November 24, 2011

Obama's religion-free Thanksgiving address.

"As Americans, each of us has our own list of things and people to be thankful for. But there are some blessings we all share....
But no matter how tough things are right now, we still give thanks for that most American of blessings, the chance to determine our own destiny. The problems we face didn’t develop overnight, and we won’t solve them overnight. But we will solve them. All it takes is for each of us to do our part. 
And God's help? I'm noticing the lack of religion in the address. The closest he gets is the use of the word "blessings."
With all the partisanship and gridlock here in Washington, it’s easy to wonder if such unity is really possible. But think about what’s happening at this very moment: Americans from all walks of life are coming together as one people, grateful for the blessings of family, community, and country.

If we keep that spirit alive, if we support each other, and look out for each other, and remember that we’re all in this together, then I know that we too will overcome the challenges of our time.
Again, an absence of God. We'll solve our problems by coming together as a community, not with the help of God, though you are free to conceptualize this coming together in religious terms. I'm not criticizing, just taking note.

Here's what Thomas Jefferson said about Thanksgiving:
I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises... Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the general government.... But it is only proposed that I should recommend, not prescribe a day of fasting and prayer. That is, that I should indirectly assume to the United States an authority over religious exercises, which the Constitution has directly precluded them from... civil powers alone have been given to the President of the United States and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.

58 comments:

TWM said...

He's literally an empty suit, void of anything of substance, including faith.

TWM said...

BTW, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Ann.

Ralph L said...

I realize someone else writes his stuff, but I wonder if he can make a politics-free address.

LarsPorsena said...

He's pretty much substance-free.

AllenS said...

It would be awkward to mention Allah.

Curious George said...

Maybe his speech writers didn't know how to spell Allahu Akbar?

Curious George said...

Allan:

You beat me because of an edit, which I believe was well worth the effort.

Ralph L said...

Last time, the shocking meat video ad said: "Is this what God intended?"

I'd like a President who will bring up the blessings of liberty, without sounding deceitful.

edwardroyce said...

For a "devout Christian" there's remarkably little actual Christianity in Obama's life. Or Michelle Obama's life. Or his children's lives.

Which reminds me every single time how much a complete jackass that "left behind" author was/is for believing that "devout" nonsense to begin with.

ricpic said...

Happy Thanksgiving All!

Let's try not to think of the vicious punk today.

joewxman said...

Is this a surprise coming from the atheist and chief?

rhhardin said...

Obama keeps bringing up being our brothers' keeper as American spirit.

Who can forget when they asked Jesus where his brother was.

Paul said...

Why is anyone even trying to equalate Obama's speeches with ANY of our former presidents?

Obama does not hold a candle to even Jimmy Carter now.

His speeches are content free, just like his actions.

Cedarford said...

I'm OK with not dragging Jesus and Allah into every secular holiday, or PC-ing religious holidays into an ecumenical Interfaith-Service.

The largest minority in America who are presently ignored, discouraged from running for office - happen to be atheists and agnostics.
I'm somewhat religious, but never have had a belief that certain religious beliefs make someone a 2nd class citizen, or lack of ardent worship, or lack of any worship at all.

Jason said...

A man who doesnt believe in God isnt going to use God in a speech.

"Devout Christian" my ass.

The sites founders. said...

I believe his lack of respect for God come from his unwillingness to be accountable to anyone - including God. The thought that there could be a being "above" him is simply not in his nature.

And, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone - enjoy your family, friends and memories of Thanksgivings gone bye.

caplight said...

I suppose as a pastor I should be upset. Meh.

I agree it is worth noting but that's about it.

PETER V. BELLA said...

Just another political speech from daddy government. Insincere as hell.

rsb said...

Good - leave the fake god crap out of it.

m stone said...

Get on your knees, caplight, if you won't get upset. If the elected leader of the great nation is godless, we need mercy.

James Pawlak said...

Mr. Obama has claimed President Lincoln is his model. He might have just read that real American's Thanksgiving Proclamation----Which certainly gives thanks to the Almighty for our blessings.

Terry said...

I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises... Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the general government.... But it is only proposed that I should recommend, not prescribe a day of fasting and prayer.
Recall that in the 18th century the problem was not religious observance influencing government, but the government influencing religious observance.
European countries with a state church were not then, nor are they now, especially pious.

jacksonjay said...

This guy makes everything political and avoids with a passion the traditions of our country.

No Easter message, but Hajj and Eid al-Adha greetings from Obama. He refused to call the Cardinals after the World Series win reportedly because of LaRussa's political leanings. (I'm a Rangers fan in DFW!) He refused to call the Packers after the Super Bowl win obviously because of his support for the Steelers. Steelers owner is a big supporter of the One!

