Thanksgiving was a religious holiday for me just as it was for generations of American Christians. But God is no more at the heart of Thanksgiving than brutality is -- meaning both were, and both can be, but neither must be.
Tom Jefferson preferred marijuana to tobacco, or to any other crop he grew. He wrote his wonderful Declaration on paper made from it. Ben Franklin built an entire mill that used hemp as its primary stock.
I'm not sure which is worse: using bailout money to fund the making of outdated, gas-guzzling automobiles, or to pay executives to oversee the creation of embarrassingly bad advertisements for those cars.
In the Oct. 2010 issue of Smithsonian, I delve into the real history of America's attitudes about religion, and it is a far different picture from the tidy tableau and storybook version of tolerance that we tell our children.
Let's face the fact: What does it mean to assert that a mosque "desecrates" hallowed ground? It means that the desecrating being done is by people who are evil, unclean. And that is wrong, wrong, wrong.
Obama was right to express his views on constructing a mosque near Ground Zero. His position will be remembered with the same regard as George Washington's letter to the Jews who built the Touro Synagogue.
What is so striking about some of the modern Islamophobes who call themselves Patriots is how their actual views run completely afoul of our most celebrated founding fathers, whom they say they pattern themselves after.