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Letter: Lincoln’s life

Like many people, I have recently seen the Lincoln movie and enjoyed it immensely. I had read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals,” on which it is based, shortly before Candidate Obama said that it was the first book he would take to the White House if elected. That pleased and impressed me. I plan to see the movie again, as well as read the book again to compare the two. However, there was one scene in the movie that was jarring to me. At the end of the movie, he and Mrs. Lincoln are discussing their post-presidential plans, which involve travel. “To the Holy Land, Jerusalem, David, Solomon,” he says. I have just finished reading for the second time a book by a long-time Heath summer resident: William J. Wolf, “The Religion of Abraham Lincoln” (also published with the title, “The Amost Chosen People”), Seabury Press, 1963. Professor Wolf shows that Lincoln was a profoundly religious man, and took the Bible seriously, if not always literally. His biblical faith influenced every aspect of his life, including his presidency. He may or may not have ever expressed a desire to go to the Holy Land. If he did, I can assure you, it was not to go to Jerusalem and reflect on the careers of David and Solomon, as is indicated at the end of the movie. It would have been to reflect on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and Old Testament prophets, such as Micah, as Professor Wolf demonstrates. Where the writer of the movie came up with Lincoln communing with David and Solomon, especially at the end, as a kind of (religious?) climax of the movie I will never know. Read Professor Wolf’s book and see what Lincoln’s religious ideas really were. It is out of print now, but copies are available from Amazon.

The Rev. MURRAY NEWMAN

(Heath summer resident)

Mitchellville, Md.

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