Religion & Beliefs

Honest Abe the Agnostic? A Belated President’s Day Special

Later this week I hope to post about performance prayer, oral sex, and the high spiritual plane on which my hamentaschen reside. But for now, can we chat about Abraham Lincoln? I just read a Newsweek article called President Lincoln’s … Read More

By / February 20, 2007
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Later this week I hope to post about performance prayer, oral sex, and the high spiritual plane on which my hamentaschen reside. But for now, can we chat about Abraham Lincoln? I just read a Newsweek article called President Lincoln’s Secret that revealed, “Lincoln never joined a church, was never baptized, and never made any profession of belief.” He grew up in a Baptist family, and was very familiar with Christian hymns and the Bible, but apparently was also “superstitious, believed more or less in dreams, consulted negro oracles, had apparitions and tried to solve them.” Sounds kind of nutty, actually. I mean, negro oracles? And then in his second inaugural address Lincoln is suddenly a Bible-thumper, saying “The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether." In the immortal words of my ex-boyfriend, Holy Fuckoly. Dude gets away with quoting the Bible and then saying, “God changed his mind,” which is exactly what’s so great about him. Lincoln had crazy days, and fire-and-brimstone days, but mostly his moral compass was his guide. The Newsweek article concludes with a little note about how Lincoln knew that, “religion is neither alien to public life (to be locked up in private) nor a jack-in-the-box (ready to jump into every situation). It is, instead, a reminder of the feebleness of our own wisdom, and of the costliness of truth.” Paging President Bush…