Abraham Lincoln- not gay!!! (oh but he IS Christian)

This almost amounts to MPSIMS but given the subject I thought I’d put it here.

Just something I tought was amusing (well, if it weren’t so sad). Much like here, the Christian board I lurk on has been talking about the whole Abraham Lincoln was gay thing*. Of course over there the idea is met with scorn, if not horror.

But what I found amusing were the (many) posts tut tut-ing over those silly homosexuals trying to find justification for their “lifestyle” by claiming historical figures for their own…and then in the same breath, claim Lincoln as a fellow Christian. When he never claimed not to be gay (not that I would expect him to say one way or the other) but he certainly stated he was not a Christian.

Pot meet kettle.

  • Personally I don’t think he was. I don’t see any compelling evidence. And if he were, don’t you think Walt Whitman would have know about it :slight_smile: ? C’mon, you’ve got Leonardo Da Vinci and Alexander the Great just to name two…leave us poor heterosexuals with some heros…

This is mainly irrelevant, but I thought I’d share this page I made for a friend a number of years back, after some… interesting conversations about Abe Lincoln (possibly not work safe).

Hmmm…I’m not sure that’s proof of anything, Eonwe. Those images look like they were photoshopped.

Well, actually, he stated that he was not a member of any particular Christian church:

And from his first inaugural address, speaking of the looming seccession:

Scholars disagree vehemently on whether Lincoln was a Christian. Joseph Holland’s and G. Frederick Owen’s biographies (to pick a contemparary and modern example) both paint Lincoln as a man of Christian faith; Ward H. Lamon’s and Carl Sandburg’s argue strongly that he was a freethinker.

I would say a fair-minded answer to this issue is that it is simply unclear whether Lincoln was, or was not, Christian. It’s certainly clear he was not a fervent believer in sharing his religious views.

He also said:

“The Bible is not my book and Christianity is not my religion.”

He certainly seems to be a man who’s world view was informed by the better parts of Christian thought. ( And who, as a politician, knew when to mention Christianity in a speech. )

But I doubt he’d pass muster according to the contemporary fundamentalist conception of Christian. Still, they are all to eager to claim him for themselves…just as they are accusing homosexuals of doing.

You’re really gonna have to cite that one, Betty. I have enormous admiration for Mr. Lincoln, but the genius that emerged grew out from an ambitious and intelligent politician. Publicly denying Christianity would be political suicide in our own depraved times, in 1850’s America…might as well pull out your pecker on the rostrum and nail it to the flagpole. Game over.

Mr. Lincoln was not much given to self-revelation, save indirectly, so we are lost in conjecture. For myself, I mostly think that he regarded himself as a Christian but shied away from public association to a given denomination mostly from poltical expediency, and secondarily because of an unwillingness to devote attention to arcane theological distinctions. It is a faith more of shrugging acceptance than of zeal. He didn’t wear his feelings on his sleeve, they were carved into his face, a craggy monument to sorrow, gravity, and compassion.

Be that as it may, Mr. Lincoln could not possibly have been unaware that a public declaration of atheism would be an act of sheerest lunacy, politics-wise. I intend to cast no aspersion on Betty, but cannot help but be enormously skeptical.

May I introduce to you folks Norinew, WeRSauron, zev_steinhart, and cmkeller, among others? It’s quite possible to believe in God without being a Christian. (And, given the topic, it’s quite possible to be gay and do either.)

Not Christian and believes in God? Hmmmmmm…ponder, ponder…oh, right! Unitarians!

…Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, to name a slight few, and not to mention people who believe in a divine presence without subscribing to any organized religion.

Or am I being whooshed?

Well first of all, my name is not fucking BETTY. Even if this is the pit if I were to respond to your post I would try to get your name right. I am not now nor will I ever be a BETTY. Thank you.

Secondly I posted the particuar quote because I have seen it on a number of Lincoln sites. Not just ones trying to prove he was an athiest…or trying to prove anything. It seem pretty well established…although he might not have said it publicly (I did say he was also a politician).

