19 January 2006

“But it is relevant to his theme to note that thanks to Booth’s derringer ball, the Lincoln who had let Jesus go became the Lincoln who resembled Jesus. Quickly Lincoln the icon pushed Washington upstairs: The self-made rail-splitter became the self-giving ‘Son’ to whom Americans could attach themselves in warm companionship while the ‘Father’ Washington hovered detachedly like a deist creator beyond the clouds.” Historian Richard Wightman Foxweighs┬áthe various claims regarding the religious beliefs of Abraham Lincoln (the result of which he predicts will be of little comfort to either side of the culture war, as Lincoln’s straddling of the secular and the religious divide makes him an ever-available symbol to exploit), and explores Lincoln’s own post-assassination “deification.”