Let Their Words
Speak For Themselves!
Bobby Fisher

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Bobby Fisher"
Subject: Re: Lincoln/Kennedy and religion
Date: November 09, 2003 10:10 PM

Interestingly, you say, "Let their beliefs speak for themself and nothing more," which I assume essentially means the same thing as, "Let their words speak for themselves." Okay, this is precisely what we do (except when expressing opinions in the opinion section): we showcase quotations from each gentleman. When we can, we also include quotations about each gentleman, statements made by those who knew him. After all, that's kinda what a "List of Quotations" is all about!

Whatever Kennedy was in his private life, publicly he was a Roman Catholic in good standing with his Church. Whatever Lincoln was in his private thoughts, in his public statements he frequently allowed his secretaries to have him invoke "God" in speech and letter (though he edited many of these, often toning down the "God" parts).

The whole point is this: Both men were politicians. This means that both men were required to sacrifice the true thoughts that were on their minds in favor of making statements that would wash with the widest array of the constituency as was humanly possible. Lincoln couldn't have led his country effectively without the support of everybody in the northern states, and this meant that his own views on many subjects had to remain unstated (or, better yet, committed to private letters; but, in Lincoln's case with religion, we really don't know what he truly thought, nor can we ever know).

I think the most religious President we've had in recent times (the past century) was Jimmy Carter. Interestingly, he was a Separationist in practice, even choosing to end his speeches by saying, "Thank you, and good-night."

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Eight years of service to people
    with no reason to believe

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