Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Abraham Lincoln's faith, from his pew

Interesting piece about Abraham Lincoln's faith and religious affiliation.

Wallace gave us a brief overview of Lincoln's religious affiliation: he was born in Kentucky to a family of so-called hard-shell Baptists, who were so strongly predestinarian that they rejected missionary activity; although Lincoln came to reject that strain of Baptist faith, his upbringing gave him a strong familiarity with the Bible, and as an adult he was able to quote large portions of the King James Bible from memory. In Illinois, Wallace said, Lincoln was hostile to "the emotional revivalism that was going around,'' and was viewed by friends as a religious skeptic. He married Mary Todd in an Episcopal Church; she went on to join First Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Illinois, and then, in Washington, New York Avenue Presbyterian. Lincoln never joined either church, but he attended periodically with his family, and, in Washington, he befriended the pastor, the Rev. Phineas D. Gurley, who played a particularly important role when the Lincolns' son, Willie, died in 1862.


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