Falwell Aligns Himself
With Abraham Lincoln
Carey Sherrill

From: "Carey Sherrill"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Sent: September 20, 2001 4:50 PM
Subject: Lincoln

I used PAMBLOQ this morning as a reference. Thought you might like to see the message I sent to Rev. Jerry Falwell this morning.

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Mr. Falwell,

You mentioned Lincoln during your apology this morning on Good Morning America in a transparent attempt to buttress your credibility by association. President Lincoln was not a Christian and was probably an atheist.

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My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures, have become clearer and stronger with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them.
     -- Abraham Lincoln, to Judge J. S. Wakefield, after Willie Lincoln's death (Willie died in 1862), quoted by Joseph Lewis in "Lincoln the Freethinker"

The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession.
     -- Abraham Lincoln, quoted by Joseph Lewis in "Lincoln the Freethinker"

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To align yourself with a respected historical figure who did not support what you support only weakens your already strained reputation.

Carey Sherrill

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Carey Sherrill"
Subject: Re: Lincoln
Date: September 20, 2001 5:11 PM

Yeah, unfortunately, they've tried to discredit the Wakefield quotation as a fabrication of Lewis. I trust Lewis, but go the long route when showing Lincoln's atheism. For example, I will almost always point out that the words "under God" were later added to the Gettysburg Address, at the request of a pious admirer, and this version later got circulated as the real one. This one's much easier to show, and also has the added benefit of retelling, once again, how willing some Christians have been in altering the story of humankind in order to bring atheism's greatest heroes into their camp.

Another thing I might have pointed out was Lincoln's quip about incidental honesty:

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It is an established maxim and moral that he who makes an assertion without knowing whether it is true or false is guilty of falsehood, and the accidental truth of the assertion does not justify or excuse him.
     -- Abraham Lincoln, chiding the editor of a Springfield, Illinois, newspaper, quoted from Antony Flew, How to Think Straight, p. 17

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This would have pointed out that he didn't know what he was talking about, considering that he ended up having to retract what he said. Not that he'd listen, but -- you know!

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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