A Perfect Secular Thanksgiving

Family rituals are nice.

Secular families, like religious ones, need rituals in their lives to bond and grow in their understanding of their world.  I’ll tell you about a wonderful Thanksgiving Day ritual for secular families.

It starts with the family sitting in a circle.  Everyone is silent.  At the right moment, someone pushes “play”.  Everyone listens in solemn reverence to Arlo Guthrie’s recording, “The Thanksgiving Day Massacre”.  It lasts 19 1/2 minutes.  (We know this because of science.  Scientists have found the blank portion of the Nixon White House tapes is exactly the same length as the “Massacre” song.  Thus, it is obvious Nixon had “Massacre” on the his secret tape but erased it because he did not want anyone to know he listened to hippy music. ).

Following the Massacre song, all family members hold hands in the circle.  They express thanks for mysterious and wonderful things that are beyond understanding.  Because the source of some things is unknown, secularists turn to a famous television star for an inspirational expression of thanksgiving.

Together, they recite Homer Simpson’s famous prayer entitled, “Thank you, God, for Nuclear Power.”

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.  :)

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years.
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35 Responses to A Perfect Secular Thanksgiving

  1. Wanna B Sure says:

    Jon; Scientifically speaking, Happy tryptophan day to you and yours. (It’s in turkey, ketchup, and goat milk.) I have never looked at Thanksgiving other than a secular holiday. Being thankfull is a private matter.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Wanna 1:31 I’m trying to remember if there was a role for the church for Thanksgiving in rural Iowa when I was a farm boy. I don’t remember any connection with the church. Do you remember a role for the church in your youth?

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Jon; No, not for an institutional Thanksgiving. We do, and have always given thanks for all that we recieve from His bountyfull goodness, (everyday.) Again, a personal thanksgiving, with the resulting sharing with others as each has recieved. Quietly, and without fanfair.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          PS. There was of course the farm setting. Closer to nature, crops, cattle, food from the garden, etc. and the family to relate to. More of an emphasis on survival than anything, especially if we had gotten hailed out the year before. Really comforting to have the potato bin full, sausages hung, ham and bacon buried in the oats bin, basement shelves filled with canned vegies, meat, and fruit. With the Grand parents, parents, and sisters around the table. Along with that the wood shed filled with cut wood for the coming winter. That’s being thankfull. We lived that, and we remember.

  2. Bob says:

    This is the real history behind Thanks Giving

    In 1637 near present day Groton, Connecticut, over 700 men, women and children of the Pequot Tribe had gathered for their annual Green Corn Festival which is our Thanksgiving celebration. In the predawn hours the sleeping Indians were surrounded by English and Dutch mercenaries who ordered them to come outside. Those who came out were shot or clubbed to death while the terrified women and children who huddled inside the longhouse were burned alive. The next day the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared “A Day Of Thanksgiving” because 700 unarmed men, women and children had been murdered.

    I give thanks that there are any Native Americans left at all.

    • entech says:

      Interesting. As a little old limey (Aus. second) I was always taught that it was to celebrate surviving the first winter and getting the first harvest, the large bird called the turkey is traditional because of an essential contribution to the food supply.

  3. A. Friend says:

    http://hnn.us/articles/15002.html

    And what is completely untrue is the idea that the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony participated in the 1637 Pequot massacre. Although asked to send military assistance, the Plymouth court did not respond until two weeks after the slaughter had been carried out. See my book, Pilgrim Edward Winslow: New England’s First International Diplomat (Boston: NEHGS, 2004), pp. 164-168.

    Is this important? Or is the lie “true to its purposes”?

  4. Bob says:

    Pequot Massacre in 1637, which started after the colonists found a murdered white man in his boat. Ninety armed settlers burned a Native village, along with their crops, and then demanded the Natives to turn in the murderers. When the Natives refused, a massacre followed.

    Captain John Mason and his colonist army surrounded a fortified Pequot village and reportedly shouted: “We must burn them! Such a dreadful terror let the Almighty fall upon their spirits that they would flee from us and run into the very flames. Thus did the Lord Judge the heathen, filling the place with dead bodies.” The surviving Pequot were hunted and slain.