He couldn't resist a political wise-crack when he pardoned Liberty and Peace!

He honors the history of Country Music with James Taylor??

Obama is a small and petty man!

Saint Croix said...

I woke up this morning thingking I will be nice to President Obama today. Restored his title and everything! Just one day, I swear. Why am I being nice to President Obama today?

Because I am thankful that when he was confronted with whatever intelligence information he got that scared the shit out of him, his response was to take it to Al-Qaeda.

And to keep Guantanamo Bay open.

And to assassinate Osama bin Laden.

And to assassinate Anwar Al-Awlaki.

And to increase the drone attacks.

I have literally no complaints in this area.

I remember the Carter era, and it wasn't anything like this. At all.

President Obama's continued war on Al-Qaeda showed resolve, guts, determination, all kinds of nice things. Kudos.

Tomorrow, I will revert to form. Have a nice bird.

Kit said...

A day of gratitude - after sleeping in, I'm now making my holiday bretzlen. The parade's on, then the Packer game and, later, dinner at a brother-in-laws. I'll focus on the good, today.

Phil 3:14 said...

How do you reconcile these two points:

" we still give thanks for that most American of blessings, the chance to determine our own destiny"

AND

"If we keep that spirit alive, if we support each other, and look out for each other, and remember that we’re all in this together, then I know that we too will overcome the challenges of our time."
"

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J said...

There was a tradition of "thanksgiving" feasts going back to colonial days--at least in New England--but...as Jefferson's proclamation demonstrates, "Thanksgiving" was not an official govt. holiday (and the speech indicates what TJ may have thought about the puritan-calvinist roots). Dishonest Abe signed the Thanksgiving holiday into effect in 1863.

Saint Croix said...

Here is the first two clauses from Jefferson's Bill For Establishing Religious Freedom in Virginia. It disestablished the Anglican church in Virginia. That's the English version of my church, by the way. Nonetheless I believe this to be one of the great American documents.

Jefferson wrote it in 1777. He introduced it into the Virginia Legislature in 1779. Virginia passed it in 1786.

Well aware that

the opinions and belief of men depend not on their own will, but follow involuntarily the evidence proposed to their minds


I love this bit! Your opinions and beliefs are involuntary. They follow the evidence. You accept it. We often put man at the center of the universe. And we arrogantly assume that we have thoughts and these thoughts are true. Jefferson is flipping it around. Thoughts come to us. (From where?) And we involuntarily accept these beliefs, because we recognize the truth in them. Thus Jefferson puts truth outside of us, as something we involuntarily must recognize, like gravity. Brilliant.

that Almighty God hath created the mind free, and manifested his supreme will that free it shall remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint

He is on fire. Now he says the mind is free. Not just free, insusceptible of restraint! He is talking about the lack of power among human agents to control the thoughts of another human being. God hath created the mind free. Jefferson enacts the concept of free will into our sovereign law. Okay, Virginia's law. But man, this is good stuff.

Jefferson was rightly proud of it. (His Presidency, not so much, apparently).

edutcher said...

His mommy, the Commie, would be so proud.

Saint Croix said...

His mommy, the Commie, would be so proud.

I was going, Jefferson? And then I realized, oh, Obama.

Calling Jefferson's mama a Commie seems over the line, somehow. It's a time traveling insult, that's what that is.

TMink said...

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

That is the first paragraph of George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation.

Trey

MayBee said...

Lately he only invokes religion when discussing how the Republicans should do what he wants them to do.

Oligonicella said...

Even Washington could be wrong, Trey.

Christopher in MA said...

Religion free? Of course. "Fuck you" free? Not at all. He's first out of the block to wish a happy Hajj or Eid, but has nothing to say about anything else. It's his plausible-deniablity finger in the eye to us bitter clingers, just like his silly middle finger nose scratch.

He knows just what he's doing. And he counts on the tattered remnants of respect for the office to insulate him. And vast swaths of the country will still vote for this stuttering, pig-ignorant alien.

Bah. I've already given up too much thought to this jackass. Off to turkey and stuffing and no mac n' cheese. A happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Seeing Red said...

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J said...

Jefferson was not making a theological point in the Bill For Establishing Religious Freedom but an empirical one (and as he says evidential). And given that the Bill removed the Anglicans from power (as a quasi-statist church as they are in England) and prevented any church from being the state Church (as bapticks and calvinists of the time so desired) one might say it was an essentially secular document. Ergo, St Croix as usual misreads American history.

And to increase the drone attacks.

Now, that'd be a sign of Providence, bruttthrr. A-men.

caplight said...

Psalm 100 (New International Version)
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Psalm 100

New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 100
A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Freeman Hunt said...