Thirdly, it was not so much the point of my post to argue whether he could be called a Christian or not…just the sad specatcle of fundamentalist Christians trying to “claim” him while making fun of homosexuals for doing the same thing.

Yeah, but being not a Christian and holding national public office in the 1850s would be harder, which is luci’s point, I think, although there were a few Jewish members of the House (Lewis Levin, American-PA, David Kaufman, D-TX, Emmanuel Hart D-NY, Phillip Phillips, D-AL, and Henry Phillips, D-PA) and two Jewish senators (David Yulee, D-FL, and Judah Benjamin, D-LA).

As for Lincoln’s religious beliefs, I think they changed throughout time. My reading of him is that he was a sceptic when he was young, and then, as he got older, due in part to the war and the death of his sons, had what would now be known as a “born again” moment, and got very fatalistic and Christian, so much so, that by his second inaugaral, he’s talking about how God allowed the war to happen to punish America for slavery and that the war and the suffering needs to continue until God thinks we’ve been punished enough. He also, at other points, talks about how he expects to die when the war is over, because he’s fufilled his purpose. That sort of stuff isn’t what you’d expect from the young Lincoln.

Your choice. But when you call him, you can’t call him Al now.


Lincoln stated explicitly that he did not believe in the divinity of Jesus and was hugely skeptical of all things religious. He once called Jesus an “illegitimate child” and even wrote a book debunking Christianity which was destroyed by a friend to prevent him from publishing it. The following are some excerpts from letter written by a close friend who details Lincoln’s religious views.

Lincoln’s beliefs may have been something akin to Deism but a Christian he most definitely was not and he said so.

’lucy, I understand where you’re coming from but Lincoln did not deny Christianity publicly, only privately to friends…friends who made heroic efforts to keep his views from becoming public. When Lincoln was accused by political enemies of being an “infidel” or an “atheist” he did not confirm it publicly but did not deny it either.

Dio beat me to it, but, yes, Lincoln was not a believing Christian. I don;t think he was an atheist, but he certainly denied the standard tenets of Christian faith.

And he wasn’t gay, either. The claim itself is ahistorical–the idea of sexuality as personal identity didn’t exist in 19th century America, and the evidence that Lincoln, ahem, “canoodled” with Joshua Speed is exceedingly thin.
and Betenoir can tell his Xians that some of us gay folks need no validation fron identification with historical personages.

I think it would have been easier for someone to come to public office back then w/o having to declare that one is this or that type of Christianity. Jefferson was a Deist, if memory serves–ok, so that’s not the same era, but IMO, back then, one could get away w/o having a codified religion.

Apparently, nowadays, you can be anything, as long as it’s Christian.

PS-I doubt he was gay. I know he suffered from depression and wasn’t Mary a wee odd, too? Also, the physical contact between males is socially sanctioned and has changed throughout the years, no?

I think the gay rumor stems largely from the fact that he once shared a bed with a roommate but that was commonplace back then.

I don’t think that “the idea of sexuality as personal identity didn’t exist in 19th century America” is neccesarily true. I know that’s what people like Foucault said, but there certainly was the idea that there were people attracted to only their own gender. Look at, for example, Graham Robb’s “Strangers”, or Daniel Quinn’s “Same-Sex Dynamics among Nineteenth Century Americans”

Seriously, I am a little confused. Where did all this talk about Lincoln being a gay man come in?

Lincoln was a manic depressive who contemplated suicide, who stood up Mary Todd once and then was able to convince her to marry him in spite of the slight, and then she stood by him steadfastly throughout his depression. If I recall correctly, they had a child who died, or she miscarried or something…Not saying that absolves him (wrong word but, oh well) of beign a homosexual, but this is the first I’ve heard of this assertation.

Can anyone explain?



The idea has been around for a while, some books have been written about it. I don’t buy it myself.