The State of New Mexico officially recognizes Lincoln today. Our recognition doesn’t elevate him but it does elevate us.
Today First Things published Andrew Ferguson on Lincoln’s faith, Lincoln and the Will of God . Ferguson explains the real uncertainties about Lincoln’s faith and how everyone, from vegans to Christians to atheists, has tried to claim the “real” Lincoln. Read it. You won’t be sorry.
I’m a Lincoln man, myself. My impression is that the real Lincoln was a genuine sceptic, sceptical even of scepticism. And a real empiricist, accepting as evidence even his own inner experience. I believe he came to believe in Providence later in life (i.e., he was a theist, not a deist) because he had to or break, and he would have believed more than that if he could.
But I’m not positive about any of that, and I don’t care. We Mormons don’t have to fight over the dead Lincoln because we can claim the living Lincoln, thanks to Wilford Woodruff’s experience in the St. George temple (which is vastly underrated, in my opinion, as a source of religious meaning). And for myself, Lincoln is less a validation of my views than a source of them. I have my Lincoln canon, some of which would be well worth reading today.
The Second Inaugural,
The Gettysburg Address
The First Inaugural–”hold, occupy and possess” and “mystic chords of memory”
The letter to Mrs. Bixby, though you should know that scholars debate its authenticity.
P.S. If you want to noodle, check out the Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress