An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
The Seattle School District is passing out a list of myths that they apparently fear are being taught as historic truth in the folklore of the "First Thanksgiving." Puhlease...do they really think students today - particularly in Seattle - are being taught anything OTHER than an "inclusive history"?
In fact I'd argue they've gone too far in the other direction and this list of myths is absurd, painting the Native Americans as peace loving innocents and the Puritans as religious maniacs bent on backstabbing the Native Americans at every opportunity. Can we give it a rest please? I mean what are we as Americans supposed to do? Go back to Europe? And then are the Native Americans supposed to march back north and over to Asia? All of history is a story of one people displacing another and you can bet that just about anywhere you find people there is another set of people who were there first and were displaced. Ours, however, is the first race of people to hate ourselves for what we personally had nothing to do with - more than that we are actively educating our children to further hate ourselves for supposed crimes committed generations ago. How about some sobriety? We've no more need for further myths of the "noble savage" than we do of the "noble pilgrim."
And speaking of historical accuracy, Thanksgiving has NOTHING to do with Pilgrims ANYWAY. The "First Thanksgiving" took place in 1863 following the Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln in which he commended his fellow Americans to thank God in the midst of a civil war of "unequaled magnitude." But not just giving thanks, but also a day of penitence. Hmmmm...I wonder if the Seattle School District would dare to provide its students with a copy of the Proclamation? Speaking of offending people, I don't think they could legally do so and thus I reckon sticking with Turkey's and Pilgrims and back-stabbed Indians is easier than the REAL history of Thanksgiving - even though an integral part of Thanksgiving (per President Lincoln) involves us praying for God to heal our nation's wounds (AH! Now there's something everyone could get behind, eh? Except for that troublesome notion of prayer and God.) Sigh.
By the President of the United States of America.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the way, given the history and the supposed reality of wounds needing to be healed...why do you suppose southerners celebrate Thanksgiving?
This is great, James!! I think perhaps the history books go back to the supposed dinner with the Puritans and the "Indians" because otherwise the deep South may refuse to join in - as the Civil War was not over in 1863. I was taught, however, that it was Lincoln's proclamation of Thanksgiving that started the tradition. I do not understand why so many citizens of this "great experiment" are so convinced that we have done nothing but wrong. They have benefited from the freedoms we are allowed (including the right to be vociferously critical when we choose) - also our immigration situation is not one of people trying to leave, but people trying to come here. We also have the freedom to leave any time we choose if we can find another nation we prefer.
Throughout the centuries and the millennia, people have migrated to other areas looking for water, land, a better climate, easier shipping,etc. According to the recent genetic information I have read, we are not only all descended from a woman in Africa, but the first modern human - a male - also came from Africa. So I suppose, all 6 plus billion of us would have to move to Africa if we were all to go back where we came from. I don't think there is room!!!
Those of us whose ancestors came here 400 years ago would have a lot of trouble going back - my head in England, my right leg in Switzerland, my left leg in France, my right arm in Scotland, my left arm in Ireland, my torso divided between Wales and Holland, I guess. I am not sure which portion of my anatomy would be sent to Germany. I only know I would not function very well.
Most of all, since the Mexican and Canadian borders are pretty arbitrary, and especially the Mexican is very recent, we would have to designate ourselves as residents of the Western Hemisphere and that would solve a lot of immigration problems! Ah well, "much ado about nothing" is my take on the rantings of many people when taking a strange view of world history.
Just your friend, Carol, being amused. I understand your message but I couldn't help adding my own sense of humor to the mix!