HISTORY OF THANKSGIVING By Andre Austin Around 1620 the Pilgrims were facing religious persecution from James 1 of England. The pilgrims were called separatists from the Church of England and Catholics. Even though the church of England repudiated the Pope the Pilgrims/separatist saw no difference between the two except in name. Pope Julius1 (337-352AD) had set the date of Jesus birth for December 25 like that of Mithra and Osiris. The separatists wrote pamphlets declaring there was no scriptural bases for Easter or Christmas. The Pilgrims also had the opinion that the church shouldn’t be connected to civil law or power. We see the Catholic Church today trying to force lawmakers to change Law. Catholics should work to change the hearts and minds of the people. When the people change they will ask their lawmakers to amend laws. This is the process of democracy. This type of democracy was alien in England at the time of the Pilgrims who didn’t have due process, writ habeas corpus. The King was both religious and state leader a concept the US constitution would separate. The Pilgrims saw King James I as a madman. James was a tyrant who saw no political stability unless there was religious conformity to one version to Christianity. This intolerance, imprisonments, fines, harassments and hangings lead to the yearning of the Pilgrims to seek the advice of Jesus: (“When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another” Matthew 10:23). Advice to Catholics is to avoid trying to be like Henry VIII and James 1 of consolidating political/religious power. In America we celebrate the separation of powers between the executive, judicial, legislative, media, religious and the Big Business community. When one tries to dominate them all we run into anarchy, revolutions and mass killings. Can’t impose beliefs in democracy you have to change hearts/minds in the public forum of ideas for votes. When they and others came to America they wanted religious freedom for themselves but not to the blacks they would soon to enslave. The only religious sect as an institution that was opposed to slavery was the Quakers. The Pilgrims relationship with the native Americans had its up and downs. The thanksgiving feast was designed to cement an alliance between native Americans and the Pilgrims against outside hostile forces. During the Civil War President Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday as an opportunity to bring the country together.