The God-less Gettysburg Address

The Right-wing and the nattering nabobs of wing-nuttery have blown a collective gasket attacking President Obama for omitting the words “under God” from his public recitation of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Problem is, however, is that God was never in the Gettysburg address. Lincoln, known in his own era as a freethinker, never joined any particular church. While not a militant atheist, Lincoln was not one to spout off about God, or Christ. There are several versions of the Address as copied by various recorders, the one below known as the Nicolay or original version, was kept by Lincoln’s personal secretary John Nicolay and is regarded as the most accurate copy of what Lincoln actually said.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal”

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow, this ground—The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.


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