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Students Free to Thank Anybody, Except God

Old 11-24-04, 09:55 AM
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Students Free to Thank Anybody, Except God

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,139304,00.html


Students Free to Thank Anybody, Except God
Monday, November 22, 2004
By Laurel Lundstrom

ANNAPOLIS, Md. Maryland public school students are free to thank anyone they want while learning about the 17th century celebration of Thanksgiving (search) as long as it's not God.

And that is how it should be, administrators say.

Young students across the state read stories about the Pilgrims (search) and Native Americans, simulate Mayflower (search) voyages, hold mock feasts and learn about the famous meal that temporarily allied two very different groups.

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 (oh the irony) Public Schools curriculum and instruction director.

School administrators statewide agree, saying religion never coincides with how they teach Thanksgiving to students.

Too much censorship can compromise a strong curriculum, some educators said.

"Schools don't want to do anything that would influence or act against the religious preferences of their students," said Lissa Brown, Maryland State Teacher's Association assistant executive director. "But the whole subject of religious toleration is a part of our history and needs to be taught."

Brown, a former social studies teacher, said she was surprised to hear schools aren't teaching about the Pilgrims' faith in God.

Teaching about a secular Thanksgiving counters the holiday's original premise as stated by George Washington in his Thanksgiving Day proclamation: "It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor." (stupid George Bush and his constant references to God...oh George Washington, nevermind)

Such omissions also deny the Pilgrims' religious fervor in the celebration of Thanksgiving, as related by Harry Hornblower, an archaeologist who spent years researching the history of the holiday.

According to the Web site Plimoth.org, dedicated to Hornblower's research, the Pilgrims "fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean."

Thanksgiving, the site said, derived from their belief that "a series of misfortunes meant that God was displeased, and the people should both search for the cause and humble themselves before him. Good fortune, on the other hand, was a sign of God's mercy and compassion, and therefore he should be thanked and praised."

But researchers like Hornblower aren't mentioned in classrooms. "We don't focus on religion, because it is not a part of our curriculum," said Sandra Grulich, Cecil County Schools' elementary school curriculum coordinator.

Opponents of censorship worry that by omitting such religious material from lesson plans, educators are compromising their students' education.

"School administrators need to get a backbone," said Joel Whitehead, president and lawyer at the Rutherford Institute, a constitutional rights defense organization. "We are in real danger of throwing out cultural heritage in our country if we don't know what Thanksgiving is really about."

Mentioning that the Pilgrims were Puritan is about as close as most administrators are willing to step to integrate religion into their curriculums.

"We mention they were Puritan but students usually just understand that they had a belief system and not much more than that," said Carol Williamson, Queen Anne's County Schools' associate superintendent.

Thanksgiving is usually taught as a part of social studies and emphasizes cultural immersion.

"The Pilgrim Story is read in Spanish and English," said Alfreda Adams, principal at Mills-Parole Elementary School in Anne Arundel County where 70 Hispanic students attend. "We make sure that we celebrate all cultures."

The Mayflower, Pilgrims, Native Americans become enduring symbols to students before the two-day hiatus they are granted each year to spend time with their families.

"In elementary school we learned that the Pilgrims came to the Indians and they all had a feast," said Emmanuel Cobington, 13, a seventh-grader at Annapolis Middle School.

Emmanuel said his teachers never mentioned that the holiday was religious, but he added that he learns about different denominations in some of his classes.

"We learn about different religions like Judaism and Christianity in our social studies classes," he said.

Whitehead advocates for more classes like Emmanuel's and says it is harmful to students when administrators censor curriculums for fear of offending someone.

"Education is inevitably going to offend someone," said Whitehead. "We need to get beyond being politically correct, or everything will be glossed over."
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Old 11-24-04, 10:02 AM
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"School administrators need to get a backbone," said Joel Whitehead, president and lawyer at the Rutherford Institute, a constitutional rights defense organization. "We are in real danger of throwing out cultural heritage in our country if we don't know what Thanksgiving is really about."


There isn't even a glimmer in my eye for children yet, but if I have them - they will NOT being going to public schools. PERIOD.
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Old 11-24-04, 10:05 AM
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Thanksgiving is about God ?

Last edited by Brain Stew; 11-24-04 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 11-24-04, 10:06 AM
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It's about "giving thanks..." and the Pilgrims repeatedly thanked God for blessing them in oh so many ways.
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Old 11-24-04, 10:08 AM
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I just don't see the controversy, on either side.

If you don't want them to mention God in the school play, that's the school's choice. Does any of this really matter? I have trouble feeling the outrage about these stories.
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Old 11-24-04, 10:14 AM
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If you don't want them to mention God in the school play, that's the school's choice. Does any of this really matter? I have trouble feeling the outrage about these stories.
Here's the problem:
The school's choice eh? The choice of WHOM? The choice of the parents? The school board? Administrators?

It should be the PARENTS choice for what a child learns. Unfortunately for most, the government has a pretty darn good monopoly on education. After paying the taxes for this "excellent" (sarcasm on) school system, they can't afford the choice to send them somewhere else.
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Old 11-24-04, 10:19 AM
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Wow....

I'm glad we could bring the libertarian argument into this thread.

Listen the school did something stupid, but I'm sure the kids will manage to get through it. Who cares? Is it really important that we learn that they were thanking God? I thought the real point was that they survived a harsh winter by (temporarily) befriending the indigenous people.

1 school somewhere made a weird choice. I'm pretty sure considering how many schools there are out there even if they all went private, some of them would still make weird choices.

