In the episode Pangs (Season 4, Episode 8), Buffy the Vampire Slayer encounters the spirit of a Native American whose people were wiped out by white settlers. It has been a tradition that I watch this episode on Thanksgiving (along with Trains, Planes, & Automobiles). It is fascinating how the characters bicker over whether they should help or hurt the Native American spirit. At one point, in support of the settlers, Spike says the following:
“I just can’t take all this mamby-pamby boo-hooing about the bloody Indians… You won. All right? You came in and you killed them and you took their land. That’s what conquering nations do. It’s what Caesar did, and he’s not goin’ around saying, “I came, I conquered, I felt really bad about it.” The history of the world is not people making friends. You had better weapons, and you massacred them. End of story.”
At the end of the episode when Spike along with the gang are losing the battle, Spike decides that maybe apologizing for the sins of the past will work. It’s a funny moment. “Sorry about that, Chief!”
The history of Thanksgiving is written in blood. And most people, on some conscious level know this. But how much of it was founded in Christianity? Let me start off with a statement from former Hitler Youth member, Pope Benedict XVI:
In a speech to Latin American and Caribbean bishops at the end of a visit to Brazil, the Pope said the Church had not imposed itself on the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
They had welcomed the arrival of European priests at the time of the conquest as they were “silently longing” for Christianity, he said.
First, the Pope is denying history when he claims that the Europeans did not impose Christianity on Native Americans. Second, the asshole claims that they were “silently longing” for Christianity. That is like a rapist saying that the victim was “asking for it.” This is some fucked-up shit. Let us look at how these indigenous people were treated when they did not long for Christianity, shall we? But first, it is possible for the Europeans to have slaughtered the Native Americans just because they thought they were less than human. In fact they thought of them as animals. Either kill them or enslave them was the rule of the land. But would so many people be able to commit such heinous acts if they only had their own moral compass to guide them? I would venture a guess that people who don’t need a reason to kill would kill no matter what. But those who normally wouldn’t, would find it easier if God or the Church commanded it.
Natives were mutilated, tortured, raped and dismembered by the thousands during a single excursion. Are these the Christian values the Killgrims… I mean pilgrims… brought with them to the Americas?
Christianity believed that the Native American religion was pagan. Today we can hear the word pagan, at least I hope most of us can, and not see it as a bad word. If you call someone a pagan during the time of the settlers you might as well just call them Satan Worshippers. The Europeans wanted land. The only way they could get it was to get rid of the Native Americans. So this “killing in the name of Jesus” highly benefited those committing these crimes in Jesus’ name. They got the land and the possessions of the Native Americans. Not a bad way to do evil things and not feel guilty about it. Perhaps even worse were the true believers who really believed they were doing the Lord’s work by exterminating a race of people. Where in scripture is all this? Well the Puritans pointed to the following two verses:
Psalms 2:8: “Ask of me, and I shall give thee, the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”
Romans 13:2: “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”
Interesting fact: It wasn’t until 1978 that America passed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act which finally let the Native Americans do their own religious thing. NINETEEN-SEVENTY-EIGHT!!!!! A year after Star Wars was released. The year the first Superman movie with Christopher Reeve was release. What took so long?
Native American children were ripped from their parents, incarcerated, indoctrinated into Christianity and forced into manual labor. They were not allowed to see their parents until they were adults and have learned Christian values.
There are some scholars who believe that the actual origin of Thanksgiving is much more horrific than the peaceful love fest told in history books. In what is now Mystic, Conneticuit, Puritans invaded the Pequot tribe’s village and shot, clubbed and burned alive over 700 native men, woman and children. According to Robert Jensen, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, the slaughter is the real origin of Thanksgiving. In 1637, the Massachusetts Bay Governor of proclaimed a day of thanksgiving in gratitude for God’s annihilation of the defenseless Pequot village. After this event, “days of thanksgiving” were often celebrated after similar massacres.
One colonist is cited saying that the plague (a combination of slavery, murder by the colonists and disease) that had destroyed the Patuxet people was “the Wonderful Preparation of the Lord Jesus Christ by His Providence for His People’s Abode in the Western World.”
Even the Squanto version of Thanksgiving isn’t honest when you do your research. They make it appear that this Native American learned the English language and was all buddy-buddy with the pilgrims. Truth is, Squanto was stolen as a boy, taken back to Europe and had a fucked up adventure until he returned to the Americas, by that time knowing how to speak English. The natives and the pilgrims needed each other for a very brief period. And the natives helped the pilgrims. And how did the pilgrims give thanks? They killed the satanic heathens.
There is so much documentation of the massacre of the indigenous people in America. Google Native American genocide and you can read the horror stories yourself. We all know something bad happen. We sort of feel it in our bones but we really don’t KNOW. It was worse than we could ever imagine. The land was taken for god. People were converted or killed for god. And throughout all my research, I kept coming upon the phrase “Christian Values.”
What are these values? Kill, rape, beat, torture, hate. How can we believe that Christianity has any notion of moral values? If Jesus was real, wouldn’t he have been able to stop the slaughter? You would think after the first 10 people died he step in and say, “Hey, guys, this isn’t what I mean by Christian values! Stop!” Maybe after the first hundred? Thousand? Tens of Thousands? Millions? Hundred Millions? Why wouldn’t this loving god fill the hearts of these believers to let them know that this is just wrong. How is it that people today, believers and non-believers, know better than Jesus did back then? Did Jesus just sit back while so many millions were being murdered in his name? Did he approve it or was he indifferent? If so, he is not worthy of anyone’s praise. Could he not do anything? Then he is not all-powerful and therefore is not worthy of the title god.
How do Christians forget these things and how do regular folk celebrate without really celebrating? Stay tuned… My next two blogs will address those two points.