Historian Jon Meacham on Wednesday asserted that some families feud on Thanksgiving because “political loyalties have replaced religious belief and religious practice.”
November 22, 2018

Historian Jon Meacham on Wednesday asserted that some families feud on Thanksgiving because “political loyalties have replaced religious belief and religious practice.”

On the day before Thanksgiving, MSNBC host Craig Melvin asked Meacham if politics had always created so much “strife” at family gatherings.

“Well, we had a civil war where we fought, we killed each other over existential questions of liberty and freedom,” Meacham explained. “Families divided, patriot vs. Tory during the Revolution… Just because something has happened before, doesn’t mean it’s not happening now.”

“I have a theory about this,” the historian continued. “To some extent what’s happening is as particularly mainline Protestantism begins to fade from the center of the country, to some extent political strife and political loyalties have replaced religious belief and religious practice.”

According to Meacham, political parties can be viewed like religious denominations.

“By and large, you worship in your pew,” he said. “You read your texts, you listen to your preachers. And I think that because… our social contract is more about conflict than cohesion, it’s going to be a tough holiday for a lot of folks.”

“Are you saying that our politics has replaced our faith?” Melvin wondered.

“I think there’s an interesting argument to be explored,” Meacham replied. “There is a natural human impulse to seek meaning and order and community. And that more often than not at the moment, people are seeking meaning order and community in political tribalism as opposed to traditional religious communities and affiliations.”

Can you help us out?

For 17 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.

Discussion

New Commenting System

Our comments are now powered by Insticator. In order to comment you will need to create an Insticator account. The process is quick and simple. When registering you will also be presented with the option to tie all your old Disqus comments to your new Insticator account. Please note that the ability to comment with a C&L site account is no longer available.

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.