    The Governor of Plymouth, William Bradford, further elaborates:

    Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword; some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so that they were quickly dispatched and very few escaped. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire…horrible was the stink and scent thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them.

    Perhaps most disturbingly, it is strongly argued by many historians that the Pequot Massacre led to the “Thanksgiving” festivities. The day after the massacre, the aforementioned Governor Massachusetts Bay Colony declared: “A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children.” It was signed into law that, “This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots.”

    It was Abraham Lincoln who decreed Thanksgiving Day to be a legal national holiday during the Civil War—on the same day and at the same time he was ordering troops to march against the Sioux in Minnesota. .and subsequently ordered 38 Santee Sioux hung on Christmas Eve for leaving the ‘reservation’ in search of food.

  5. Bob says:

    Here we are still killing the HEATHEN in the name of GOD – quoting Scripture to back it up – and corpses rotting in the streets of Fallujah – burning (now by bombs-napalm) of whole villages. Some have remarked to me: “So what, this is just negative, etc”. Yes – killing, robbing, and plundering people’s lands is pretty darn negative – and lest we forget all of this is done under the auspices of ONE NATION UNDER GOD.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Bob 12:17 “ONE NATION UNDER GOD”

      I just thought of this great idea for some Republican Party presidential candidate. It would go like this, “I just love it that God was inserted in the Pledge of Allegiance for political purposes back in the 1950′s. The problem is God is only mentioned once. If elected President, I promise to change the Pledge to read, ‘I Pledge Allegiance to GOD and the flag and…..’”
      They should pay me for this stuff.

  6. Bob says:

    lol-ling and weeping at the same time, Jon

  7. Bob says:

    Right now, the U.S. aircraft carrier George W.H. Bush has moved to the Syrian coast, the Western World is about to invade Syria, which will force Iran to retaliate.
    We need Ron Paul in office yesterday.

  8. Henry says:

    “Secular families, like religious ones, need rituals in their lives to bond and grow in their understanding of their world.”

    Does that mean men were created for God with an inherent need to worship and have fellowship with him? And without either, man must satisfy this need with his own creations?

  9. Bob says:

    I’m doing a “Forks Over Knives” kinda Thanks Giving.

    Good Health to all, religious and non-religious.

  10. entech says:

    Colonisation is and was always wrong. The colonists always depict their actions as benign and beneficial, surviving aboriginals almost always exaggerate the horrors. The victor writes the history. Rome is a good example; they would have it that they were spreading civilisation and culture to the barbarian world. In many places they were welcome, especially by the existing ruling classes who found it to their advantage to cooperate and even beneficial and pleasant to adopt the customs and habits of the conquerors. Britain in roman times had running water and plumbed sewage in the houses as well as central heating and hot baths, the peasant still lived in squalor of course. Alexander the Great thought he had to conquer the world to spread the benefits of civilisation, but like the Romans reserved an elevated status for himself and his Generals. Even in Palestine (the Romans were the first to give the area that name) there was a fairly widespread acceptance of Hellenic and Roman culture, There were some dissidents who wanted to keep their own god and their own ways, they even had a saviour a messiah, unfortunately for them the saviour was not very successful and about 70 years after his death the main religious building was destroyed and the population dispersed.
    A great irony is that the remnants of the followers of the failed saviour built up a huge cult following maintaining many of the beliefs and traditions of their Judean origin and eventually took over the dominant position once held by the Roman Empire. While they were still in opposition to the empire, mainly because of an insistence on maintaining the old Judean God as the one and only and rejecting the Gods of the empire, the empire was a bit savage to them – blaming them for invoking the anger of the gods against the empire whenever things went wrong. Eventually the empire collapsed under its own weight and the cult took over and became the new ‘Holy’ Empire. This new dominant position allowed them to assimilate many of the habits of the old empire into the new system. Among these habits were denigration of the enemy, so the repression of the Christians (as they called themselves) was exaggerated and the Romans depicted as evil, and persecution of those that did not accept the rightful position of the new Gods of the new holy state was carried out with much vigour and a burning desire for purity of the doctrine of the faith.
    A further irony is that in order to alleviate as much as possible the Roman repression they were obliged to denigrate the Judean originators of their system and change the emphasis of the execution of their savour from the Romans to the Judeans. This denigration continues to this day and these “Christ Killers” were only recently magnanimously absolved of Deicide. Some things never change.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      entech 11:20 Excellent clear-headed summary of what gave rise to the “history” protrayed in the Bible.

