The writer of “Losing the right to say ‘God’ ” (Letters, Jan. 9) claims President Obama has shown disdain for any public acknowledgment of God and uses as an example his reading of the Gettysburg Address on its 150th anniversary where he omitted Lincoln’s famous words “under God.” Five copies of the Gettysburg address in Lincoln’s handwriting exist today. Two copies were in his possession on Nov. 19, 1863, when he spoke at the cemetery dedication. Neither copy contained the words “under God.” Those two copies were later given to John Nicolay and John Hay. Both copies are now in the Library of Congress.
Months later, in 1864, Lincoln penned three more copies in response to requests from Col. Alexander Bliss, Edward Everett and historian George Bancroft. These are the copies that contain the words “under God” but they were written long after he had delivered his address in 1863. The Bliss copy is on display in the White House. The Everett copy is in the Lincoln Presidential Library in Illinois and the Bancroft copy is owned by Cornell University. Instead of showing disdain for God, President Obama was trying to be historically accurate by reading from the same copy used by Lincoln.
RICHARD D. CHRISTIAN