There is no conspiracy here. Obama did not omit the words “under God” because he was trying to rewrite the Gettysburg Address as a secret ploy to promote a God-less society. Instead, he was participating in a history lesson. Perhaps this minor controversy will now alert many to the fact that there were different versions of the speech Lincoln gave on November 19, 1863.
I hope history teachers will recognize this and use the various versions of the Gettysburg Address to teach their students how to think deeply and critically about some of our nation’s most important historical documents.
In the age of the Common Core, where close reading of texts has taken on a new importance in schools, an exercise comparing and contrasting the various versions of the Gettysburg Address could produce a wonderful pedagogical moment.