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Christian History

Today in Christian History

June 14

June 14, 1811: Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin and daughter of Congregationalist minister Lyman Beecher, is born in Litchfield, Connecticut. When she met Abraham Lincoln in 1863, he reportedly said, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!" (see issue 33: Christianity and the Civil War).

June 14, 847: Methodius, an Eastern church leader who fought vigorously for icons to be preserved and venerated, dies of dropsy. He had earlier survived seven years of imprisonment with a decaying corpse, as ordered by officials under iconoclastic Emperor Theophilus. Upon Theophilus's death his wife, Theodora, took Methodius's side, and he was named Patriarch of Constantinople (see issue 54: Eastern Orthodoxy).

June 14, 1936: English writer G.K. Chesterton dies at age 62. Authors from T.S. Eliot (who penned his obituary) to H.G. Wells, a longtime friend and debating opponent, expressed their grief. After the funeral, Pope Pius XI declared the rotund writer (a convert from Anglicanism to Catholicism) Defender of the Faith (see issue 75: G.K. Chesterton).

June 14, 1954: On flag day in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill adding the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance.

June 14, 1966: The Vatican announces that its "Index of Prohibited Books" (created in 1557 by the Congregation of the Inquisition under Pope Paul IV) no longer carried the force of ecclesiastical law. But the announcement made clear that the Index retains moral force.

July 24, 1725: John Newton, author of "Amazing Grace" and other hymns, is born in London. Converted to Christianity while working on a slave ship, he hoped as a Christian to restrain the worst excesses of the slave trade, "promoting the life of God in the soul" of both his crew and his African cargo. In 1764 he became an Anglican minister and each week wrote a hymn to be sung to a familiar tune. In 1787 Newton wrote Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade to help William Wilberforce's campaign to ...

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