Guest column: Thanksgiving for the ‘First Freedom’

John Ragan

John Ragan

The search for religious freedom on American shores began nearly four centuries ago. In 1620, Pilgrims arrived in America seeking to escape religious persecution in England.

The following year, this group celebrated the very first Thanksgiving of English-speaking people on our shores. After a hard winter and loss of a number of settlers, but a bountiful harvest, the Pilgrims held a three-day feast with their indigenous neighbors as guests. Thus began a national tradition.

Our grand, national custom of acknowledging religious freedom and abundance through a national day of gratitude to the Divine Author of Liberty remains enduringly impressive. However, for some, remembering the purpose of that celebration may be a bit more difficult. [Read more...]

‘Separation of Church and State’ discussed at Lunch with League

A retired professor of philosophy, religion, and community health will discuss the separation of church and state during a Tuesday presentation at Lunch with the League.

Paul W. Sharkey, who has a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame and a postdoctoral master of public health degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, will be the featured speaker at Tuesday’s lunch, which starts at noon in the Social Hall of the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church.

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Letter: Vanderbilt professor calls for diversity, religious freedom, political involvement

Carol M. Swain

Carol M. Swain

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Knox County and meeting with some of the city’s movers and shakers. I was particularly impressed by the patriotism and faith of the people who attended an event hosted by Rep. John Ragan.

My presence in Rep. John Ragan’s district was to share with the community ideas and themes from my book, “Be the People: A Call to Reclaim America’s Faith and Promise.”

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