While Thanksgiving is not officially a religious holiday, it is unofficially for me, a religious holiday, perhaps America’s most religious holiday because being ‘thankful’ is a religious principle taught by all religious beliefs, be they Christian, Jewish, Islamic, or any of the other religious denominations that make up the religious fabric of the United States. One cannot read the history of America’s founding, or the words of its Founding Fathers and not realize that both America’s religious and economic foundation is connected directly to the Judeo/Christian Bible.
And because America’s religious foundation is firmly rooted in the Bible, I often wonder what will happen to America if believing Americans lose their moral courage to stand up to those attacking its religious foundation by attempting to discredit America as a covenant nation and reestablish it as a secular nation. Sometime ago, while listening to a young mother deliver a powerful sermon on developing personal moral courage and integrity, she made a statement that resonated with me. She declared: “Scripture study and personal prayer go together like peanut butter and jelly.” They do. They represent the food for both our spiritual and mortal bodies. They are truly the stuff of life. Personal scripture study and prayer are the proven spiritual tools that Americans will need to use, just as the Pilgrims used them, to fight against their internal enemies, those currently bent on destroying America, and its religious foundation, as they attempt to turn America into a secular nation.
As I listened to this mother of four two scriptures came to mind that read: “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” (Psalms 50:14-15)
The Pilgrims were in trouble in Europe, and they studied their bibles and prayed for deliverance. And they were delivered to America where they then gave thanks to God for their deliverance. Today America is in trouble! Could these same tools be used to deliver America from its troubles today?
Today, Thanksgiving 2021, I am thankful for those events that led to the Pilgrims’ deliverance to America where they could worship ‘their God’ without fear of oppression by the kings. I’m grateful for those men and women of the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Enlightenment periods: the Renaissance for “its revival of classical learning and its attendant attitudes of questioning and searching” that prompted many to reevaluate their religious beliefs and practices; for the Luther’s and Tyndale’s of the Protestant Reformation who had the moral courage to challenge the state religion; and for the Enlightenment, an “eighteenth-century philosophical movement characterized by rationalization and a spirit of skepticism in religious and political thought” that helped break the bonds of established state religions and tyranny.
I’m grateful for those thousands that followed the Pilgrims, for the governments they formed, and for the fierce debates over religious freedoms that took place. And I’m especially grateful for those fifty-six brave men who willingly laid their lives and fortunes on the altar of freedom when they signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Men and women then laid down their lives for the privilege of governing themselves. The Constitution followed in 1787 and that led to America’s birth on April 30, 1789. But the initial Constitution still wasn’t enough! The hard-won freedoms had to be guaranteed, and were, with the passage and ratification of the first ten amendments in 1791.
America’s freedoms did not come cheap. America’s Founding Fathers won our freedoms with their blood. And the freedoms they gave to America must be protected today or lost. There will always be those who would take from America its foundational freedoms – religion, speech, press, guns – and Americans must always stand ready to defend those precious freedoms that were won by the shedding of much blood. And there will always be opposition to freedom, great opposition. Both secular and religious history confirms this doctrine of opposition.
Today I’m grateful for my family and for America’s heritage that allows family members to worship the God of their choice – knowing that they too must always be ready to defend the right to worship the God of their choice.
And today I’m grateful to be an American and living in America! Americans, be thankful for your precious God given freedoms! Also be grateful you are still free to use these proven biblical tools to strengthen your families and help preserve America and its freedoms.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!