Remember when President Bush forgot to thank God in his 2008 Thanksgiving address? Neither do the conservatives now apoplectic that Barack Obama's 2011 remarks contained no reference to the Almighty. Nevertheless, the usual suspects on the right are frothing at the mouth over the perceived slight from the man many still pretend is a secret Muslim.
As Americans were still eating their turkey on Thursday, the Los Angeles Times served as the dutiful stenographer for the Twitter vitriol:
But Thursday morning, Republicans and others tweeted their discontent with the reported omission of God from Obama's address.
Comments included "So sad!" and "God help us!" Republicans Abroad retweeted the Fox News headline: "Obama Leaves God Out of Thanksgiving Address."
"To give thanks for luck is to deny God much less omit!" tweeted "PastorJeffBrown," whose Twitter account lists him as a rural Oklahoma husband, father and Baptist pastor.
Apparently, Obama's passing references to "blessings" and "faith" were not sufficient in his expression of gratitude to American service men and women, among others:
As Americans, each of us has our own list of things and people to be thankful for. But there are some blessings we all share.
We're especially grateful for the men and women who defend our country overseas. To all the service members eating Thanksgiving dinner far from your families: the American people are thinking of you today. And when you come home, we intend to make sure that we serve you as well as you're serving America.
We're also grateful for the Americans who are taking time out of their holiday to serve in soup kitchens and shelters, making sure their neighbors have a hot meal and a place to stay. This sense of mutual responsibility - the idea that I am my brother's keeper; that I am my sister's keeper - has always been a part of what makes our country special. And it's one of the reasons the Thanksgiving tradition has endured.
Of course, if this language sounds familiar, it should. With one mention of the "a land where they could worship the Almighty without persecution," George W. Bush said pretty much the same thing for Thanksgiving, 2008:
During this holiday season, we give thanks for those who defend our freedom. America's men and women in uniform deserve our highest respect -- and so do the families who love and support them. Lately, I have been asked what I will miss about the presidency. And my answer is that I will miss being the Commander-in-Chief of these brave warriors. In this special time of year, when many of them are serving in distant lands, they are in the thoughts and prayers of all Americans.
During this holiday season, we give thanks for the kindness of citizens throughout our Nation. It is a testament to the goodness of our people that on Thanksgiving, millions of Americans reach out to those who have little. The true spirit of the holidays can be seen in the generous volunteers who bring comfort to the poor and the sick and the elderly. These men and women are selfless members of our Nation's armies of compassion -- and they make our country a better place, one heart and one soul at a time.
Following Bush's departure, God returned to a place of prominence in Barack Obama's 2009 and 2010 Thanksgiving addresses. Two years ago, President Obama encouraged " all the people of the United States to come together, whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place where family, friends and neighbors may gather" to, among other things:
[R]ecall President George Washington, who proclaimed our first national day of public thanksgiving to be observed "by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God," and President Abraham Lincoln, who established our annual Thanksgiving Day to help mend a fractured Nation in the midst of civil war.
A year ago, President Obama again offered thanks to Him:
Today, like millions of other families across America, Michelle, Malia, Sasha and I will sit down to share a Thanksgiving filled with family and friends - and a few helpings of food and football, too. And just as folks have done in every Thanksgiving since the first, we'll spend some time taking stock of what we're thankful for: the God-given bounty of America, and the blessings of one another.
But never missing an opportunity to portray Obama as "the other," Fox News rang the alarm, declaring, "Obama Leaves God Out of Thanksgiving Address." His calls for community and unity, and to "give thanks for that most American of blessings, the chance to determine our own destiny," was more than the conservative caricaturists could handle from the supposed "militant atheist" in the White House.
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