Jan 30, 2013
Ellen and I went to see the movie “Lincoln” a month or so ago… it was amazing. I won’t say much more about it other than the fact that all American’s should go see that film. It might also help if I clarify a little confusion that I have heard from people regarding the subject matter. This is not a film about the Emancipation Proclamation… that took place in 1862 and was a war time proclamation intended to free slaves of their owners in southern states. This movie is about the passing of the 13 amendment which outlawed slavery in our country and was not passed by congress until 1865.
Years ago I read a book entitled “The Day Lincoln Was Shot”, but I had never read anything else about him other than articles and quotes here and there and whatever one learns in history books. So last week I picked up “The Life of Abraham Lincoln” by Henry Ketcham. (This is a public domain book and can be downloaded for free onto any electronic devise you might have for that purpose). Did you know that more books have been written about Lincoln than any person in history except Jesus?! Ketcham gives a great overview of the life of our 16th president but doesn’t go into much detail. There was/is much to be learned by me about this amazing man! I’d like to recount one thing that took me by surprise.
Let me say in defense of myself that my history is not strong so for those of you who know all these things don’t think of me as too uninformed… just somewhat uninformed. Lincoln was elected to the Presidency in November of 1860 but was not inaugurated until March of 1861. During the months leading up to his election and for the four months after his election before taking office, the southern politicians in Washington were very busy. Buchanan the president who preceded Lincoln was inept at best and he allowed what I am about to describe to occur. Because war was inevitable from the south’s perspective, before official secession they took the occasion of Buchanan’s incompetence and their own contacts and positions to strengthen the southern militias and weaken the northern military. Arms and ammunition in the north were plundered and sent south. Soldiers of the Federal Government who would make up the beginning of the Northern Army were dispersed all over the country so they would not be easily rallied. The South spent months preparing for War and consequently they had a decided advantage when the war began. Lincoln who was a private citizen until he was sworn in had to sit and watch this destruction and manipulation knowing that he would be inheriting a political, economic and military mess.
Sure enough, the South had decided victories at the beginning of the war. There were many reasons for this but none more than what had been done to undermine the northern war machine by the south before they left.
Some might say that “all is fair in love and war.” But this goes much deeper. I want to be sensitive to those who have differing opinions regarding the “real reason” for the civil war. I would suggest however that there was/is a very basic insidious evil to the institution of slavery as practiced in our country. The evil went way beyond “Economics.” The evil went to the very core of wickedness and human depravity; no more and no less than the attempted extermination of the Jews in another war.
I write all of this to point out one thing… evil at times seems to have the upper hand. Evil often seems better organized and more competent. Evil “uses” good people. (There have been few Godlier men in history than Robert E. Lee) Sometimes it seems that God is absent when evil is plentiful. Certainly these things seemed to be true when our Lord was crucified. And they seem to be true in our lives at times as well.
Not everyone reading this will agree with me but I believe one of the great evils of our time is the extermination of 55 million babies in our country over the past 40 years. I am not naïve… I am fully cognizant of the fact that there are all sorts of circumstances surrounding the conception of children and some of them are dreadful. The fact that we have so openly and readily accepted the “Final Solution” to our pregnancy “problem” is witness to the fact that we have lost our moral bearings. Our culture has adopted the “me first” philosophy of life i.e. whatever it takes to please me and to fulfill my life. I don’t find that in scripture so I have to conclude that it’s in opposition to the things of a Holy God. Please don’t misunderstand me… I know this is an enormously complicated issue… again… sort of like what to do with the Jews in the 1930’s and 40’s in Germany.
How we should all long for courageous leaders like Lincoln. Leaders who will stand against a ground swell of wickedness. Leaders who will get their morals from Almighty God rather than from the next special interest group that will get them reelected. Leaders who would rather die than acquiesce to an immoral cultural drift. I would encourage you to pray to this end rather than pray that your party of choice gets elected.