But I am glad that we are worried whether the kids know about God or not. He doesn't get a lot of press and this will be a big boost to him. Hopefully one day the kids will learn about things that are palpable like science or math or even literature. But hey, they NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GOD!!!!!111
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Old 11-24-04, 10:21 AM
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I think it's another damned if you, damned if you don't decision. The school obviously is afraid of projecting any kind of allegiance to a "god", and who knows, some Muslim mother would scream if this god was a Christian, which the pilgrims thanked.

The political crap just never ends, so I don't think the administrators are so much out of line.

But this is what happens when being PC gets into the schools. It clouds common sense judgment.
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Old 11-24-04, 10:23 AM
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Originally posted by Brain Stew
Thanksgiving is about God ?
Always has been... who did you think you were thanking, the NFL commissioner?

Lincoln's Thanksgiving proclimation - He reinstated after the tradition had died out for awhile
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

Here are some of Roosevelt's proclimations (it was during his term that it was instituted as a national holiday) http://www.pilgrimhall.org/ThanxProc1940.htm


Unfortunately I can't find the text of the 1941 joint resolution that instituted it

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Old 11-24-04, 10:24 AM
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Originally posted by nemein
Always has been... who did you think you were thanking, the NFL commissioner?
I never really thought about it like that. I just thought it was a day to celebrate the Puritans survival in America.
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Old 11-24-04, 10:34 AM
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My libertarian blood shows, huh?

I thought the real point was that they survived a harsh winter by (temporarily) befriending the indigenous people.
That's the problem! What's been taught for so long is the schools rewriting history! You can't change history simply because it might offend someone NOW.

http://www.porterelem.com/Specials/S...-5/pilmyth.htm


And P.S. where can I meet a Harry Hornblower? LMAO

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Old 11-24-04, 10:35 AM
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Right, because as we all know, this is an isolated incident.....
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Old 11-24-04, 10:35 AM
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"We teach about Thanksgiving from a purely historical perspective, not from a religious perspective," said Charles Ridgell, St. Mary's County (oh the irony) Public Schools curriculum and instruction director.

WTF? He actually thinks religion has no place in history? We should be free to defend or criticize religion, but to pretend it's not there - that is messed up.
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Old 11-24-04, 10:42 AM
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teaching history should still involve reporting the facts, and the facts are that thanksgiving was the pilgrims giving thanks to their God. religion is a major part of history. I know the modern liberal culture wants to snuff out christianity, but this is ridiculous.


pathetic.
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Old 11-24-04, 10:44 AM
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I'm just having trouble getting in a huff over this. Teach the God stuff, don't teach the God stuff. What's the difference?
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Old 11-24-04, 10:47 AM
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It's not simply about the God stuff to me (even though I am born again)

When is it okay to re-write history?
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Old 11-24-04, 10:50 AM
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Originally posted by mosquitobite
It's not simply about the God stuff to me (even though I am born again)

When is it okay to re-write history?
Is it re-writing history when they claim that the pilgrims came here to pursue freedom when they started ensalving people and trying to Christianize the savages? Because that's the same line they've fed to people for a long time.

History is really a tricky subject. Save for the Scientific Revolution, religion really isn't related to any other school subject.
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Old 11-24-04, 10:52 AM
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Originally posted by Brain Stew
I'm just having trouble getting in a huff over this. Teach the God stuff, don't teach the God stuff. What's the difference?
what others said. if they are going to teach the history of Thanksgiving, teach it accurately.
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Old 11-24-04, 10:53 AM
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Originally posted by Brain Stew
Is it re-writing history when they claim that the pilgrims came here to pursue freedom when they started ensalving people and trying to Christianize the savages? Because that's the same line they've fed to people for a long time.

History is really a tricky subject. Save for the Scientific Revolution, religion really isn't related to any other school subject.
How involved were the pilgrims in the slave trade?
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Old 11-24-04, 10:56 AM
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i think the problem i and others have with this is that this school, just like many other organizations citing the 'seperation of church and state', interpret that clause in such a way that results in the prohibiting of even the mention of God in anything that is associated with government. the pilgrims came here largely so that they could practice their religion freely. if a school chooses to omit that fact because it involves talking about God, then it is indeed rewriting history in favor of being politically correct, and thats wrong.
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Old 11-24-04, 11:02 AM
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Originally posted by Venusian
How involved were the pilgrims in the slave trade?
They weren't - the slave trade began later when certain people realized there could be economic advantages if they owned their labor force indefinitely rather than having indentured servants or actually paying people a wage. And in the process they took advantage of a certain populace's skin color.

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Old 11-24-04, 11:02 AM
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Why would people be against teaching history accurately? The argument is that they are no worse off not knowing? That could apply to a lot of history, and it would be just as wrong.

Let's teach World Politics and when we get to the part about the Middle East, let's just pretend they are mad for no good reason. Keep religion out of schools.
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Old 11-24-04, 11:08 AM
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Whitehead advocates for more classes like Emmanuel's and says it is harmful to students when administrators censor curriculums for fear of offending someone.
heaven forbid that anyone gets offended...
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Old 11-24-04, 11:11 AM
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kvrdave let's not forget when we get to WWII in History class we can't mention WHY 6 million people died...
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Old 11-24-04, 11:14 AM
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Originally posted by mosquitobite
kvrdave let's not forget when we get to WWII in History class we can't mention WHY 6 million people died...
They already neglect to mention the millions (some estimates range up to 19 million) of Eastern European Slavs that the Nazis murdered, what's another 6?
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