Growing up a Southerner, I didn’t get the heavy dose of Lincoln adulation so many Americans in other parts of the country do. Perhaps that’s why the endless references to the sixteenth president by the forty-fourth are lost on me, any why I only get interested in the man when the subject turns to religion. (And his family: my heart goes out to Mary Todd even when Honest Abe leaves me cold.)
Lincoln’s shadowy faith is about as far removed from “Obama’s pastor problems” as possible. Was he our first (only?) president to be true religious seeker or independent? In lists of the religious identifications of presidents — unseemly for an office for which there is no religious test, but so be it — I’ve seen Lincoln come up as liberal, which in this case is vague and unsatisfying. That he was a Universalist, Disciple of Christ or Presbyterian — claims I’ve seen — seem confected.
Fortunately, Daniel Burke of the Religion News Service gives us a bigger view of the man and his faith in “200 years later, Lincoln’s faith remains an enigma“