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Does God Belong at The Lincoln Memorial?

5 years ago
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On Sunday's episode of CNN's 'Reliable Sources,' Bill Press, Jane Hall and I joined host Howard Kurtz to debate and discuss Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally.

Press -- whom I like personally (and who has previously appeared on my podcast), made what were (in my estimation) the most controversial comments of the day.

First, he argued it was inappropriate for Glenn Beck to invoke religion at the Lincoln Memorial, saying, "I thought I was at a camp meeting -- an old fashioned, religious camp meeting; I don't think that's appropriate on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial."

(Of course, the irony is that Lincoln frequently referenced The Almighty -- and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was, of course, was a man of God.)

You can watch the clip here:

Next, Kurtz challenged Press' notion that allowing Beck to speak at The Lincoln Memorial was "like granting al Qaeda permission to hold a rally on September 11 - at Ground Zero."

It probably goes without saying that we disagreed on this, as well.

You can watch the discussion here:

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"like granting al Qaeda permission to hold a rally on September 11 - at Ground Zero." Interesting, aren't these the same people that think building a mosque next to Ground Zero is a good thing?

August 30 2010 at 1:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The last part of the Gettysburg Address: "It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, 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." The last part of Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address:"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." With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations." Lincoln, for some strange reason, repeatedly mentions God. That, methinks, gives Beck the right to do so as well.

August 30 2010 at 11:31 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dracfyr's comment

Thank you.

August 30 2010 at 5:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Don Thompson

I love it when the left makes comments like this. It takes them to the fringe of society. I grew up in the 50's, went to college in the 60's, and matured in the 70's and watched the self-loathers try to destroy America. I guess that's why I'm a conservative. PS I was there Saturday and had a great time.

August 30 2010 at 11:05 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Matt, you are out of your mind and clearly out of touch with the thinking of main stream American. Your views are extreme.

August 30 2010 at 10:07 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Of course God should be at the Lincoln memorial, which would be the God all peoples not just Christians, that includes Muslims, Jews, Hindus, etc. I keep reading how religious and Christian our founding fathers were,, simply isn’t true. Thomas Jefferson thought Christianity was full of superstitious beliefs and wrote his own bible.

August 29 2010 at 10:45 PM Report abuse -9 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to seavet's comment

Indeed, the founders were emphatically NOT religious men. The were men of the Enlightenment and embraced the new science. They were a collection of atheists, agnostics, deists and Freemasons. John Adams was the most religious of the founders and he was a harmless Unitarian. Adams even wrote that the lowest type of man were the revivalists, the evangelists of his day. Tom Paine and James Madison were avowed atheists. Jefferson did edit his own Bible, which he swore his Presidential oaths on. The Jefferson Bible consists of the four Gospels and from those he deleted all mention of Christ's miracles. It wasn't until our 8th President, Andrew Jackson, that the U.S. had a religious President.

August 29 2010 at 11:26 PM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply

so God is here, God is everywhere, God loves us all, he is atthe Lincoln memorial, and on and on Really, do you know for sure? Where was God when the "founders of our natin" were slaughtering native Indians so that we could take their land, and where was he when these good Christians went to Africa for cheap, really cheap labor to enrich themselves from the land they stole When the Indians protested these "peple of God" simply raided thei villages and Killed innocent men, womm and CHILDREN----where was God? ---was he just a God for white Americans? Strange God Whe slaves tried to run away, and they were caught, they were hung, or the wie was hung, or they sold their children , and went to church the next day----you know, church, where GOD is If God is everywhere why was he not protecting innocent people Where was God when Bush was killing innocent men, women and CHILDREN in Iraq--just where was God when arms and legs and whole bodies were being torn apart You people have weird ideas about God God has ben crying for a long time

August 29 2010 at 9:54 PM Report abuse -17 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jspe7's comment

Of course, all your red herrings beg the question. We are speaking of the Lincoln Memorial. Was Lincoln a believer in God? Even a cursory reading of either the Gettysburg Address (carved into the southern wall of the Memorial) or his Second Inaugural Address gives the affirmative to that question, and hence gives the proof that mentioning God in the presence of the Lincoln Memorial is a correct act.

August 30 2010 at 11:51 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Why don't you have a poll with this article and ask all your readers?

August 29 2010 at 9:25 PM Report abuse +16 rate up rate down Reply

Our forefathers didn't object to God being a part of our government and to interpret it any other way is rediculous.

August 29 2010 at 7:56 PM Report abuse +23 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tcsosebee's comment

Actually, they did.

August 30 2010 at 10:14 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Politically, I'm a democrat, or at least I have been. I have had the nasty habit of studying history over my life-time. This often puts me in the unsavory position of knowing what I'm talking about - often a handicap with other members of my party. Of course God is appropriate at the Lincoln Memorial. In fact, Lincoln would have it no other way. Lincoln's words are etched into the stone inside the memorial - and make frequent reference to God. If you want to separate God, you'll have to offend the spirit of Lincoln and get out the sand-blasters. PS Our founding fathers were very religious as a whole. The whole idea of a separation of church & state has been distorted by lawyers & revisionists. To be sure, show me ONE place where it is written that there is a 'separation of church & state'. Show me in the constitution, the Bill of Rights, or even the declaration of Independence. It does NOT exist. Moreover, our founding fathers would NOT have allowed it to exist. Dr. G. (PS I am not personally very religious - just like the facts straight)

August 29 2010 at 7:32 PM Report abuse +25 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to cruisedoc's comment

Layne, I'm quite familar with the 1st amendment. You refer to what is known as the 'establishment clause'. It prohibits congress from ESTABLISHING a state religion - period. You are correct that it was written out of fear for the Church of England. I promise you that congress will pass no law establishing a state religion. That's all it says. It says nothing about prohibiting the free expression of religion, any religion, on public property. Again, the words 'separation of church & state' do NOT exist. And, again, our founding fathers would NOT have permitted it to exist. I have read extensively on each of them - they would NOT have permitted it. George Washington himself, a very religious man, would roll over in his grave if he saw what it has become perverted to. James Madison, who wrote the words, would tell you that is NOT what the intent was.

August 30 2010 at 1:45 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

Interesting discourse. Regarding "separation", I, too, have become aware it's not written that way and know that Virginia debated maintaining a legal religious establishment on a venue separate from the federal issue. Sure didn't get that bit in public school. Congress shall make no law...hands off, in other words - state's issue, a power reserved to the people.

August 30 2010 at 5:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

God's not going to like that!

August 29 2010 at 6:40 PM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply

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