At the blog for Expelled: No Intelligence, featuring Ben Stein, the producers insist “We’ll take Lincoln Day over Darwin Day…any day.” The whole thing is a pack of lies, ably dissected by PZ Myers. I couldn’t get past the first sentence before giving up on the rest:
Until the late 1980’s when the generic “President’s Day” became the official holiday that subsumed them, America used to celebrate the birthdays of both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
This sentence is grammatically, historically and factually wrong, as is everything else written by the movie’s producers or narrator.
Lincoln’s birthday was never an officially recognized holiday, so their use of the phrase “America used to celebrate” is either wrong or ambiguous. Strictly, the federal government doesn’t recognize a holiday named “Presidents’ Day” or “Presidents Day,” let alone No Intelligence’s “President’s Day.” As Wikipedia notes “President’s Day is a misspelling when used with the intention of celebrating more than one individual.” Next Monday, the feds will celebrate “Washington’s Birthday.”
The law moving that celebration to the third Monday in February was signed into lawtook effect in 1971, during Richard Nixon’s presidency. Ben Stein was, of course, a staffer in that administration, and didn’t have to remain silent on the Lincoln snub for 37 years. He could have insisted that the day be known not as “Washington’s Birthday,” but as Lincoln’s and Washington’s Birthdays,” or some such construction (though that wouldn’t have gone over well with Nixon’s race-baiting Southern Strategy). He didn’t.
Update: I misread the legislative history. Thanks to readers pough and Gemmell for catching the slip.