Two of our greatest presidents—George Washington and Abraham Lincoln—do you think they could be elected today?
Lincoln once made what today would be, politically, a very risky statement. On Sept. 7, 1864, he said, “In regard to this Great Book [the Bible], I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong.”
George Washington likewise once boldly declared, “It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”
Today such statements are politically suicidal! They sound so … religious! Extremists even! Presidential candidates would be coached and advised that such public mention of God might violate the First Amendment, step on some constituent’s toes, or violate the sensitivities of others. But in a different day, Lincoln, Washington and other presidents frequently talked about God.
Even in more recent times some presidents were still unashamed to appeal to the words of the Creator. In 1983 Ronald Reagan stated, “Many of our greatest national leaders—among them Presidents Washington, Jackson, Lincoln, and Wilson—have recognized the influence of the Bible on our country’s development. The plainspoken Andrew Jackson referred to the Bible as no less than ‘the rock on which our Republic rests.’”
He went on to say, “Today our beloved America and, indeed, the world, is facing a decade of enormous challenge. … We will need resources of spirit even more than resources of technology, education, and armaments. There could be no more fitting moment than now to reflect with gratitude, humility, and urgency upon the wisdom revealed to us in the writing that Abraham Lincoln called ‘the best gift God has ever given to man.’”
President Reagan then officially proclaimed 1983 as the Year of the Bible in the United States! Would that happen today? Today we ban school prayer, force the removal of 10 Commandments plaques in courthouses and make little mention of the Bible in much public discourse. We haven’t lost the awareness of the hand of God and the need for His Word—we’ve pushed Him out!
Thousands of years ago, God warned ancient Israel though His servant Moses: “Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when … all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, … you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.”
God said that would be their downfall … and it was!
It’s a warning to heed now, in the year 2012!