Comments about ‘Matthew Holland: Gettysburg and the 'new proposition' of American politics’

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Published: Sunday, Nov. 17 2013 12:18 a.m. MST

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Saint George, UT

well said, Matt! God does exist, Abraham Lincoln knew it, and that proposition is what drives the patriots of today!

Bountiful, UT

Very well written column, with a lot of good points.

With all due respect to the role religion has played in our developing our nation's ethos, there are also many examples of how religion "held back" our move forward to fulfilling the vision of the Declaration of Independence.

When slavery was the issue, the religionists had the apparent sanctioning of slavery in the Bible; the abolishionists merely had their consciences, until the issue was seen differently. When interracial marriage was the issue, a similar dynamic.

We see similar issues today, and we also have the track record of religion eventually "catching up", and so it's entirely reasonable to expect we may see the same thing with today's issues.

There are many types of belief, including the belief that we're here on our own. Good ideas come from many sources, including the non-religious. We've given women the right to vote, the stature of minorities has come a long, long way in our nation's history.

"Hold fast onto that which is good", including ideas that may not have come from religion.

Happy Valley, UT

"This is not to say that America is a perfect utopia of freedom. It is to say that nobody taken seriously today would argue for the existence of inherent inequalities naturally entitling one person to rule over another."

But those who support the current system of corporate ownership do indeed argue for inherent inequalities that entitle one person to rule over another. This may be why the Founders did not trust corporations and chartered them very reluctantly and with severe restrictions. Let's face it, today we have an authoritarian economic system masquerading as a necessary element of our democratic republic. Fix that and we would be a lot closer to a "perfect utopia of freedom."

And banderson, I suspect there are many, many atheists who are just as patriotic as you are. The tea party's arrogation of the word "patriot" and their insinuation that only those who agree with them can be patriotic is insulting to those of us who love our country but do not love the tea party agenda.

Pleasant Grove, UT

The puny politicians of today hold a stifled view of equality when compared with that of Lincoln. They think only of economic equality. (Because what else is there, if man has no spirit and no connection with a divine Creator?) Lincoln's expansive view comprehends spiritual equality, in which every man and woman are equal in freedom and all other God-given rights.

This is why he identifies our "unfinished work" -- to which we are to take "increased devotion" -- as "a new birth of freedom." Freedom is the highest value, and the goal to which he points us ultimately. This vision is what makes Lincoln great.

Obama, with his wealth redistribution and equality of outcome, has everything exactly backward. So we end up with less freedom, and less equality.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

That article is one of the finest that I have ever read. It will bear reading and re-reading, pondering and discussing.

Great minds do not limit themselves to "the political flavor of the day", instead they examine the foundation laid by other thinkers and then measure the possible outcome.

Today, America's President has decided that all Americans are incompetent; therefore, he will decide for each of us what we need and he will seize all necessary funds from whomever he wishes to achieve his goals. When that philosophy is contrasted with Lincoln's vision of our potential, all of us should realize that treating us as children will never produce a nation of adults who have the ability to take care of themselves without "government assistance".

Our Creator believes in us. He believes that we, when given agency and responsibility, will do great things with our lives. He does not "coddle" us. He expects us to learn even if the "experience" makes us stretch, but He does not force anyone to do anything, even though He knows what will benefit us most. He does use the power of his position to take away our agency and responsibility.

salt lake city, utah

We go from a discussion of Lincoln and an expansive view of liberty to "Today, America's President has decided that all Americans are incompetent; therefore, he will decide for each of us what we need and he will seize all necessary funds from whomever he wishes to achieve his goals."...pure ideological nonsense.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Did Lincoln tell businesses what they could pay their employees? FDR decided that businessmen were not competent to know what to pay. Did Lincoln force people to buy insurance or be fined by the government? Obama thinks that we are not competent enough to decide whether we want to hire an insurance company to represent us or whether we want to handle our medical relationship with health care providers ourselves. Obama thinks that religious establishments should be forced to pay to prevent birth. What would Lincoln have said about that?

The facts speak for themselves. Lincoln believed in the nobility of the person because he believed in the divinity of our Creator. Obama has no such vision. He plainly told us that he would "change" America. Lincoln fought a civil war to unite us. Obama preaches division. Lincoln wanted to bind the nation's wounds. Obama wants class warfare.

Which President had the better view of our Creator's vision of America? Which President understands the Biblical significance of "four score and seven years ago"?

Salt Lake City, UT

In 1776 the American colonies said 'we can govern ourselves'. The record is somewhat mixed, but, overall, AMERICA HAS A PRETTY GOOD RECORD. Every generation has to prove itself; time will tell the tale for this generation.

Salt Lake City, UT

@Mike Richards
"Did Lincoln tell businesses what they could pay their employees?"

He told businesses they couldn't pay their employees zero while owning them.

Saint George, UT

Nonconlib: Patiots to athiesm is hardly a proposition that will endure. Unless it is acknowledged that there are certain "unalienable" rights derived from God, Athiesm will not find a home in the definition of what most Americans would call a patriot. Without God, particularly in one of the few nations on earth that believes such, then our rights come from man, which not only isn't going to endure, but will end up destroying liberty. Someone who doesn't believe in God and wants power is a danger to mankind. Athiestic governments have resulted in the enslavement and death of hundreds of millions, while religious zealots have had their destructive moments, but the comparison is not even close. Patriotism to God is my first priority; patriotism to no god means that you will align yourself to anyone that you feel inclined to follow. Giving your patriotism to a man in power is really scary to most people. Man's inhumanity to man is not just a novel phrase; it is a statement of historical fact that has been the source of death for millions. Besides, I never mentioned the word Tea-party. I'm an independent American that knows history!

