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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

An ACLU Thanksgiving...

With apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien and the members of the Pennsylvania delegation to the Continental Congress, 1777.

Time: December 17, 1777

Place: Valley Forge, PA; tent of General Washington; the commons, before the Standard

Dramatis Personae: General George Washington, commander of the Continental Army; James McHenry, General Washington's secretary; Grimma Wormtongue, attorney for the ACLU

General Washington [writing]: Tomorrow being the day set apart by the honorable Congress for Public Thanksgiving and praise, and duty calling us devoutly to express our grateful acknowledgments to God for the manifold blessings he has granted us, the general directs … that the chaplains perform divine service...

[a knock interrupts, General Washington's secretary enters]

McHenry: General, a Mr. Wormtongue insists on seeing you immediately.

Washington: What does he want?

McHenry: He says he has a letter from the Pennsylvania delegates to the Continental Congress declaring that any proclamation of thanksgiving cannot make reference to God.

Washington: [stunned silence, then] Show him in.

Wormtongue: General Washington. Thank you for seeing me. I have here a letter enjoining you—

Washington: Give it to me, sir. [Washington reads] I also have these men's signatures on a proclamation to be read from the Continental Congress giving thanks to God for our victories and asking The Almighty to intercede on our just behalf. How do you then give me this?

Wormtongue: I met with the gentlemen privately and convinced them it would impose an undue coercion upon those who do not hold your—or their—Judeo-Christian religious beliefs, and persuaded them to urge you to issue a non-religious statement of gratitude.

Washington: Who then would you have us express gratitude to, if not to the Providential Hand of the Most High God? I have my authorization and your plea has no virtue. Mr. McHenry? See this man from the camp.

[December 18, in the commons before the Standard, the army assembled. We laggards come in late...]

Washington: ...for solemn thanksgiving and praise. That with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their Divine Benefactor;... and their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them (their manifold sins) out of remembrance... "


Yes, I've taken liberties with the historical record. Washington's troops, in summer uniforms (if any uniforms at all), some barefoot, short on food, were actually on their way, through a bitterly cold winter, to their winter camp at Valley Forge when Washington read to them the Thanksgiving Proclamation issued by the Continental Congress.
There was, thankfully, no ACLU there to object to Washington's reading of the Founder's words. There were only American patriots, from a wide array of colonies, braving the cold, undersupplied, facing a long and bitter which many of them knew from experience would be difficult to survive.
Many did not survive.
But these were men who, for the most part believed in the Hand of Providence and trusted their cause, their lives and their service to Almighty God. And those who did not share that religious faith respected the deep faith of their commander-in-chief.
Shall we bow to the Wormtongues among us today and accept the secular "Thanksgiving" the ACLU and its ilk would have us celebrate? Are we thankful for our comfort, our possessions, our achievements? Thankful to whom? To ourselves alone, apparently—at least in the public arena—if the ACLU has its way.
THANKFULLY, those who braved the winter at Valley Forge, short on provisions, without even adequate shelter or clothing, were not members of the ACLU... nor, dare I say, would they be today.
I thank God for the First Amendment which, counter to the ACLU's twisting of it, allows me to practice my faith—or not, as I choose—in public, freely, without any right of any government or court to interfere, no matter what some court may claim. This was bought and paid for by the blood of patriots:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
It doesn't say that religious expression is excluded from the public arena, as the ACLU would increasingly have it.
If I could wish one thing for America for Christmas (not "the Holidays"), it would be to erect an impenetrable "wall of separation" between the ACLU and the free expression of religion in the public arena beginning with Thanksgiving and Christmas.
As a start. Then we could work on the rest of the year.

CLICK HERE for more. And be sure to catch Jay's Thanksgiving post at Stop the ACLU, as well as "Happy Thanksgiving, ACLU" at TMH's Bacon Bits. Crossposted at Stop the ACLU Linked at Diane's Stuff, TMH's BAcon Bits, Don Surber's After Hours' "Anonymous Open Post" (heh), Pajamas Media/Stuck on Stupid, Robinik.net, Basil's Thanks Giving" and Cao's Blog
This was a production of Stop The ACLU Blogburst. If you would like to join us, please email Jay at Jay@stoptheaclu.com or Gribbit at GribbitR@gmail.com. You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll. Over 130 blogs already onboard.