Americans who have been living under a large, soundproof rock for the past year or so may be forgiven for not knowing that February marked the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. The rest of us have no excuse, and the nation’s publishers have certainly done their part to ensure that no aspect of the 16th president’s life is overlooked.
During the third debate of the 2000 presidential election, then–vice president Al Gore stepped away from his podium and wandered over to George W. Bush’s side of the stage while Bush was answering a question. Observers were perplexed. Was Gore attempting to establish an alpha-male persona?
Most Americans assume that the separation of church and state is a fundamental principle deeply rooted in American constitutionalism; that the First Amendment was intended to ensure that government does not involve itself with religion (and vice versa); and that contemporary debates over such vexing issues as school prayer, voucher programs, govern