Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Top Ten List of Thanksgiving Day Thoughts for Humanists and Nonbelievers

by Gary Berg-Cross

Dave Letterman has a general list. So do various religious groups & regular folks. They have their top 10 lists (e.g. the police wife list) of things to be thankful for. Why not a humanist/nonbeliever list for Thanksgiving? Here’s a start on a list of things I’d wish would happen, that I’m thankful for or that people might say or think about on Thanksgiving.

10. It’s a day after President Obama pardoned 45-pound Liberty and understudy Peace from the butcher's knife ( fifth and sixth turkeys to skip the Thanksgiving feast during his administration. a (20-kilogram). I’d celebrate if he would realized that liberty and peace might be advanced by pardoning Climate Activist Tim DeChristopher Given Two-Year Sentence For Derailing Bush Oil Auction.
9. Historical skeptics may celebrate, educate and entertain their dinner guests with some myth busting facts. There are many to choose from including the apparent fact that the first Thanksgiving, a harvest festival, actually took place in little San Elizario, a community near El Paso, in 1598 -- twenty-three years before the Pilgrims' festival. Nice to know and sharing knowledge is something I’m always thankful for.
8. I celebrate Thanksgiving as a multicultural, humanist event rather than a religious one. Even the Pilgrim festival was more than a family holiday. It was more a multicultural community event. Remember the Pilgrims invited the Indians to join in. The Indian perspective on this is a bit sobering. In 1997 Linda Coombs, Aquinnah Wampanoag, put it this way:
"Thanksgiving is celebrated at the expense of Native Peoples who had to give up their lands and culture for America to become what it is today."
7. I’m glad that America is an exceptional nation. True. At least our founders were an exceptional and enlightened group and we would do well to be more like them or maybe an updated version of them. Now when I look over the crop of current Republican candidates which ones are exceptional like that?
6. I glad that I won’t be bombarded by silly gaffes of politicians this day. Sarah Palin isn’t pardoning turkeys any more right?
5. Some of us can celebrate the failure of the not-so-democratically-super, Super Committee. We can look forward to solving our problems the old fashion way – with people’s and representative involvement.
4. Managing and pulling off a great Thanksgiving feast requires quality planning and critical thinking. Let’s celebrate that type of productive thinking in the wider scope of society. If we can balance and compromise Aunt Marcie’s aversion to strong spices and Henry’s desires for something hot why not try accommodation more

consistently in a civil society?
3. Got space at the table and need to spark some conversation? Maybe there is still time to invite Paul Kurtz and PZ Myers to dine and share some insights on accommodation versus confrontation. It should be interesting to any Millennials attending. I’d sure be thankful for such a visit and free exchange of ideas.
2. Remember who/what to thank. Ken Guthrie a board member of Salt Lake City Pagan Pride made a good start on this - "I'm thanking, first, the universe for allowing me to be alive. I'm thanking my family for being with me, and I give thanks to the turkey that gave its life, the plants on our table, to the Earth itself for being abundant." That’s thinking and speaking clearly.

1. Not sure what is the # one thing to be glad of? One thought is that it’s only 31 days till Tom Flynn (he of "The Trouble with Christmas") goes to work on Dec. 25th. Whose turn is it to give him a call while he's in the office?
You tell me your candidates for being humanistically thankful…..I’m sure that you can improve on the list and I’d celebrate that.


Anonymous said...

Hi Gary,

Tell your merry marchers they're off the hook. Dec. 25 is a Sunday this year so I won't be in the office. I'll spend that Sunday like I spend many Sundays since I abandoned Roman Catholicism -- sleeping late!

Tom Flynn

Gary Berg-Cross said...

Hi back Tom,

I guess we are off the hook for checking up on you till Dec. 25 2012.
Enjoy sleeping late on Sundays till then.