Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving and Faith

Dan Gilgoff writes at the CNN Belief Blog:

This year's Thanksgiving Day proclamation from the White House has a distinctly religious ring to it, referring to the "gifts of a gracious God" to the nation.

"A beloved American tradition, Thanksgiving Day offers us the opportunity to focus our thoughts on the grace that has been extended to our people and our country," President Barack Obama's Thanksgiving proclamation begins."...We also pause our normal pursuits on this day and join in a spirit of fellowship and gratitude for the year's bounties and blessings."

At a time when Obama has been criticized by some conservatives who say he has not been firm enough in espousing American exceptionalism, the statement includes repeated mentions of a relationship between God and America.

"Thanksgiving Day is a time each year, dating back to our founding, when we lay aside the troubles and disagreements of the day and bow our heads in humble recognition of the providence bestowed upon our Nation," the proclamation, issued Tuesday, says.

The president's weekly video address is less religious, instead emphasizing another aspect of American civic culture, community service: