WASHINGTON, D.C., November 19, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Exactly 150 years ago today, Abraham Lincoln gave a short speech at Gettysburg to honor fallen Union soldiers and rededicate his audience to the cause that led them to that bloodstained Pennsylvania battlefield. Today, as part of the “Learn the Address” project, President Barack Obama released a video of himself reciting the famous address that omitted the words “under God.”
The version known by most Americans reads, “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.”
President Lincoln wrote at least five copies of the famous speech. All begin “Four score and seven years ago,” but two of the five do not include the words “under God.” President Obama read the “Nicolay copy,” which historians consider a first draft of his remarks.
The words “under God” occur in the best known version, the “Bliss copy,” which is carved on the Lincoln Memorial. It is also on display in the Lincoln bedroom of the White House.
“President Obama's omission of 'under God' is an insult to the entire Christian population of the United States,” Christian radio host Bryan Fischer of AFR Talk said. “Everybody – everybody – who recorded the Gettysburg Address included the words 'under God' except President Obama.”
Writer Christopher Banescu asked, “How did Obama the 'Constitutional scholar' pick the 'first draft' versus the 'official version' of the Gettysburg Address? This cannot be just a 'mistake.'”
Following the controversy, Civil War documentarian Ken Burns' website learntheaddress.org, added an update to the website saying that President Obama had been asked to read the earlier version. However, an earlier version of the webpage said simply, “Share your Gettysburg Address.”
In a recent compilation video featuring Obama, every living former president, and other famous people reading the Gettysburg Address, President Jimmy Carter clearly pronounces the words “under God.”
Civil War historians say religion was central to President Lincoln's original address. Dr. Allen Guelzo of Gettysburg College told Albert Mohler that, for President Lincoln, “Gettysburg is almost a religious experience. It’s almost like a revival meeting where citizens come together and experience being born again in the new religion of American democracy.”
The practice of eliding references to God from America's Founding documents has become a habit for President Obama, who has dropped the word “Creator” or other references to God from the Declaration of Independence on numerous occasions. He is believed to be the first president to issue a Thanksgiving address without mentioning God. He has often skipped writing an Easter proclamation altogether.
“After five years of tearing down religious liberty, it is neither surprising nor unexpected that President Obama disregarded ‘under God’ when reciting the Gettysburg Address,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. “He has certainly failed to acknowledge God and Biblical values throughout his presidency.”
However, President Obama has not shown an aversion to all religions. This week, he issued a statement in honor of Diwali, a festival celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jainists. There are an estimated 100,000 Jainists in the United States.
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He has honored the Persian/Zoroastrian New Year, known as Nowruz. He has posted Passover recipes and lit the Hanukkah menorah. He has been more devoted to Islamic holidays than any other president, commemorating Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hajj, and Eid-ul-Adha.
He has also celebrated African racial solidarity in his messages on Kwanzaa, an artificial holiday created by a Marxist ex-convict turned professor Ron Everett (who renamed himself Maulana Karenga).
“Today the ‘new birth of freedom’ means taking a stand against a tyrannical, anti-religious assault at every level of government from the Department of Justice, to city halls, to the public schools,” Staver said. “Secularists who want to rewrite our ‘free exercise of religion’ have targeted our First Amendment rights. Like 150 years ago, let this be our call to take a stand for a ‘new birth of freedom.’”
If President Obama misunderstands Lincoln, he is not alone.
A college journalist has said that Northeastern Illinois University bears a plaque that reads, “This building is dedicated to public service honoring the memory of Abraham Lincoln, Democrat.” Lincoln served as the nation's 16th president, the first Republican to hold the office.