The secular Left’s passion: hijack and distort history. It is central to their entire cause. Our response, therefore, must be: keep the truth about history visible and alive.
The facts about America’s first “Thanksgiving Day celebration”, for instance, are a favorite target of those who want to deny the Judeo-Christian influence that significantly shaped our nation’s history. Myths and falsehoods about our Pilgrim “fathers” abound. Below, Douglas W. Phillips and Elijah Brown resolve to set the record straight.
Great stuff. Review and memorize, so that the next time some pompous American-hater starts spouting his nonsense about the “joyless Pilgrims”, the “racist, anti-Indian Pilgrims”, how that hardy band “stole the land” they settled, etc., etc. — you can persuasively challenge their ahistorical claptrap with … the truth.
For close to a decade and a half, I have had the honor of leading more than a thousand people on Faith and Freedom Tours in Plymouth and the Boston area. Plymouth and the story of the Pilgrims which is honored through our national Thanksgiving Day celebration is one of the most precious stories of faith, fortitude, and the providential care of God for his Church in the history of Western Civilization. Not surprisingly, it is a historical record which is under great attack from revisionist historians and radical leftists groups. During my own tours of Plymouth, I have personally been heckled by representatives of radical Marxist Indian groups, have actually watched as markers which bring a false witness to the Pilgrim legacy have been placed on the most sacred historic locations of the Pilgrims at the urgency of these groups, and have spoken to members of the Plymouth community who have been physically assaulted by radical leftists when presenting the Pilgrim story. Some of these incidents have been documented in my article Plymouth Crock.
Behind this assault on the great Pilgrim legacy are a series of myths rooted in a historical revisionism which is not only at war with Christianity, but with a fair and reasonable account of the facts which inform our interpretation of the origins of the American nation in Plymouth. With the help of Elijah Brown, the following is presented to offer some perspective on the debate.
Thanksgiving Day should stand out in our hearts as one of the most sacred and significant days of celebration of the year. The importance of Thanksgiving Day does not merely stem from its patriotic value as the oldest national celebration in American history. The day should not be observed simply to maintain a historical tradition that was cherished long before it was officially declared a national holiday. Thanksgiving Day is momentous because it not only calls our remembrance to the awe-inspiring work of God’s providence among our forbearers, but also allows us to connect with them in a real way by demanding a perpetual reflection on the providence of God in our own lives. Whether joyfully or with more than a little misgiving, on Thanksgiving Day the nation acknowledges that we are the heirs of our Pilgrim Fathers. Thanksgiving provides a national identification that should connect with every American on a deep and intimate level. It is a day that points to the firm conviction that every good and perfect gift comes from above, and that we are the residual beneficiaries of God’s favor bestowed upon, and celebrated by our ancestors, during that first Thanksgiving feast. As we gather around our family tables in celebration of God’s providence and provision we are the fulfillment of the hope of those godly men and women; we are the enduring testimony to the fruition of their multi-generational vision of faithfulness.
At the same time, it is perhaps for this very reason that the hallowed importance of Thanksgiving Day is diminished in our modern culture. The necessary reflection on God’s providence invoked on this day is something that the unregenerate heart simply cannot grasp, much less celebrate. The essential theme of man’s utter dependence on God is something to which men shaped by the egotistical philosophy of the enlightenment cannot relate. The exclusive adoration and deep fidelity to Jesus Christ practiced among the Pilgrim Fathers is something that this secular generation finds intolerable. For this reason, each year the observance of Thanksgiving Day has gradually diminished into a day celebrated by an excess of parades, food, and football. Thanksgiving Day has been even further eroded by the radical left who, out of their hatred for God, has revised history to distort and pervert America’s Christian heritage. While the Christmas holiday has inherited its fictitious flying reindeer and Easter has inherited a fictitious egg laying rabbit, it seems that Thanksgiving has inherited a fictitious historical narrative, equal to those other absurdities, and accompanied by a barrage of unwarranted ridicule and speculative doubt.
Image: The First Thanksgiving; Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863–1930); public domain/copyright expired.