The New York Times Features Opinion Piece Written by Gardner-Webb Professor

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Dr. Joseph Moore Offers Insight with “Lincoln, God and the Constitution”

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – The world-renowned newspaper publication The New York Times has selected the work of a Gardner-Webb University history professor to appear in its online opinion/editorial section, which features commentary from a variety of authors on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

GWU Assistant Professor of History Dr. Joseph Moore says recent research he completed relating to the history of Scottish Covenanters, Christianity, and early-American politics led him to pitch an idea to editors at The New York Times. The thought became reality on Thursday, Dec. 4 when his article, “Lincoln, God and the Constitution,” was published online at

The Times has been running a sesquicentennial series on the Civil War since 2011,” Moore explained. “These pieces reflect on important events in the Civil War as their anniversaries pass, and have sparked vibrant dialogue between historians, museum curators, and the reading public. I reached out to their editor with an idea from my book and they accepted it.”

While working on his dissertation, Moore became interested in the Scottish Covenanters, a group of fundamentalist Presbyterians who vowed to maintain the Presbyterian doctrine and policy as the sole form of religion of their country. While the Covenanters were successful in establishing their form of Christianity in Scotland in the 1600s, their efforts to replicate those foundations in the newly formed United States were unsuccessful.

Moore’s book, “The Failure to Found a Christian Nation: Covenanters and the American Republic,” traces the Covenanters’ political roots from Scotland to the New World. His op/ed piece in the Times reflects the Covenanters’ efforts to coerce President Abraham Lincoln into inserting specific references to God in the U.S. Constitution.

Following his recent scholarly endeavors, Moore says he has enjoyed both the opportunity to share his findings with various audiences and offer information to students about his research experiences. “Gardner-Webb’s faculty are continuously involved in cutting edge research,” he shared. “What sets us apart is the amount of involvement our undergraduate students have in that research.  My students offered me feedback on this material, just as I give them feedback on their work.  Many of their papers go on to be published in academic journals.  In most universities today, only graduate students get that experience.”

The New York Times is an American daily newspaper, founded and continuously published in New York City since Sept. 18, 1851, by The New York Times Company. With 114 Pulitzer Prizes, it has won more than any other news organization. The paper’s print version remains the largest metropolitan newspaper in the United States and second-largest newspaper overall, behind The Wall Street Journal.

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University blends a liberal arts core curriculum with more than 55 major and minor professional programs of study, a comprehensive academic experience that flows from our Christian commitment to intellectual freedom, service and leadership.