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Friday, November 27, 2015

Being Thankful For Bathsheba At Thanksgiving

I would like to suggest that the story of David and Bathsheba (click here) brings some relevance to how we should celebrate Thanksgiving. Why? It is because there are common themes between how we have procured bounty in this nation with how David was able to get Bathsheba to be his wife.

For those who don't know the story, during wartime, David saw Bathsheba. David sent for Bathsheba. David knocked up Bathsheba. And to hide what he did, David had Bathsheba's husband, Uriah, killed in battle so he could marry her. So for David to have Bathsheba for his wife, he had to steal and kill.

Now let's fastforward to Thanksgiving Day, this year. We will be giving thanks for the great bounty some of us still have opportunity to enjoy. We have homes to live in and places to visit. We have plenty of material blessings. We have plenty of food to eat. And we have nice clothes to wear. But what had to happen for us to have all of that?

That question will most likely not be addressed in Conservative Christian blogposts. It certainly wasn't addressed in the following articles: Marshall Segal on what happens after Thanksgiving (click here), Erik Raymond on a Thanksgiving prayer (click here), or Erik Raymond's blogpost asking if one is a thankful person (click here). The titles pretty much explain what each article is about. And yet, there was no mention of the theft and murder involved with the blessings we have. In fact the first article links receiving blessings with faith. To its credit, that article does mention how, because of our sins, we do not deserve the blessings for which we should be thankful. But that did not deserve line seems to be due to our personal sinfulness and not how our society became so wealthy. 

And all of this talk about how the physical blessings we will be giving thanks for are the result of theft and murder seems to go against the grain of Erik Raymond's article asking if one is a thankful person. For such talk seems to answer the question he asks about whether one is a person who complains with an affirmative. And in his other article cited here, he thanks the Lord for the rich bounty we enjoy. He did not mention the price others have had to pay for our bounty.

Finally, we need to be specific regarding how the bounty we have is due to theft and murder. Here, this blog will provide only a partial list of how theft and murder procured our blessings. Of course we start of with the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans from the land. So we stole their land and killed some of them while taking what was theirs. For almost the first half of our existence as a nation, much of our wealth was the result of slave labor. So here, we might want to think about all of the people we stole from their families in Africa and how they either died either in transit or as a result of the conditions of their slavery or how they suffered to make others wealthy. Then after the Civil War, our wealth increased as the result of prison labor where many Blacks were arrested because of their skin color. In addition, the railroads that traversed our nation were built while exploiting the labor of workers who came directly from China as they were paid significantly less than other men who helped lay the tracks.

The above is just a partial list of how  theft and murder was used in the past to make this country rich. But what about today? We can start with prison labor again as some companies make significant profits from using such labor while the prisoners receive hardly any compensation for the labors. Or we could talk about how a significant amount of our food is provided in some way to us by trafficked and slave labor. Or we could talk about how many of our clothes as well as some of our electronic gadgets, which we use for work or play,  are made in sweatshop factories. We should note that both trafficked and slave labor along with sweatshop factories also exist in the United States. Some of the services we enjoy when at a restaurant or fast food place are provided by those who are being paid poverty wages. And some of the big box items we buy are at stores that pay their employees poverty wages.

We'll stop there. But the above should show us how much of the bounty we receive and should be thankful is the result of the same causes that allowed David to marry Bathsheba. All are the result of exploitation of others. And so the question remains: How should we be thankful for those goods that are ours because of theft and murder?



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