Friday, September 15, 2006

Presidents' Views on the Bible

After reading Lincoln's Melancholy, I was motivated to start another book which I bought on the same trip to the bookstore - yet another book about Lincoln: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. This 944-pager (gulp!) was written by historian and Pulitzer Prize winner Doris Kearns Goodwin. I've seen her in many documentaries, and she's often seen providing perspective during any large political event on NBC and MSNBC. I'll post updates on how the reading is going. It is a large enough task to lug the book around from place to place.

Reading so much about how Lincoln's spiritual understanding effected his political stance made me want to revisit what other presidents have said about scripture and the Bible. Here are some quotes for you to consider. No matter if you agree with them or not, it is interesting to read their thoughts.

It is impossible to cover the world without God and the Bible. George Washington

The whole inspiration of our civiliaation springs from the teachings of Christ and the lessons of the prophets. To read the Bible for these fundamentals is a necessity of American Life. Herbert Hoover

In regard to this great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man's welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it. Abraham Lincoln

A man has deprived himself of the best there is in the world who has deprived himself of this, a knowledge of the Bible. When you have read the Bible, you will know that it is the Word of God, because you will have found it the key to your own heart, your own happiness, and your own duty. Woodrow Wilson

Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet-anchor of your liberties; write its precepts in your hearts and practice them in your lives. To the influence of this book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization, and to this we must look as our guide in the future. Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people. Ulysses S. Grant

The meaning of the Bible must be known and understood if it is to make a difference in our lives, and I urge all Americans to read and study the Scriptures. The rewards of such efforts will help preserve our heritage of freedom and signal the message of liberty to people in all lands. Ronald Reagan

Every thinking man, when he thinks, realizes that the teachings of the Bible are so interwoven with our whole civic and social life that it would be literally impossible for us to figure what life would be if those teachings were removed. We would lose almost all the standards by which we now judge both public and private morals; all the standards toward which we, with more or less resolution, strive to raise ourselves. Theodore Roosevelt

So great is my veneration of the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens of their country and respectable members of society. John Adams

America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the Holy Scriptures. Woodrow Wilson

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