Are you curious about the religious beliefs of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln on this President’s Day? Check out Thomas Kidd’s short piece at The Gospel Coalition. Here is a taste:
Washington believed that religion was essential because faith was the primary engine of virtue, that public-spiritedness and integrity needed to preserve the new nation. His Farewell Address of 1796 famously asserted that “of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensible supports.” Washington, like Lincoln, proclaimed national days of prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving for “humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations.” Washington also made a point to reach out to minority religious groups, from Baptists to Catholics and Jews, to assure them that they would share in the new republic’s blessings of religious liberty.
Lincoln, likewise, knew that he led a nation that was overwhelmingly religious, and he found the grievous toll taken by the Civil War explicable only in the language of faith. As the war increasingly became not just one to preserve the Union, but also to abolish slavery, Lincoln turned to the Bible to express hope that the carnage of war would be redeemed by a “new birth of freedom.”