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Comments about ‘Gettysburg Address laced with religious language and meaning’

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Published: Tuesday, Nov. 19 2013 4:00 a.m. MST

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iron&clay
RIVERTON, UT

Elmore and Mansfield both found what they thought was 'biblical ignorance' when in reality these academic 'historians' are paid to deliberately re-write America's history with the intent to leave religion and God out of America's founding and preservation.

What a pitiful tragedy that young people at Universities are going into major debt for their own dumbing-down on the subject of America's religious heritage.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@iron&clay – “academic 'historians' are paid to deliberately re-write America's history with the intent to leave religion and God out of America's founding and preservation.”

And your evidence for this is…?

Consider the following two quotes from Lincoln:

"The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma."

"My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures have become clearer and stronger with advancing years, and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them."

It is likely that Lincoln had a faith of some sort (Deism perhaps - like the Founders) but it certainly was not the kind of faith those on the Religious Right would want to ascribe to him.

Regarding rewriting history, I think the evidence is exactly opposite of your assertion – that there are in fact paid “academics” (at evangelical colleges like Patrick Henry, Liberty and Bob Jones) who are attempting to rewrite our history by inserting God (and Christianity) throughout our founding and early years.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

Speech peppered with old timey 'biblical' language validates neither the speech nor the source. As is pointed out in the article, the bible was used to justify both sides of the slavery argument, and indeed can and is manipulated to support just about any position the user intends.

JWB
Kaysville, UT

Maybe the remarks in this article state a purpose that is not on the President's political agenda for our country. He wouldn't want to go to the celebration today as that would spoil his processes for un-uniting our country.

"Wills wrote that the Lincoln's expertly crafted remarks became the accepted interpretation of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that instilled in people the idea that the United States had to be united."

"By accepting the Gettysburg Address, and its concept of a single people dedicated to a proposition, we have been changed," Wills wrote about its impact today. "Because of it, we live in a different America."

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

If you look for religious language in the speech, your imagination can easily find it there, just as some do with the Constitution as well. Lincoln spoke of God but never made a profession of Christian faith. He was turned off by nitpicking sectarian squabbles over theology. As a politician, he was smart enough to keep his deeper spiritual views to himself.

Ragnar Danneskjold
Bountiful, UT

I'm with Tyler and Craig on this. There is evidence that Lincoln was at least agnostic, and the language used in his speech does not mean that he was a Christian in his beliefs.
I've never really understood the belief that people like "iron&clay" have where there is this deep distrust of institutions of higher learning. I wonder what this kind of thinking stems from? I have my opinions, but it's probably best I keep that to myself.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The trouble with history is that it all depends on where you are standing at the time and the same applies to those who later try to interpret history.

I appreciate Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address for what it says, but more so for the few number of words to say it.

RockOn
Spanish Fork, UT

Ken Burns videod the living presidents reciting the entire Gettysburg Address for a multi-person reading of the speech. In President Obama's recitation he left out "Under God." Wonder why and how his apologists will spin that.

patriot
Cedar Hills, UT

Today is the 150 year anniversary of Gettysburg address and guess who was invited but decided to be a no-show?? Yes you guessed it - Barack. Perhaps it is for the best since having any association with the GREAT Lincoln and the small Barack is best left alone.

One of a Few
Layton, UT

How is this for spin:

President Obama's recitation of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is sparking hysteria from the right-wing media who slammed the president for omitting the phrase "under God." But ironically, in their hurry to attack the president, they omitted the fact that Obama was reading the first draft of the speech -- a draft that did not include "under God" -- at the request of filmmaker Ken Burns.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, filmmaker Ken Burns compiled footage of important national figures -- including Obama and all the living former presidents -- reciting portions of the speech.

On November 19, right-wing radio host Chris Plante accused Obama of omitting the phrase "under God" from his recitation of the Gettysburg Address. Other conservative media outlets like the Drudge Report, The Daily Caller, and National Review Online's The Corner promptly ran with the story. WMAL, which hosts The Chris Plante Show, remarked about the news...

Obama's recitation was not 'curious,' it was accurate -- Burns requested that President Obama read the 'Nicolay Version' of the Address, which was Lincoln's first draft of the Address and does not contain the phrase "under God."

http://mediamatters.org/blog

There You Go Again
Saint George, UT

@rockon

No spin needed.

Straight from the Learn the Address website:

There are 5 versions of the Gettysburg Address.

President Obama was asked to read the first, the Nicolay version.

The Nicolay version does not include the phrase "Under God".

Simple explanation.

The Blaze has also updated their website with this information.

RockOn
Spanish Fork, UT

Obama reading the Nicolay version (which, in all likelihood was the first version before Lincoln added "under God") was yet another PR blunder by this president's amatuer staff. I'm sure Obama just read whatever the teleprompter said. His staff should have read this in advance and served the president better by not reading this version which leaves him open to controversy rather than being a contributor to a great anniversary.

JWB
Kaysville, UT

No President would just take something and read it. He has lots of staff to protect him. This man chose not to go to Gettysburg and knows his heart as we have learned his heart, also.

intervention
slc, UT

@rock on
why should Obama and his staff or for that matter the rest of the country live in constant fear of being left open to the never ending conspiracy theory machine of the far right? No one but the far right cares.

Bobster
Boise, ID

I challenge the notion that the majority of the founders of this nation were deists. The reciting of the speech should have been how it was delivered, not whatever draft you want pick of how it was written. We have to assume that Lincoln said what he intended to say. Whether our presidents were religious or irreligious are certainly things we can debate. One point beyond debate is what types of governments godless men create and how people suffer because of them. Two good examples from the 20th century include Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Finally, why didn't President Obama's staffers protect him from the ACA?

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Bobster – “I challenge the notion that the majority of the founders of this nation were deists.”

OK, present your evidence…

As far as examples of governments by “godless men” I would offer Sweden, Japan, Canada, Norway, Holland, Australia, Finland, New Zealand and to a lesser extent France, Germany, England, Switzerland, Czeck Republic, South Korea, Israel, Austria, etc…

While believers exist in all those countries, atheists/agnostics make up the majority of the populace and their governments are entirely secular (just like ours was designed to be).

And just for further clarification, the Nazis started as an uber-right wing Catholic movement in Bavaria, and even by the end of the war virtually all the top leaders of Nazi Germany were still in good standing with the Catholic Church (perhaps because they kept up on their tithing).

In fact only one Nazi leader was ever excommunicated from the church and that was because he married a protestant… so the church does have standards.

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