Giving Thanks to No One at MSNBC

If you want to gauge how rabidly secular the left has become, look no further than “The Rachel Maddow Show” Wednesday evening.

MSNBC’s flagship prime-time hour was guest-hosted by Joy Reid, who joined other hosts of color in housekeeping duties Thanksgiving week, filling in for their white host betters, most of whom were on vacation giving thanks, no doubt, that “the help” would do a serviceable job keeping their audiences enthused about the show trials beginning in the House of Representatives in January.

And Joy Reid, at least, did not disappoint.

She even managed to end the Thanksgiving Eve broadcast by simultaneously distorting history and slamming Republicans while delivering the obligatory good wishes for the holiday to come.

First there was the title of her closing segment: “Thank Abraham Lincoln for Thanksgiving.” In fact, Honest Abe had nothing to do with the Thanksgiving holiday save to “invite my fellow citizens” to observe a common date for their Thanksgiving feasts.

It was the U.S. Congress in 1789 that requested President George Washington to issue the first Thanksgiving Proclamation of the federal government, setting aside the 26th Day of November to be observed “by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God,” formalizing traditions that had come down from English settlers in Virginia and Massachusetts more than a century before.

And why didn’t Reid use Washington’s Proclamation? Perhaps because it contained no less than a dozen references to a transcendent creator to whom we owe thanks, an image anathema to the vast majority of progressives, who are hostile to the idea of any governmental expression that presumes the existence of a personal God.

President Lincoln’s Proclamation, on the other hand, featured only half as many references to the Deity as Washington’s, all of which Reid nonetheless scrupulously avoided mentioning, to almost comic effect. Enumerating Lincoln’s list of our nation’s manifold blessings, she stopped the quote after “No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things,” leaving out Lincoln’s conclusion that “these are the gifts of the Most High God.”

She also quoted only the first part of Lincoln’s final thought, in which he invited his fellow-citizens to “set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of Thanksgiving,” leaving out “and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

All we’re left with is that Reid agreed with Lincoln that we, as Americans, should give thanks for the merciful gifts we’ve received, but never mentioned to what or to whom we should give those thanks. Ourselves, maybe? FDR? The DNC?

Reid didn’t stop there. 

She went on to draw a perfunctory parallel between the Civil War’s “casualty reports in the tens of thousands and wrenching debates over freedom versus enslavement” and today’s American landscape, “filled with wildfires, and troops at the border, and wondering when the next indictments will come down,” all attributable to Republicans -- even the wildfires, I suppose, which wouldn’t cause the death and destruction they currently do had Trump not withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord.

Reid went on to say that “it is because of that mellifluous and profound piece of writing from our 16th president that we celebrate Thanksgiving today as a national holiday.” 

That, of course, is shading the truth, as Thanksgiving was not formally set by Congress as a national holiday -- the fourth Thursday of November -- until 1941.

Coming from Joy Reid, however, that shading is hardly surprising. 

She is, after all, the infamous poster of homophobic remarks, 9/11 truther comments, and comparisons of the late John McCain to the Virginia Tech mass murderer, all of which she simultaneously apologized for and denied when discovered, blaming some unknown villain who, she said, must have hacked into her account years before and posted the hateful content on her internet sites to ruin her current career.

It’s a false claim that has been thoroughly debunked, as has any false hope of responsible journalism or fact-based commentary coming from Reid or any other host on her network, daytime or prime time.

Emboldened by success in the midterm elections, the secular left is ascendant and unforgiving and MSNBC, buoyed by record ratings, is unashamed to be their propaganda arm in the runup to the 2020 presidential election.

And why not? When you can celebrate Thanksgiving without thanking God, there’s no shame left to quibble about.

Timothy Philen is an opinion writer and the author of Harper&Row/Lippincott’s “You CAN Run Away From It!,” a satirical indictment of American pop psychology.