According to Facebook, most people are thankful for their family, friends, and God. Also, for a subset of people, alcohol.

caplight said...

m stone said: "Get on your knees, caplight, if you won't get upset. If the elected leader of the great nation is godless, we need mercy."

After a while I just cease to be amazed and getting is useless. If he and his choose not to acknowledge the basics spiritual and cultural underpinnings of one of the USA's greatest holidays that's on them.

Perhaps one day we will have a day of thanks to Obama set aside as a national observance. He probably thinks he deserves it.

Freeman Hunt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

Additionally, people are very excited about football.

David R. Graham said...

"Recall that in the 18th century the problem was not religious observance influencing government, but the government influencing religious observance. European countries with a state church were not then, nor are they now, especially pious."

First sentence is true, good point. Second sentence over-reaches.

David R. Graham said...

Saint Croix, your exegesis of Jefferson on mind and freedom inspires me. He is expressing in American Enlightenment and his own terms the fundament of ontological philosophy that our civilization traces to classical Greek Idealism. The need was, and is, to find a base or root of freedom that is independent of someone else's let or leave, such as a government's or a church's or a school's or a ... whatever. That base is Reason (Logos) classically and liberty or freedom of the mind from establishment (someone else's let or leave) in the American Enlightenment and Constitution. The Johannine-Augustinian-Franciscan-Lutheran line of Christian theology promotes and rests on the same base, which is universal, transcending all religions, philosophies and things. Thanks again for your inspiring words.

chrisnavin said...

Please don't interrupt the big O when he's Organizing.

Seas---healed
Economy---under 8% unemployment
Foreign Policy---sufficiently bent toward the arc of justice
Race relations---see above. Barack is just the messenger. When you obstruct the democratic party, you obstruct justice.
Health Care---On the way to single payer. The inner city voting block, Frisco, nurses unions and Vermont...rejoice.

Happy Thanksgiving!

J said...

He is expressing in American Enlightenment and his own terms the fundament of ontological philosophy that our civilization traces to classical Greek Idealism.

what a load of BS (most likely byro- sorepaw, the theatre queer troll). Jeff. had read the klassics, but the point on evidence in the Bill ..FERF is a fundamentally Lockean point--ie, empirical, not what you take to be "ontological". Maybe finish that AA, dreck.

Additionally, people are very excited about football.

That'd be Piety, schwesster. No need for that pencilneck Jeeebus.

Terry said...

David R. Graham wrote:
First sentence is true, good point. Second sentence over-reaches.

I was afraid of that.
Let me say instead that in nations with a state-sponsored church, regard for that church and its religious teachings waxes and wanes with respect for the State.

caplight said...

St Croix said: "European countries with a state church were not then, nor are they now, especially pious."

David Graham responded that that is over-reaching. Really? Other than the times of the Wesleyan and the later Welsh revivals (outside of the state church)when has there been a piety in Europe that even compares to ours (flagging though it may be at present)?

Curious where you are coming from on that.

J said...

Johannine-Augustinian-Franciscan-Lutheran line of Christian theology promotes and rests on the same base, which is universal.

You really have no understanding of Jefferson's thinking whatsoever, David Schmutz.

ebonics TJ: All its authority (ie, the Dec.Of.Ind.) rests then on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or in the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, &c. ...

Not exactly St. Augustine or Lutheran. Indeed Locke opposed the divine right of Kings (unlike Aug.).

cubanbob said...

Obama took his oath of office with his hand on a bible but can't bring himself to mention the word God once on a holiday predicated on thanking God?

More and more every day it becomes increasingly obvious that Obama is simultaneously the most disengaged and passive-agreesive president this country has ever had. His administration is a daily reminder from that famous WKRP in Cincinnati Thanksgiving episode where Mr.Carlson states "as God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!"

Paddy O said...

God should be more than rhetorical flair, so I think it's fine and good for someone to have a more inclusive message on this very American sort of holiday.


Happy Thanksgiving to all!

rcommal said...
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rcommal said...
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No Name said...

Obama hates little baby Jesus!

E.M. Davis said...

I'm not offended. Then again, had he invoked God, I wouldn't be offended either.

HDHouse said...

I gather the flock is delighted to celebrate the Pilgrim experience; invite a bunch of your new neighbors for a communal dinner, take their lands and when they object kill them or send them off to someplace else.

Are we thankful that the Pilgrims were all 1%ers? Just a thought.

M.A. said...

His proclamation had some references to God - although most quoted what previous Presidents had said.
I'm not a supporter of Obama by any means, but I think he personally struggles with religion, so it's not going to be out there for him as it was with Carter or Clinton.

I'm willing to give him a pass in that he is at least being more genuine by not pretending to be religious.