was the primary reason for ceremonies or feasts.

Giving thanks was an important part of the celebrations, called Nickommo, which are still held by the Wampanoag. Give-away ceremonies, feasting, dancing and sports and games were common features of these occasions....

Apparently it's of no concern to Fox that most school districts show "hostility to religion" by failing to teach that.

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