Against Thanksgiving

From last year.

Opus Publicum


Some people won’t like this, but I find no reason to celebrate Thanksgiving. Yes, yes, I know, according to Dale Ahlquist over at Catholic World Report, today is allegedly a “Catholic holiday” because the Patuxet Indian Squanto, who converted to Catholicism after being sold as a slave in Spain, arranged a harvest feast with the Plymouth invaders. From there Thanksgiving was born (or so they say). I imagine more than a few Catholics stormed the Bastille, too, but I see no reason why any should celebrate its commemoration. (I do think Catholics should celebrate Guy Fawkes Day, but I’ll save that matter for another time.) Thanksgiving has also become a day when Catholics (and other Christians) celebrate America’s “proud legacy” of religious freedom despite the fact that no such legacy actually exists. It took Catholics centuries to find pockets of toleration in America and once they thought they found…

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One comment

  1. Hmm, that strikes me as a bit much. Harvest festivals are eminently and appropriately Catholic, and Thanksgiving is simply an American harvest festival with a touch of successful-voyage festival. Successful-voyage festivals are also eminently and appropriately Catholic. The Spanish explorers who settled St. Augustine held a very Thanksgiving-like thanksgiving festival there.

    One does not have to become an apologist for every act of one’s country in order to participate in an event that has secular or civic elements. There would be nothing to owe Caesar in that instance. Nor would there be much to owe one’s friends and family, since these people inescapably live in a particular place and time in history and must be interacted with and served in a context that includes the backdrop of one’s imperfect, or even profoundly immoral, civic setting.

    Yes, the Puritans were dour, deplorable heretics. But I don’t think they should be given an unearned monopoly on turkey and dressing.

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