November 23, 2004

Pilgrims' Progress

Michelle Malkin links to a Fox News story about Maryland school kids not being taught about the religious component of Thanksgiving's roots.

From the headline, it seems the kids are being taught to thank "anybody but God" as part of their own Thanksgiving study and celebration. Well, whatever. Maybe I'm getting jaded in my old age, but this would not particularly surprise me, nor would it especially upset me anymore.

But this bit shows the true lunacy of the whole business:

But what teachers don't mention when they describe the feast is that the Pilgrims not only thanked the Native Americans for their peaceful three-day indulgence, but repeatedly thanked God.

"We teach about Thanksgiving from a purely historical perspective, not from a religious perspective," said Charles Ridgell, St. Mary's County Public Schools curriculum and instruction director.

I'd say that if Charles Ridgell believes the history of Puritan colonialism can somehow be taught without any reference to the Puritans' religious beliefs, he's either an apparachnik of Stalinist proportion or else an utter moron. Perhaps both.

Let me make it clear to you, Chucky: The Puritans were extremely religious people. Not teaching this fact distorts the "historical perspective," thereby doing a grave disservice to the kiddies. (Out of curiosity, how on earth do you explain the Pilgrims' presense in Massachusetts? Were they there for the hiking? Or was this rag-tag group of people merrily starving to death at Plymouth just to be first in line for Patriots' season tickets? The World wonders.)

On the other hand, even if Little Johnny is a card-carrying athiest, teaching him about the religious motivations of historical figures or movements is not going to give him their cooties. That is not religious indoctrination any more than discussing the power struggle between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq today is an invitation to convert to Islam.


Speaking of Thanksgiving, I saw something in this past Sunday's children's page of the WaPo's comics that was both refreshingly candid and rather chilling at the same time. It was a story about the first English-speaking Thanksgiving in America, which actually took place at Berkeley Hundred in Virginia in December, 1619, almost a year before the Plymouth celebration. What was remarkable was that the article concluded by explaining that the reason this fact is not better known is that virtually the entire colony was wiped out by Indian raids within a year or two. In this day and age of hyper-sensitivity, I was rather surprised that the WaPo would print something so brutally stark.

Posted by Robert at November 23, 2004 05:23 PM | TrackBack

"Saint" Mary's County? In Maryland that was founded by Catholic refugees from England? And they can't even hint about God's place in Thanksgiving?

The Maryland of the Calverts and the Carrolls?

Somebody needs a reality check, and I don't think its Robert or me.

Posted by: John at November 23, 2004 09:58 PM

I teach here in California. In our district, we ARE being actively discouraged from celebrating any part of Thanksgiving. But then again, this is the same bunch that told a colleague at my junior high school to remove a tiny nativity that she had behind her desk last year.

Posted by: EdWonk at November 23, 2004 11:52 PM

The first Thanksgiving was not untill 1622, the whole 1619 Thanksgiving is being spread by professors at southern universities upset that Jamestown was nearly written out of the history books after the Civil War. The truth being that just because Jamestown existed before Plymouth Colony does not mean more inportant. It was a failed colony. Silly southeners, history is for the north to write.

Posted by: brew at November 24, 2004 10:20 AM
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