by Steve Dunn
Today is Presidents’ Day, a holiday that I haven’t always taken as a holiday from work. Dianne and I moved over the weekend, so I thankful for the space to unpack and since the banks are closed, the freedom not to business.
On this day we celebrate the birthdays of unarguably two of the greatest American presidents: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Washington was the general who would turn President, whose faith and moral strength, whose leadership skills and ability to stay focused basically ensured that we would have a nation at all. Lincoln was the country lawyer turned politician whose faith and moral courage, whose vision for human equality and political toughness saw to that government of the people, by the people and for the people did not perish from the earth. And Lincoln insured that we would begin correcting that great injustice of our Founding Fathers who still kept some men in slavery.
As a person who is proudly an American, but more so as a person of deep Christian faith who believes that all people matter to God—I salute these two men. Neither was perfect, as revisionist historians are fond of pointing out, but then none of us are. What they were was men who let the mind of God shape their view of reality and their values as leaders. And many of their words of wisdom could serve well today, despite our secularizing tendency to drive God from the marketplace and from our places of power.
“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
“My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.”
“Stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.”
And then from Mr. Washington:
“He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.”
“Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.”
“Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”