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Thanksgiving for all faithsDear Editor,I am astonished by the deftness with which, using only a truncated historical example and a poor sports analogy, Pastor Gene Linzey was able to take Thanksgiving away from the non-Judeo-Christian citizens of this country (23 percent, according to most recent census data) in this past Friday’s “Bible Answers” column.With nary an answer from the Bible in sight, Linzey tells us that “anyone can celebrate Thanksgiving Day,” but “only those who worship and honor the Living God can truly celebrate Thanksgiving Day as intended.”But, whose intentions are we talking about?If we look at the example of the Pilgrims, as he suggests, we see that, yes, they were giving thanks to their God at that first Thanksgiving feast.However, if we delve a little deeper into the historical context of the Pilgrims, we don’t need to go too far before remembering that they came to North America to escape being told by the establishment who and how to worship.Linzey expresses concern that without God, Thanksgiving “is relegated to a secular or pagan holiday.”And yet, a secular holiday it is, established in its modern form in 1941 by the United States Congress, a secular body constitutionally barred from making any religious pronouncements.Look at the text of the bill establishing the holiday, and you’ll be hard pressed to find any requirement of “belief in the ee Judeo-Christian God.”Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the pastor seems not to understand that gratitude is a state of being.“To be thankful” is a verb clause that does not require an object, and any object of gratitude is at the discretion of the one who feels grateful.While I am glad that Pastor Linzey is grateful to his God, I would thank him to not detract from the gratitude of those who believe and worship differently.
Rev. John A. CullinanUnitarian Church of Los Alamos