President Obama issued a Thanksgiving proclamation, honoring a holiday that “brings us closer to our loved ones and invites us to reflect on the blessings that enrich our lives.” He added, “As we gather in our communities and in our homes, around the table or near the hearth, we give thanks to each other and to God for the many kindnesses and comforts that grace our lives.”
The president also delivered an address on Thanksgiving, paying thanks to U.S. servicemen and women, those who volunteer in their communities, and American traditions. Obama added:
“With all the partisanship and gridlock here in Washington, it’s easy to wonder if such unity is really possible. But think about what’s happening at this very moment: Americans from all walks of life are coming together as one people, grateful for the blessings of family, community, and country.
“If we keep that spirit alive, if we support each other, and look out for each other, and remember that we’re all in this together, then I know that we too will overcome the challenges of our time.”
Almost immediately, in a rather ironic twist, right-wing voices rejected the idea that we’re all in this together, and condemned the address. Apparently, Obama said “we give thanks to God” in his proclamation, but that was insufficient, because Obama didn’t also mention God in his address.
Critics of President Obama felt little holiday cheer after the president made no reference to God in his Thanksgiving-themed weekly Internet address. They immediately took to Twitter and the Internet to voice anger and disbelief.
“Holy cow! Is that one screwed up or what?” columnist Sherman Frederick of the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote in a Thanksgiving-morning blog post. “Somebody ought to remind Obama (and his speechwriter) that when Americans sit down around a meal today and give thanks, they give thanks to God.”
Over on the website of Fox News Radio, radio host Todd Starnes also took issue. “His remarks were void of any religious references, although Thanksgiving is a holiday traditionally steeped in giving thanks and praise to God,” Starnes wrote.
Obama Derangement Syndrome isn’t pretty.
For one thing, the president specifically included a religious message in his proclamation. That really ought to be good enough for those desperate to see government officials use their offices to promote religiosity.
For another, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum also issued secular Thanksgiving statements, and for some reason, the right isn’t whining about this.
Ultimately, though, religious people shouldn’t need elected officials to help them celebrate religious aspects of holidays in the first place. To make a fuss about this is absurd, even for conservatives.