      There are so many people who are quite good at assessing the motives of current leaders and current events, but, lose that ability when reading the Bible.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Entech; Your ” …the savior was not very successful…” Is a common Jewish interpretation, along with non-Christians. Both deny the vicarious atonement. The Jews wanted their Messiah to be an earthly king, and lead them to independence from Roman power. They (the ones who didn’t become Christian), didn’t accept the “heavenly kingdom, or the Kingdom of God”. In the Christian understanding, the “uncessful” was a complete success as prophesied in the OT. The Neo-cons still consider his 2nd coming to reign for a thousand years. The non-Christians simply use the “non-success” as an argument against anything Jewish, OR Christian.

      • entech says:

        interesting word vicarious

      • entech says:

        Interesting that you should say – “Is a common Jewish interpretation” – As you are fond of telling me that Jesus was a Jew.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Yes David a common Jewish interpretation used to deny that Jesus was the messiah. Some Jews accepted that, other Jews didn’t. Both Jews. Of course you knew that. You just wanted conversation. That’s Ok.

      • entech says:

        “The Jews wanted their Messiah to be an earthly king, and lead them to independence from Roman power”, If this is what you want from your saviour, then you get the destruction of the temple and the expulsion from your homeland you could claim that unsuccessful was quite a modest description. When you add to this the idea that if something happens now you can look back through the old books and find something that could be massaged into being a vague prediction and claim this is the fulfillment of prophecy, well if you can accept that, then the one true God indivisible becoming three is a piece of pumpkin pie (to make the metaphor for seasonal)

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          The “looking back” as you reffer to was acknowleged at the time of Christ, and it continues to this day.
          Yes, for the Jews, things didn’t work out to well for them 70 AD. That was unfortunate.
          I like pumkin pie. (with real whipped cream). Three pieces is good.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          entech 1:55 Am I right that the problems with “prophecy” as having some very large role in “proof” of the super natural events that are said to have played out are something like this.

          1. Were the prophesies actually made–all we have are the ancients papers of unknown origin that had passed though countless editors?

          2.. If they were made, how do we know they were not selected to match the desired outcome from among other predictions that did not conform to the desired ends?

          3. Then, have they been fulfilled, or, why is there disagreement whether or not they have been fulfilled?

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Purty good questions. Keep working on them. I suppose you could chalk them up to free will to reject.

        • entech says:

          You could make quite reasonable case that the very Acts of the Apostles were planned and carried out to fulfill the prophecies. Jesus was supposed to have been a rabbi himself and so would be knowledgeable about such things, it could well have been that for the missing years he was studying the books and tried to fulfill the expectations of what the messiah would do. Although I think it was probably in cave in the mountains somewhere meditating and living on the fabulous fungi growing in those caves (magic mushrooms anyone?); it is not surprising that so many of the mystics and prophets disappeared into the desert and the mountains at intervals, even Mohammad was a mountain man. Take one famous story about fulfilling the prophecy of the entrance to Jerusalem, e sent his men of to a given location to find some donkeys or horses or whatever, he told them that if the owner said anything to tell him they were for me at it would be all right. This alone sounds very like forward planning and collusion. These stories and versions are as old as the original and are just as possibly as true as the other ones that have made their way into scripture.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Sounds like you are familiar with mushrooms. Never use’em myself. Smilie face.

          • entech says:

            Any supermarket bottom left near the Broccoli, nice in omelets on my vegetarians days and good in sauce for a rare steak on others.

  11. entech says:

    Interesting word prophecy

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