President Obama has elected to skip today’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. But he participated in video readings of the address for a Ken Burns project. Along with 61 other lawmaker and celebrity participants, Obama read the address on camera from a teleprompter. But unlike the other participants, all of whom recited the entire address, Chris Plante noticed that Barack Obama left out two words: “Under God.”
Watch the video.
Obama leaves out “under God” at about the 1:35 mark, in the line “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.” The “new birth of freedom” line is among the most important in the brief, eloquent address. It gives purpose to the bloody Civil War, which raged at the time Lincoln spoke and would rage on until Lee’s surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865.
This is not the first time Barack Obama has made this omission.
Obama has repeatedly claimed a connection to President Lincoln, yet he appears to have taken it upon himself to rewrite the 16th president’s landmark address. Did Obama omit “under God” in the moment? If so, why? Was the text loaded into his teleprompter altered to ensure that he would not speak those two words? Why has Obama, who claims to be a Christian, established a pattern of omitting those two words from pledges and now the original text of what is arguably the most important speech ever delivered by an American president?