November 30, 2019

Subject: The True Meaning of Thanksgiving. Don’t Let Our PC Culture Fool You

2Corinthians 9:15 “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”

Ed Croteau

In 2007, the Seattle Public School System issued a letter to all teachers from Caprice Hollins, Director of Equity, Race & Learning Support, entitled ‘Deconstructing the Myths of ‘The First Thanksgiving’. In that letter, Hollins explained that we had gotten it all wrong for hundreds of years. She explained to the Seattle educators of our youth that Thanksgiving is actually “a time of mourning” for its Native American students.

Two of her 11 “facts” about Thanksgiving? First, the Pilgrims were actually “rigid fundamentalists” who came “fully intending to take the land away from its native inhabitants”. Second, instead of a happy time, “Thanksgiving is a time of mourning for many native Americans, a bitter reminder of 500 years of betrayal returned for friendship”. Hollins never defended her letter from the outpouring of scholarly criticisms. The school district said it was an effort “to be sensitive to minorities in Seattle schools”. More of our PC culture!

Michael Medved, nationally syndicated radio host and author of ‘God’s Hand in America’, had this to say: “The notion that now you have a major school system sending out a message that rather than expressing thanks we should emphasize guilt on this holiday is sick, it is destructive and it is anti-American.” In his own article entitled ‘What’s the Truth about the first Thanksgiving?’, Medved shares the true historical accounts of what really occurred in 1620. Let’s read below, and discover what Thanksgiving is all about.

“The Pilgrims didn’t cross the ocean to flee persecution. They’d been living in Holland, a haven for religious dissenters. Free from the Church of England, they feared seduction, not persecution, worrying that their children would be corrupted by the materialistic Dutch culture. That’s why they risked their dangerous 1620 voyage to a wilderness continent: not because they were running from oppression, but because they were running toward holiness – fulfilling a fateful mission to build an ideal Christian commonwealth.

They planned to plant this model society on the island known to natives as Manhattan, but winds and tides blew the Mayflower 250 miles off course, onto the Massachusetts coast. The Pilgrims saw their situation as a demonstration of providential power, after a giant wave picked up the boat of their scouting party and deposited them safely on a little island within sight of the ideal location for their settlement. It was a deserted Indian village with cleared land, stored supplies of corn, and a reliable source of fresh water.

They never invaded that village. They wanted to pay the natives for the dried corn they found. But the former inhabitants had perished from a plague – probably smallpox – that preceded their arrival. One of the few survivors turned up months later to welcome them. Against all odds, he proved to be the single person on the continent best-suited to help them, since he spoke English and had already embraced Christianity!

His name was Squanto. He had grown up in this very village before a ruthless sea captain kidnapped him as a boy and sold him into slavery in Spain. After 4 years, he was freed by kindly monks, he made his way to England, then sailed across the Atlantic – only to find his friends and family all wiped out by disease.

For the next few months, Squanto helped the Pilgrims plant crops and negotiate a friendly trade agreement with the region’s chief – Massasoit. Pilgrim leader William Bradford called Squanto ‘a special instrument sent of God for their good.’ This trade agreement became known as ‘The First Thanksgiving,’ with a 3-day festival inspired by the Biblical Feast of Tabernacles. 90 hungry Indian warriors joined the 53 surviving Pilgrims for this occasion (nearly half the colonists had died during the brutal winter). The Pilgrims provided vegetables, fish and turkeys, while the natives brought 5 deer as house gifts. The preferred sport on this occasion wasn’t football, but shooting, with settlers and Indians sharing a fierce fascination with guns.

The sense of purpose of the original Pilgrims left a permanent imprint on America’s character. They maintained unshakable confidence that God protected them – not to grant special privileges, but to impose special responsibilities. They saw themselves as instruments, not authors, of a mysterious master plan.

Today, with our continued blessings so obvious, the only reason to treat this beloved national holiday as ‘a time of mourning’ is that some foolish Americans think that’s a good idea. The Pilgrims knew better. They understood that people of every culture and every era can gain more from gratitude than from guilt.”

That’s the message of our verse for this week. Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful to the God of the Bible for His indescribable gift – which Squanto embraced – His Son Jesus Christ, the focus of Christianity.

Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at