Freethought Almanac

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November 26: A Secular Thanksgiving (1621-1941)

It was on this date, November 26, 1941, that U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed into law a bill establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Although today this thoroughly American holiday is commemorated by church services and family gatherings, and Presidents George Washington (a Deist) and Abraham Lincoln (a skeptic) both issued religious proclamations in honor of the day, amazingly enough, Thanksgiving Day was originally a secular celebration.

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Originally published October 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.

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Ronald Bruce Meyer




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