Is Thanksgiving as a holiday doomed to oblivion? Or will only the name be changed to something more appropriate for our changed nation and society?
I oft times wonder how long it can be before someone, somewhere will take to the American courts to have the national Thanksgiving holiday declared unconstitutional. After all, giving thanks for blessings is an act of supplication to the Almighty, an act that has been publicly banned now for a long time in our secular society.
However, the feeling of gratitude has been a part of our national character since its very founding. After the Declaration of Independence, the American Congress proclaimed days of fasting and of thanksgiving annually throughout the Revolutionary War. The first proclamation by Congress was dated May 17, 1776, calling for a “day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer” throughout the colonies. Congress urged fellow citizens to “confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his [God’s] righteous displeasure, and through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness.” Massachusetts ordered a “suitable Number” of the proclamations printed so “that each of the religious Assemblies in this Colony, may be furnished with a Copy of the same” and added the motto “God Save This People” as a substitute for “God Save the King.”