The Harvest Festival of Thanksgiving

By Dr. Paul Jehle, Executive Director
Plymouth Rock Foundation
 

At this time of year many people reflect upon the Pilgrims and the origin of our American Thanksgiving holiday. Some contend that it either never occurred or was not a friendly affair with a legacy of genocide. Hopefully some context and clarity can help remove these myths and bring factual balance. Consider some of these facts: (1) We do not know when the actual harvest feast occurred, though we know it was the fall of 1621. (2) We don't know if the Pilgrims invited their Native neighbors to a pre-planned event, but we know they feasted together. (3) The Natives provided much of the food, and though they had turkey, venison ruled the day.

 
The Pilgrims (who were not called "pilgrims" until late in the 18th century), as children of the Reformation, "separatists" from the established Church of England, called for days of prayer as well as days of thanksgiving. Days of solemn prayer (and often fasting) were times of repentance for sin; known or unknown. Days of thanksgiving were called when specific answers to those prayers occurred. Neither of these was the origin of the harvest festival in the fall of 1621.
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The Hypocrisy of the Right

It seems to be a popular notion among the conservative right to think that hypocrisy is the exclusive domain of the liberal left. However, in recent years I have become increasingly aware of the presence of hypocrisy infecting the political right and I find it quite disturbing.

Hypocrisy is subtle and beguiling. Like the Pharisees of old, you can fall into hypocrisy without even realizing it – being blind to your own gradual departure from the righteous standard while still calling yourself an enlightened guide to the blind. I believe the Christian-conservative-right would do well to take a reality check and ask God to show us any places where we have let this insidious disease creep in and influence us to engage in practices that do not align with what we preach.

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How Much Money Each State Saves Thanks to Homeschooling

As many recognize, homeschooling has been booming in recent years and promises to keep growing. The most recent numbers from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) hail from 2012 and suggest that 1.8 million children are now educated at home.

Compared to public school students, studies suggest that homeschoolers perform up to 30 percentile points better on standardized tests, have higher college GPAs and completion rates, and may even be better adjusted socially. Judging from these numbers, it would seem that homeschooling definitely benefits the individual student.

But what about the nation as a whole? Are there any immediate benefits which homeschoolers offer to their communities?

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