These days, it can be difficult relating to those who feel it is politically correct to leave religion out of schools and the government. It is a tricky balancing act when some politicians feel uncomfortable openly talking about their faith and yet the U.S. currency states, “In God We Trust” and songs like “God Bless America” are played during sporting events.
When looking back at some of the forefathers who gave rise to this country, it’s interesting to note that many of them were devout Christians and open to speaking out about their faith. One of these forefathers was the first president of the United States, George Washington, and the other was one of the most influential presidents in uniting our nation, Abraham Lincoln.
George Washington was a truly resilient man who had to endure the loss of his father at the young age of 11. Washington took a leadership role at an early age when he became the head of his estate at 20.
He continued his leadership role in the military, and after leaving, he eventually married a widow named Martha who brought along her two children, Jacky and Patsy. After Jacky died during the Revolution, Washington adopted two of his children.
These children later became influential in revealing the true nature of Washington’s faith. Nelly Parke Custis, one of Washington’s adopted children, wrote of the faith that drove first President of the United States.
U.S. History quotes that letter: “General Washington had a pew in Pohick Church, and one in Christ Church at Alexandra. He was very instrumental in establishing Pohick Church, and I believe subscribed largely. It was a beautiful church, and had a large, respectable, and wealthy congregation, who were regular attendants. No one in church attended to the services with more reverential respect. The General, as was then the custom, stood during the devotional parts of the service. I should have thought it the greatest heresy to doubt his firm belief in Christianity. His life, his writings, proves that he was a Christian.”
The fact that Washington would use some of the wealth he acquired as a landowner and through his marriage towards the Christian community and its churches shows a selflessness that isn’t always seen in politicians today. The lesson that can be learned is that no matter how powerful you become, there is always something bigger than yourself.
Abraham Lincoln is viewed as hugely influential in the history of this nation due to the conflict regarding the Civil War. While Lincoln was struggling to keep the nation together as a single unit, he was also combating the issue of slavery. Many times, Lincoln was quoted either directly quoting Scripture or speaking of the Lord and how we as a nation should seek to adhere to the laws of God.
On February 13, 1861, Lincoln was giving an Address to the Ohio Legislature when he stated, “I turn, then, and look to the American people and to that God who has never forsaken them.”
Lincoln also gave a monumental speech regarding the Civil War and its ties to slavery on June 16, 1858. History Place quoted his “House Divided” Speech as stating, “I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided.” In this speech, Lincoln quoted Scripture, letting it further be known of his faith and how it leads his decisions in life and in his work.
And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. —Mark 3:25
What can be learned by both of these presidents is that they were able to make difficult decisions and give more of themselves through their faith, which is something that we can all strive to do in our daily lives.