Tag Archives: Abraham Lincoln

In defense of our most ancient values & ideals

Towards the end of President Barak Obama’s second inaugural address he argued:

“You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.”

I wholly agree with this inspiring proposition by the President. Barak Obama is indeed one of the most accomplished speakers of our time. Yet, I discovered as perhaps you did also that not all of Obama’s inaugural speech was equally inspiring.  Nevertheless, believing the President to be a fair and open-minded man, I lift up my voice in defense of my brethren’s most ancient values and enduring ideals and call upon the President to re-consider the logic and the spirit of some of the positions he has taken.

The United States of America is at a crossroads. Time is quickly running out for the world’s dominant superpower and number one economy to set its house in order. There are several startling trends afoot in the nation that will humble it, if not bring it down completely, if not effectively resolved.

But as you begin your second term in office, Mr. President, you seem to give every indication that you misunderstand just how gravely wounded the nation is financially and politically, certainly— but especially, morally. The secular press tends to overlook the fact that it will be of the Spirit if the Flesh [the nation’s material well-being & future] is to be saved from the gathering crisis. After all, what was it that sustained Abraham Lincoln and the Union in their time of trial?  Was it just their rifles and canons? Was it not the righteousness of their cause?

David Brooks, a conservative journalist working for the liberal New York Times, made this comment about your second inauguration speech:

I also think Obama misunderstands this moment. The Progressive Era, New Deal and Great Society laws were enacted when America was still a young and growing nation. They were enacted in a nation that was vibrant, raw, under-institutionalized and needed taming.

We are no longer that nation. We are now a mature nation with an aging population [Why we might ask? Is it because the vibrant potential of so many millions of our white, black, and Latino youth and their potential children have been sacrificed on abortion’s pagan altar of selfish convenience?].

Far from being under-institutionalized, we are bogged down with a bloated political system, a tangled tax code, a byzantine legal code, and a crushing debt [not to mention an appalling amount of fiscal corruption at the highest levels of American society]. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/22/opinion/brooks-the-collective-turn.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1358883569-pQYbbD/j2/ypooIiqVZgIg

Mr. President, what are you going to do to address this harsh, on-going, destructive reality sapping America’s strength?

Next is the urgently needed healing of the nation’s bitter political divide. Do you remember what Abraham Lincoln said: a House divided will fall? [Actually, Lincoln was just quoting Jesus Christ from Matthew 12:25]. Good will and a spirit of collaboration with a generous sprinkling of patriotism are absolutely necessary to enact desperately needed reforms. I sense that your speech fell short in this regard. It seems to me that it failed to reach across the blue vs. red divide. It did, however, stoke up the partisan spirit of your so-called “progressive wing” of the Democratic Party.  Maybe that’s all your speech was intended to do.

Still, I consider it a failure to rekindle the spirit of collaboration desperately needed throughout America. This failure was symbolically evident by who was NEITHER present NOR accounted for at your swearing in.  Where were former President George W. Bush, and the 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney? Why weren’t they seated on the speaker’s platform beside you for the whole nation to see even a semblance of unity or brotherhood among the nation’s leaders? Couldn’t you find a few gracious words to speak in order to persuade them to come? Was extending the olive branch just too hard? Must it always be a zero-sum game? Is pride getting in the way of taking care of the nation’s urgent business? You know what they say about pride going before a….

The bad blood is obviously such that, ominously, most of the Republican delegation from the House of Representatives wouldn’t come to your big bash—even have a few free drinks!  Such political bitterness in Washington, D.C. is systemically weakening America’s ability to meet the long-term challenge posed by a rising geo-political competitor like China.

As for addressing the nation’s moral problems, The Washington Times newspaper noted in its January 22, 2013 editorial:

Though the theme of Inauguration Day 2013 was “faith in America’s future,” the United States has seldom chosen a president more determined to separate the nation from its traditional reverence for faith, family and freedom. The proposition that individuals “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, is harder to see in the vision of Mr. Obama’s America where administrative agencies make choices for individuals, even down to the details of dictating the design of everyday household appliances….

The signature achievement of his first term, Obamacare, established the precedent whereby the White House can force citizens to purchase a service that had previously been a matter of personal choice. The health care mandate goes so far as to override the distinct choices of religious organizations, forcing them to provide contraception and abortion coverage against their will. This is a clear attempt to undermine the previously sacrosanct respect for religious freedom in American political culture.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/22/inaugurating-leviathan/#ixzz2IjlLTXSy

Now please, carefully consider this final point Mr. President.  When you swore your oath of office with your left hand placed on the Bibles once used by Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln, you said:

My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction – and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service.

You pointed out in your inaugural speech following this oath that the nation’s “freedom was a gift from God” though it “must be secured by His people here on Earth.”

And like previous American presidents, at the close of his inaugural address you invoked a blessing from America’s historic God, upon both people and nation, saying: “God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.”

