Wednesday, November 26, 2008

400-408Michael Medved, host of The Michael Medved Show (, author of The 10 Big Lies About America: Combating Destructive Distortions About Our Nation, will be in Los Angeles Wednesday December 3rd (when he'll broadcast from the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda) and Thursday December 4th (when he'll be at the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center).  We talk about the #1 Big Lie, the American "genocide" of millions of Indians.
413-423Michael Medved, on Big Lie #2 dealing with slavery.
428-437The Real Stories of Thanksgiving
America 's "First" Thanksgiving[s]
Christopher Columbus and the Catholic missionaries who accompanied the Conquistadors surely prayed and offered thanksgiving to God in the New World, but the first official "Thanksgiving Day" was celebrated by the French Protestants in 1564.  Prominent Huguenot leader, Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, envisioned America a refuge for persecuted French Protestants.  He sponsored a group of Huguenots to found Ft. Caroline on Florida 's St. John's River.  The settlement struggled, but reinforcements came just in time to save it.  On June 30, 1564, the group celebrated their first Thanksgiving Festival.  Florida claims the first Thanksgiving. Sadly, the Huguenots were massacred by soldiers who claimed Florida for Spain.  Spanish Catholics established a missionary beachhead that prospered for generations in Florida and throughout the Southwest.  French Catholics extended their reach from Canada and Maine to the Great Lakes, south along the Mississippi to the Gulf Coast back to Florida .
Virginia, too, claims the first Thanksgiving!  In 1607, the first permanent English settlement was established in Jamestown.  As elsewhere, settlers were motivated by profit opportunity and faith.  Rev. Robert Hunt led the Englishmen in a Eucharist of thanksgiving and praise - consecrating the colony to God.  Unlike the Puritans northward, these settlers were rooted in the Anglican Church.
Americans draw their Thanksgiving vision from the Pilgrims and Puritans of Massachusetts.  We owe them the spirit that shaped the beginnings of the American social order: the Mayflower Compact; acknowledgement of God as the basis for civil and religious authority; and the dream that America could model Biblical Christianity in our political order and become a "city upon a hill."  Only half of the Pilgrims survived the first winter of 1620.  Miraculously helped by friendly Indians, a small band persevered through the meager harvest of 1621.  Governor William Bradford proclaimed the month of November to be dedicated to "Thanksgiving unto the Lord." 
In 1623, Bradford proclaimed another Thanksgiving - the Thanksgiving most Americans picture:  "In as much as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetable, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November ye 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings. William Bradford, Ye Governor of Ye Colony."
While Americans adhere to many faiths today, our national religious heritage derives from a broad range of early settlers.  Yet scholars agree that the New England Puritans were the predominant spiritual force in 17th century America (see Dictionary of Christianity in America, Daniel G. Reid, Editor, Intervarsity Press, 1990, American Quotations, Wm. Federer, Amerisearch, Inc., 2001).
• Elizabeth Armstrong, Christian Science Monitor (2002), The First Thanksgiving. 
She points out there are only two surviving historical sources to the first Thanksgiving:  (1) colonist Edward Winslow's letter to a friend dated December 1621, mentioning some of the food and activities, and (2) a book written by William Bradford in 1641, that was stolen then lost for almost 200 years, until it resurfaced again in 1854.  Here's a passage from Winslow's Letter,
"Our harvest being gotten in, our Governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a more special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the Company almost a week, at which time, among other Recreations, we exercised our Arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoit, with some 90 men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted and they went out and killed five Deer, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others."
What historians do know about Thanksgiving:  (1) The first Thanksgiving was a harvest celebration in 1621 that lasted for three days, (2) likely between Sept. 21 and Nov. 11.  (3) Approximately 90 Wampanoag Indians and 52 colonists participated, the latter mostly women and children.  (4) The Wampanoag, led by Chief Massasoit, contributed at least five deer to the feast.  (5) Cranberry sauce, potatoes - white or sweet - and pies were not on the menu.  (6) The Pilgrims and Wampanoag communicated through Squanto, a member of the Patuxet tribe, who knew English because he had associated with earlier explorers.  (7) Besides meals, the event included recreation and entertainment.  (8) Abraham Lincoln named Thanksgiving an annual holiday in 1863 to be celebrated the last Thursday of November.
