First, Chuck Norris complained in an op-ed about President Obama’s lack of public expressions of faith, a lie, since Obama has made many public expressions of his deep and heart-felt Christian faith. Fox & Friends picked up on this new opportunity to bash the president – seemingly the show’s raison d’être – and criticized Obama for it as well.
Then, two days later, when Obama appealed to the Bible with regards to his executive order on immigration, Fox & Friends threw the “Friends” thing under the bus and called his use of the Bible “repugnant” and “out of bounds.”
Now Chuckie is back with a new op-ed on WND called, OBAMA VS. GEORGE WASHINGTON ON THANKSGIVING Exclusive: Chuck Norris dares president to do 1 thing before holiday meal.
And yes, you guessed it, Norris is upset that President Obama doesn’t seem Christian enough on the Thanksgiving holiday. He charges:
In 2013, President Obama’s Thanksgiving Address didn’t give a single mention of the pilgrims, their Christian devotion or thanks to God. He did, however, share his gratitude for the Native Americans and their “generosity during that first Thanksgiving.” He gave a litany of “We give thanks,” but none of them included faith.
In 2012, Obama again didn’t make a single reference to the Pilgrims, their faith, their God, his God or any thanks to God in any form.
In 2011, we finally find a reference to the “First Thanksgiving” in Obama’s Thanksgiving Address,” but it’s not exactly our traditional religious picture of the Pilgrims. In fact, it had nothing to do with the pilgrims giving thanks to their Christian God for their survival and harvest. Rather, “The very first Thanksgiving was a celebration of community during a time of great hardship.” The Pilgrims’ faith wasn’t in God, but a “faith that tomorrow would be better than today.” (Sounds like Obama’s indoctrination was successful as a community coordinator under the tutelage of Bill Ayers and Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.”)
In 2010, in a 700-word Thanksgiving Address, the president again gave no single reference to any aspect of Thanksgiving’s religious history, purpose, or gratitude in God, save the tip of his hat for “the God-given bounty of America.” And yet, he didn’t forget to include the same old progressive dribble for Americans to consider our country’s journey “since that first Thanksgiving,” when whoever celebrated it “came together and did what’s required to make tomorrow better than today.”
In 2009, Obama started his reign with another Thanksgiving Address that excluded any reference to a pilgrim, Thanksgiving’s real history or any gratitude to God, though he did talk a lot about his Recovery Act and concluded with the words, “God bless you.”
For five years, the president has flunked Thanksgiving Day remembrance and proclamation. Will he do so again in 2014?
I did not realize that a person could flunk their own beliefs. I did not realize that it was necessary for Christians to live their lives in accordance with the demands and expectations of other Christians. I don’t recall Jesus ever telling Peter, for example, that he better damn well live up to Matthew’s expectations of him.
Doesn’t President Obama have the right to his own beliefs? Chuckie sure lays claim to his own rights in that regard.
But no, Chuckles wants to make sure everybody believes what he believes:
We must continue to explain to our children and our children’s children about the religiously steeped history of Thanksgiving. We must tell them about the devoted Christian faith of the Pilgrims and how they crossed the Atlantic clutching to their Geneva Bible. They trusted in God and Jesus despite facing horrendous hardships and loss of life. They learned to “Give thanks in everything” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and, in so doing, the Almighty rewarded their perseverance and faith.
Here’s the problem, or rather, problems, with Norris’ claims:
First, as Wikipedia points out, “In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly, but not universally, traced to a poorly documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts.”
Norris is creating a great deal out of an event that is now nearly mythical.
Second, Thanksgiving has its origins as a Pagan harvest festival rededicated to the Christian God. In England, from whence the Pilgrims came, the old Pagan custom of the Harvest Home, which marked the end of the grain harvest, had been kept alive long after its religious significance had faded.
In other words, as Wikipedia also points out, “Prayers of thanks and special thanksgiving ceremonies are common among almost all religions after harvests and at other times.” Including, it might be noted, those Native American cultures upon whom the Pilgrims were imposing themselves. But Norris doesn’t want the kids finding THAT out.
This process happened in the Old Testament, too, when Pagan holy days were transferred to monotheism. Deuteronomy marked a complete break with Israel’s Pagan past. Moshe Weinfeld rightly points out that the events of 622/621 led to a “profound transmutation” of the Jewish religious landscape, that a “cultic religion had been transformed into a religion of a book.”
The result of Josiah’s revolution was the creation of an entirely new religion, something never seen before and its Pagan elements were subsumed into the new belief system. The paschal sacrifice lost its magical/animistic elements and was turned into a communal sacrifice based on the Jerusalem Temple instead of “the high places” and regional temples. The Pagan harvest festival (the feast of unleavened bread) lost its rural, Pagan-style focus and was also directed towards the central Temple.
But Norris ignores all this. I mean, they’re just facts, after all. Instead, he says,
If Obama is looking for a Thanksgiving Address this Thursday to model, then I recommend he look no further than presidents George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. I dare him to cite them even in part.
Norris goes on to “quote” Washington’s address but he leaves out a great deal, compressing it to say what he wants it to say, and leaving out the bit where Washington appeals to the American tradition of religious tolerance just then being established:
“…for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted – for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed…”
Rational…well, we know how the Religious Right feels about rationality! Just watch Fox & Friends. Or read WND. And wouldn’t that religious liberty Washington speaks of, protect President Obama’s sincerely held religious beliefs?
I think so. Meaning Norris is using Washington to attack Obama when, in fact, Washington’s words defend Obama. And Norris wants Obama to be like Washington, when he already is like Washington (unlike Norris) in appealing to religious liberty.
Honesty is too much to expect from Norris, clearly.
And look, folks: We know what happens if President Obama dares cite anything. Any reference he makes to scripture, an likely to the Christian god, will be called “repugnant” and “out of bounds” because being a left-wing Christian, he has no right to it. We’ve seen that already.
We’ll see soon what President Obama has to say on Thanksgiving this year. I am certain whatever it is, it will be sincere and heart-felt, unlike anything we will hear in response.
And then get ready to flip over to Fox & Friends to hear their hysterical and unreasonable knee-jerk rebuttal.
Because, you know, you can’t give thanks on the Religious Right without turning it into a stoning.
 Moshe Weinfeld, “Deuteronomy: The Present State of the Inquiry,” JBL 86 (1967), 258-259.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.