I don’t think it would be too controversial to assert that the God you officially referred to was in fact the God of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures. Not Allah. Not Buddha. Not one of the millions of the Hindu gods. Not John Lennon of the Beatles who once boasted that he was more popular than Jesus Christ, nor even the latest re-incarnation of some Marilyn Monroe Hollywood sex idol. America’s Founding Fathers and patriots overwhelmingly claimed the Bible’s God as America’s God. I’m sure you must know that.

But did you realize, Mr. President, that when you took this oath of office calling publicly upon the Bible’s God to be a witness and to hold you accountable, and  claimed in your inaugural speech to want to govern our people by “our most ancient values and enduring ideals,” that there would be negative consequences if you did all this just for show—hypocritically.

And make no mistake about it, the Bible’s ancient values and ideals are indeed enduring because they are the Truth and are essential reading for anyone who wants the Bible’s God to give him or her a blessing of hope and peace in this life and, eventually, the fullness of eternal life—rather than a cursing, heart-ache, and futility in this life and then the emptiness of eternal death. As Jesus of Nazareth said:

Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth (John 17:17 Amplified Bible)

And…

“Man shall not live by bread [materialistic means] alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God [spiritual means]” (Matthew 4:4 English Standard Version). 

In the Judeo-Christian Scriptures we see that there is a clear and repeated historic pattern of bad consequences that come when either leaders or  people hypocritically claim God as their God, take oaths and invoke blessings using His name, but do not do what He commands. God does not consider such people to be guiltless even though they just say what they say because of tradition and the fact that they want to look good in public (Exodus 20:7). There are unpleasant consequences for such hypocrisy.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, freedom—we’re talking political, economic, and religious freedom—is always presented as being conditional upon obedience by the nation or leader who calls upon the Bible’s God. In other words, a leader or a nation that calls upon the Bible’s God as their God must be found living within the ancient values and ideals expounded in His law or face the consequences.

Consider, Mr. President Obama, this statement that you made in your second inaugural speech:

“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

Is the physical expression of homosexual love in a marriage allowed by man’s law truly equal to that of a heterosexual one, which is sanctioned by the Scriptures, in the eyes of the Bible’s God? Does the Bible’s God have a preference, or none at all?

The New Covenant Scriptures tell us this: “For the whole law [God’s law] is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Galatians 5:14 English Standard Version

Well, someone might argue, surely this Scripture justifies your proposition, Mr. President, because of what that person may subjectively feel about someone else. But does it? Is God’s standard of Truth based on subjective human feeling? Is it correct to say that as long as I just feel “love” for my neighbour then surely I’m okay in God’s sight whatever I do homosexually or heterosexually—that it’s all equal?

To answer this question one needs to know just how the word “love” is defined by the Bible’s God in the original languages in which the Scriptures were written and in its actual usage. To answer this question, if you really want to know, check out my online, streaming archived sermon series on love at:

http://cogwebcast.com/sermons/video-archives/finding-true-love-love-your-neighbour/

and

http://cogwebcast.com/sermons/video-archives/finding-true-love-self-love-or-selfishness/

and

http://cogwebcast.com/sermons/video-archives/finding-true-love-our-love-for-god/

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.

U.S.A.—already off the cliff and falling from greatness?

The financial market looked into the crystal ball when trading began the morning of Election Day, November 6, 2012, and predicted an Obama victory. The market’s prediction came about 12 hours before the TV networks made their predictions that evening. So how did the market decide that Obama was going to win? Well, it just looked at the money. And I’m not talking about flipping a coin.

After several soft weeks of declining, weak gold prices, in one hour during the morning of Election Day the rustless yellow metal spiked upwards $31.50 an ounce. This signaled that the market believed the Obama government’s inflationary, deficit-spending, quantitatively easing fiscal policies would continue as our status quo. While Obama’s slogan focused on change, and on protecting change, from the market’s perspective very little, if anything, was going to change.

It is ironic that while the majority of Americans want a change for the better, what they actually voted for is the preservation of a status quo characterized by many as divided, gridlocked government that’s failing to deliver that change for the better.

Despite the Obama administration having one of the poorest economic and unemployment records among all U.S. administrations over the last 100 years, a narrow majority of the American people decided to give Barak Obama another four years so that he could improve upon his prior failure. And, to insure this outcome, Americans also re-elected most of the incumbent Republicans as the majority in the House of Representatives. And, of course, they will assuredly “help” Obama achieve what Obama thinks is best for the nation?

Duh! Seems like Hollywood writer and director Peter Farrelly was being prophetic when he created the 1994 movie Dumb and Dumber. I’ll let you figure out which of the two American political parties is dumb and which is dumber. Why is this happening? Because the heart is sick, the head is foolish.

And, what did the obscene $6 billion spent by big American money on this last election really buy or accomplish, besides turning the U.S. of A. into a “bastardized democracy,” according to the Canadian MP Pat Martin?

