John Hagee was on Glenn Beck’s show recently to discuss prayer with regard to the upcoming election. Glenn Beck called him a “prophet of our times” and they both said that this is the most important election since the Civil War. Speaking of the Civil War, John Hagee also said that Lincoln’s national day of prayer that occurred on April 30, 1863, was the cause of the end of the war. Video and transcript below:
The thing that brought the civil war, in my mind, to an end, was that Abraham Lincoln called for a day of fasting and prayer for the whole nation. And it’s recorded, in the Washington Library of Congress. And it was approved by the Senate, and there was a specific day that he called all of the people of America to pray.
We had six hundred thousand Americans were killed in the Civil War. [sic] We lost twenty-three thousand in one day at Antietam. Fifty-three thousand were killed at Gettysburg.
Well, those stats are correct (Gettysburg is a little high; in addition, he is obviously interpreting “casualties” to mean “deaths” which isn’t always the case). He forgot to mention something directly relevant, however; while Lincoln did indeed have a day of prayer (like I said, April 30, 1863), the war didn’t end until April 9, 1865 — two entire years later!
Not only that, but five major battles occurred during that time for an estimated 171,821 casualties. Once again, that’s in only five post-prayer battles. The battles taken into account were the Battles of Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Spotslyvania Court House, Chancellorsville, and the horrific Battle of the Wilderness.
That prayer really help that 170k+ men. Hagee’s statements on this are a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, more commonly known as simply post hoc or “coincidental correlation fallacy.” Just because one thing happened before another does in no way imply it was the cause of the latter event. Nothing more than we should expect from someone on Glenn Beck.