J Thompson

Lincoln told Americans that States could not leave the Union. He also freed those Americans who were "owned" by other Americans. He never dictated to any American what wages they could demand nor did he dictate to any business what wages they should pay. He clearly understood that nothing in the Constitution gave him, the President of the United States, that "right". He never took money from one American to pay the personal welfare of another American. His goal was to insure that those unalienable right given us by our Creator were not put under the control of government.

How did Lincoln learn the limits of his office? Why did he respect those limits? Is it because he respected the Creator? Is it because he considered himself to be a servant of that Creator? Is it because he spent time studying about that Creator? Is it because he considered everyone his brother, equal to him in every way, equal to him in their pursuit of happiness?

Obama considers himself to be Lincoln's equal. Many of us who have studied history can see that Lincoln was great and that Obama must change if he would ever become great.

Nan BW
ELder, CO

This well written thoughtful article renews my gratitude that I rememorized The Gettysburg address 12 times for the dozen years I taught fifth grade at Carden Memorial School in SLC. It was a wonderful reward to hear students recite it in unison, and to contemplate the meaning of President Lincoln's address during our study of the War Between the States. President Lincoln's incredible example never diminishes with the decades since he lead our nation.

Salt Lake City, Utah

@ J Thompson: You do realize Lincoln was taking "property" from people without reimbursing them for the loss of that "property", right?

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Alt 134,

Too funny.

Mike Richards and J Thompson,

There are plenty of folks who knock Lincoln for govt. overreach. I am not among them but your contrasts would not bear up for some.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

I just love reading about Abraham Lincoln.
He was such a Progressive Liberal for his time.

Centralizing the Federal Government,
Telling States what they can and con not do...

And NO, I'm not saying Lincoln [or any other "Liberal"] is Godless -- as most uber-cons believe.
The reason most of us are liberal is BECAUSE we believe in God, and want to follow what he said --
feed the hungry, the poor, the sick,
stop wars and fighting,
treat others as you would want to be treated yourself,
We are all equal,
the love of money is the root of all evil,
etc., etc.


Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah
Did Lincoln tell businesses what they could pay their employees?

YES - Ho told Sountern businesses they could not enslave people and pay them nothing.
He told them they MUST hire them, and pay them for their labor.

He took the very economic engine driving the South [cheap labor] and pulled that rug right out from undeneath them -- ruining the Sountern economy for the next 100 years.

BTW - He also took away the Master's property and gave it away FREE, without any compensation.
How's that for being "Liberal".

Richland, WA

Students in other countries who study the English language or the history of America are often assigned to study and even memorize the Gettysburg Address. Are American students being taught these words, and the meaning of these words, as an affirmaiton of the Declaration of Independence?

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

Richland, WA
Students in other countries who study the English language or the history of America are often assigned to study and even memorize the Gettysburg Address. Are American students being taught these words, and the meaning of these words, as an affirmaiton of the Declaration of Independence?

2:32 p.m. Nov. 18, 2013


I don't know?
Good question.

If not, they should.

My kids learned it at home.
We memorized it as a family.

They are all grown ups now...
good LDS, Progressive Liberals like their Father.

...and Brigham Young, Joseph Smith, Abe Lincoln, and America's Founding Fathers....

Saint George, UT

Open minded mormon: Maybe I missed something, but I don't recall Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Abe Lincoln, and America's Founding Fathers being for abortion, gay marriage,liberty defined by Government, Socialism, lying (Obama being the most recent example),single parenting, and calling good evil and evil good. Did I miss something in one of their talks? Perhaps studying Ezra Taft Benson's writings would be a good place to start, or better yet, the writings of all the men you claim would support your progressive views. I can't find their support of such. Please enlighten.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Openmindedmormon: Maybe I missed something, but I don't recall Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Lincoln, and America's FoundingFathers being for abortion, gay marriage, liberty defined by Government, Socialism,


The Founding Fathers were extremely progressive/iberal,
imagine thinking "all men were created equal"...
that concept was completely foreign in blueblood world of “Lords and serfs” British ruled America 1776.

as for the rest --

The LDS church is politically neutral regarding abortion. If fact, they even allow it in rare circumstances [something the Republican Party platform of "Zero tolerance" policy doesn't even allow].

gay marriage,
The LDS Church practiced their own form of unorthodox marriages that were considered illegal at the time. That’s why they left America and went to Mexico [Utah].

liberty defined by Government,
Article of Faith 12:
We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

See “United Order”, and get back to me later.

The early Mormons also supported;
freeing the slaves,
gave women the right to vote,
encouraged foreign immigration,
had Universal Healthcare,
and “Welfare” given to the poor, sick and the needy.

Salt Lake City, UT

"If, in Lincoln’s day, America’s dedication to human equality was propositional where a national embrace of God’s providential role was basically a given, today the reverse seems to be true." And, no wonder. In recent times we have had two highly questionable wars which killed and maimed hundreds of thousands. Where is Providence?

As to human equality, our nation had slavery and Jim Crow (the former well into the 1960's). Such could not be ended without a strong commitment to equal rights - for example the 1964 Civil Rights Act takes equality as a given. Does the writer question this?

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