Well, a political cartoon that appeared in today’s Times-Colonist newspaper (Victoria, B.C.) sums it up nicely.  In 2008, America was divided almost equally between smug Democrats and angry Republicans. The 2012 American political map is now divided between very smug Democrats and very angry Republicans. Wow! So U.S.$ 6 billion can only buy in 2012 a couple of adverbs on negativity?

There have been times over the course of the American republic during the last two hundred years when strong leadership would have been nice, but it wasn’t really essential for the nation’s growth, much less its survival.  Almost as if it was on automatic pilot, the American nation grew noticeably more prosperous and qualitatively stronger year after year. America’s ascendency to greatness seemed unstoppable, a genuine manifest destiny.

But that’s not the situation any more. Now America is in decline. See Sarah Boesveld’s article in the National Post: Canada rises to Top Five in Economic Freedom ranking as U.S. plummets to 18th  http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/09/18/canada-rises-to-top-five-in-world-economic-freedom-ranking-as-u-s-plummets-to-18th/ Accessed Nov. 8, 2012

 America is living on borrowed money and borrowed time. And far too many very smug Americans are living in denial about the seriousness of their situation. America, now, is more like Wiley Coyote who has just run off the cliff but his legs are still churning furiously in the air—while outside observers wait breathlessly for the inevitable to happen: the sudden plunge that always ends with a violent crash on the rocks at the bottom of the canyon.

Media commentators are talking about what is called the “financial cliff.” But Rep. Ron Paul, who unsuccessfully ran for the presidential nomination of the Republican Party during this last election cycle thinks we’re already over the cliff. We’re broke, he says. And beyond that, the nation can’t fill its leadership positions with enough people who will do the wise things necessary to avoid complete disaster. According to Rep. Paul:

 People do not want anything cut. They want all the bailouts to come. They want the Fed to keep printing the money. And they don’t believe that we’ve gone off the cliff or are close to going off the cliff. They think we can patch it over, that we can somehow come up with some magic solution. But you can’t have a budgetary solution if you don’t change what the role of government should be. As long as you think we have to police the world and run this welfare state, all we are going to argue about is who will get the loot.

http://www.bloomberg.com/video/ron-paul-on-fiscal-cliff-and-vows-to-compromise-MYkAiqYBTaiHwXZL9Tvxkw.html Accessed Nov. 8, 2012

During his victory speech on Election Night, Barak Obama insisted that the best days for America are yet in the future. Well, maybe. But not if the nation’s political leadership remains gridlocked and frustrated from formulating real solutions to America’s massive problems: its uncontrollable appetite for racking up more than U.S.$ one trillion of debt every ten months, its trade imbalance with the rest of the world, and its lack of energy independence. And that’s just for starters.

Most media commentators today aren’t talking about the massive and rapid growth in the nation’s deficit in morals and ethics. Even the phrase “social conservatism” seems to be anathema to the very smug among the governing class these days.

There was a period of time in America’s past, about 150 years ago, when Democrats and Republicans and the nation as a whole were similarly embittered and divided. We call that period of time the American Civil War. The occupant of the White House at that time was trying to hold a divided America together. Abraham Lincoln, however, unlike most of the 21st Century’s hypocritical American politicians, got his inspiration about the right things to do in his personal as well as public life from the Judeo-Christian Bible. He understood the truth and wisdom of the following the principles taught by the Scriptures. One of those principles that Lincoln was fond of is particularly pertinent at this exact moment to the America of the 21st Century:

 Then some people brought to Jesus a man who was blind and could not talk because he had a demon. Jesus healed the man, so that he was able to talk and see. The crowds were all amazed at what Jesus had done. “Could he be the Son of David?” [the Messiah who will rule in the prophesied Kingdom of God] they asked.

When the Pharisees heard this, they replied, “He drives out demons only because their ruler Beelzebul gives him power to do so.” Jesus knew what they were thinking, and so he said to them, “Any country that divides itself into groups which fight each other will not last very long. And any town or family that divides itself into groups which fight each other will fall apart. So if one group is fighting another in Satan’s kingdom, this means that it is already divided into groups and will soon fall apart! (Matthew 12:22-26 Good News Translation)

It is neither money, military strength nor “political correctness” that makes a nation great. To back away from the edge of the cliff, America’s leaders and people need to change their vicious partisan spirit that has infected the whole nation with bitterness, rancor and backbiting.  The whole political dialogue needs to change. As Jesus of Nazareth said to the political slanderers and mudslingers of his day,

You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:34 English Standard Version)

The American people and its leaders need to re-embrace the motto that their ancestors once believed in so strongly that they even had it inscribed on their money: In God We Trust.  Unless the nation returns to its roots, America like Wiley Coyote, will eventually plummet and crash on the rocks below, being bankrupt not only financially but also morally. And the world will marvel at how the leaders of what was once the greatest nation on Earth destroyed it bit by bit foolishly, all by themselves, as Abraham Lincoln warned so long ago.

For the full text of Abraham Lincoln’s House Divided speech see: http://www.angelfire.com/my/abrahamlincoln/HouseDivided.html