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[S]tudying calendars is a way to understand cultures. Not only are they necessary for basic survival—if you plant either before the last frost or too late after it you’ll starve—but calendars are also ways societies mark their priorities and organize their memories. “Christendom” was very much Christian, and the calendar made that pretty clear.
On this day in 1863, President Lincoln delivered one of the most significant orations in American history. Today's Writer's Almanac marvels at the economy of Lincoln's prose:
...you're likely part of the World Council of Churches. Behold their latest brainchild: Evangelical groups have joined efforts spearheaded by Roman Catholic, Orthodox and mainstream Protestant churches to create a common code for religious conversions that would preserve the right of Christians to spread their religion while avoiding conflict among different faiths...