A 19th century "Martha Stewart," named Sarah Josepha Hale, is largely responsible for our modern Thanksgiving!   In 1854, as editor of Godey's Lady's Book, Hale filled its pages with recipes and editorials about Thanksgiving, all based upon Winslow's brief passage.  That year, Bradford's history of the Plymouth Plantation had resurfaced.  Hale wrote of – you guessed it – roasted turkey, savory stuffing, and pumpkin pies, none of which appeared at the original celebration – nor did forks.  In 1858, she petitioned president Buchanan to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday, and though he declined, five years later in 1863, Abraham Lincoln consented, and declared the last Thursday of November a national holiday known as Thanksgiving.  Hale wrote, "We have too few holidays. . . . Thanksgiving like the Fourth of July should be considered a national festival and observed by all our people. There is a deep moral influence in these periodical seasons of rejoicing, in which whole communities participate. They bring out . . . the best sympathies in our natures."
443-452 – • Last year, we talked with Kim Wier, founder of Engaging Women Ministries in Texas ( and co-author of Redeeming the Season: Simple Ideas for a Memorable and Meaningful Christmas, about how we can bring our families closer tomorrow in a fun and meaningful way!
1) Create a "Table of Thanks" tablecloth, where each year you have all your guests write in the same color Sharpie what they're thankful for that year, and then in successive years, change the color so you can one day have a family history on the color-filled table cloth.
2) And, buy all the kids some inexpensive carpenter aprons so they can decorate their own tablecloth too!
3) Have the young girls gather up forest items to make this year's table decorations.
4) All the guests get their own table place card with a special blessing you've written just for them.
5) Have kids draw what they're thankful for, and then do an art show with their explanations after dinner.
6) For teens, have a karaoke machine for them to sing to and have the adults join in too!
7) Have the kids show you how good they are at their favorite video game.
8) Have everyone have to rap what they're thankful for.
9) Everybody says one thing they're thankful for regarding the person on their left.
10) Conversation starters are put on cards in a big bowl or just laying around on the table, and everyone takes turns.
• Myrna Blyth (11/26/08) Let's Talk Turkey: A family celebration.  The average American will consume 4,500 calories tomorrow!
458-508Dr. John Townsend, clinical psychologist, marriage and family therapist, and co-host of the nationally-syndicated radio program New Life Live ( heard weekdays here on KKLA at 2:00pm, on how to deal with those "difficult" relatives around the holidays.  His latest book is Loving People: How to Love and Be Loved.
512-523Dr. John Townsend
528-538 Dr. John Townsend
544-554Who's right?  Those who say the schools should celebrate Thanksgiving or those who say allowing students to dress up as pilgrims and Native Americans is demeaning?
• LAT (11/26/08) Police called over Thanksgiving dispute at Claremont school.  Tensions rise as foes and backers of a longtime celebration involving kindergartners in Indian and pilgrim costumes demonstrate outside Condit Elementary. The district eliminated the costumes this year.
• LAT (11/25/08) Claremont parents clash over kindergarten Thanksgiving costumes.  Some say having students dress up as pilgrims and Native Americans is 'demeaning.' Their opponents say they are elitists injecting politics into a simple children's celebration.
644-655What are you thankful for?
(1:10) Jack Hibbs warning his congregation that people who disturb the services at his church will be prosecuted.  But they are still loved.
(:31) Jay Leno making a joke on Monday's show (11/24/08) about Canada's new ruling that obese people can get 2 plane seats for the price of 1.
• NRO Editorial (11/26/08) Not So Holy.

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