Skip to comments.Ben Franklin's Politically Incorrect Thanksgiving
Posted on 11/23/2005 7:57:37 PM PST by neverdem
There is a tradition that in the planting of New England, the first settlers met with many difficulties and hardships, as is generally the case when a civilizd people attempt to establish themselves in a wilderness country. Being so piously disposd, they sought relief from heaven by laying their wants and distresses before the Lord in frequent set days of fasting and prayer. Constant meditation and discourse on these subjects kept their minds gloomy and discontented, and like the children of Israel there were many disposd to return to the Egypt which persecution had inducd them to abandon.
At length, when it was proposed in the Assembly to proclaim another fast, a farmer of plain sense rose and remarkd that the inconveniences they sufferd, and concerning which they had so often wearyd heaven with their complaints, were not so great as they might have expected, and were diminishing every day as the colony strengthend; that the earth began to reward their labour and furnish liberally for their subsistence; that their seas and rivers were full of fish, the air sweet, the climate healthy, and above all, they were in the full enjoyment of liberty, civil and religious.
He therefore thought that reflecting and conversing on these subjects would be more comfortable and lead more to make them contented with their situation; and that it would be more becoming the gratitude they owd to the divine being, if instead of a fast they should proclaim a thanksgiving. His advice was taken, and from that day to this, they have in every year observd circumstances of public felicity sufficient to furnish employment for a Thanksgiving Day, which is therefore constantly ordered and religiously observed.
(Excerpt) Read more at humaneventsonline.com ...
For this, he will be banned from public school. Actually, many people claim he was a deist.
Deism was common in Franklin's time. Deism was promoted by the very influential Philosopher, David Hume.
Happy Thanksgiving bump.
Either way, we need to remember that this feast was all about thanking God for what they had been provided.
Have you ever read Franklin's autobiography? He writes about his religious beliefs. I don't know exactly what people mean by "deist" - likely there are many viewpoints. He went to some churches for a while; but later did not attend. But read the Bible, prayed, and believed in God. And promoted church attendance for the general population with his words, deeds, and money.
The deist belief is in a supreme being. Many anti Christian leftists(oxymoron) like to believe that many of the founders(if not all) were deists. These men were clearly Christians even though some of them put their foot in the pool of deism. The erudite of the time considered deism to be the best, most logical religion.
On Thanksgiving Day 2005, thank God for modern technology, which has made it possible for us to have direct access to the prolific writings of Washington, Madison, the Adamses, Jefferson, Franklin, and the signers of our Constitution!
About the time that the "thought police" believed they had expunged from ordinary public libraries and public schools the books and writings of the Founders, along comes a far more excellent and effective means of proliferating America's Founding ideas--the Internet. This technology has enabled generations who might never have traveled to a distant library, searched through dusty stacks, and found the actual words of the Founders themselves, to read from original documents and texts.
Take, for instance, these words of Thomas Jefferson, in his Letter To Rev. Jared Sparks, 4 November 1820 (L&B 15:288):
"I hold the precepts of Jesus, as delivered by Himself, to be the most pure, benevolent, and sublime which have ever been preached to man. . . . The religion of Jesus is founded in the Unity of God, and this principle chiefly, gave it triumph over the rabble of heathen gods then acknowledged. Thinking men of all nations rallied readily to the doctrine of one only God, and embraced it with the pure morals which Jesus inculcated. If the freedom of religion, guaranteed to us by law in theory, can ever rise in practice under the overbearing inquisition of public opinion, truth will prevail over fanaticism, and the genuine doctrines of Jesus, so long perverted by His pseudo-priests, will again be restored to their original purity. This reformation will advance with the other improvements of the human mind, but too late for me to witness it."
And, To Doctor Benjamin Waterhouse, 26 June 1822 (L&B 15:383-5):
"The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man.
1.. That there is only one God, and He all perfect.
2.. That there is a future state of rewards and punishment.
3.. That to love God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself, is the sum of religion."
After a comparison with the his understanding of the doctrines of Calvin, Jefferson concluded:
"Had the doctrines of Jesus been preached always as pure as they came from his lips, the whole civilized world would now have been Christian. I rejoice that in this blessed country of free inquiry and belief, which has surrendered its creed and conscience to neither kings nor priests, the genuine doctrine of one only God is reviving, and I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die a Unitarian."
Of course, these are only a few of Jefferson's words that are never quoted by the Radical Left, who only use his single phrase from a letter to the Danbury Baptists which they have misappropriated in their battle to exclude discussions of religious matters from the public square.
No I don't know the specific inclinations of Franklin. However, the idea of Deism in which a god creates the universe and then abandons it from any further meddling was in favor with Deists. The notion of religion or churches are not abhorrent to Deists. They just didn't subscribe to a personal God who watched over your every move or directed your actions. I think the Deists saw value in the God of Abraham who was the final arbiter in good and evil rather than an absolute monarch.
Remember, the Book of Moses sets down for the first time a history, the God of the Jews, and a set of laws. It gave the Jews self determination without the need of a human authority assuming godlike qualities like the Pharaoh. The Jews placed certain rights of authority beyond any human, and followed God's law.
The founding fathers took this one step further and defined those inalienable rights and created a living document and framework for it to evolve. Their intent is not to live under the rule of an absolute monarch or a ruler falsely claiming godlike qualities.
The two Adams presidents belonged to a Unitarian Church. They are now buried within it in Quincy, Massachusetts. In their time Unitarians still identified as Christians. Less than 100 years later the Unitarians no longer considered themselves as Christians. They identify more with humanism than religion. They claim to accept all religions but really abhor the idea of a personal god. I would say they identify with Deism but not with the inalienable rights of man. They are now full blooded socialists.
You would probably be interested in his autobiograpy. I read it last year; don't have it any more. I would say from my memory that he wouldn't be the kind of Deist who thinks God has no hand in the affairs of men.
***When an impasse had been reached at the Continental Congress, Benjamin Franklin called for prayer with these words:
"I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? I therefore beg leave to move--that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business"
Note: this topic is from 11/23/2005. Thanks neverdem.
He wanted to have a Chaplain open prayer when they were writing the Constitution, but there wasn’t enough money to pay for one. (A fact which I don’t understand...)
My goodness, this is an old thread. That is odd, I would assume many chaplains would have been glad to offer a prayer without being compensated.
I got a ping. I didn’t even notice how old this is! I didn’t read the ping notice fully. I would’ve assumed the same thing. Or else someone would pay out of their own pockets. Some of these guys were as rich as Croesus.
Funny how an old thread gets resurrected now and then. Maybe it was such a custom to reimburse or offer a monetary gift to chaplains that he couldn’t imagine not doing so; but as you note, many had plenty of their own pocket money.
Nothing at the link, but a great statement at the synopsis from Ol’ Ben.
FReep Mail me if you want on, or off, this Revolutionary War/Founding Father ping list.
On the bright side, somebody searched before posting. The poster won’t be roasted by the hordes for posting a dupe. We should all give thanks for that!
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