Sunday, April 09, 2006

A House Divided and A Senate Too

On June 18th, 1858 Abraham Lincoln delivered a speech which has become known as the "House Divided" speech

Here is an exerpt:

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention.

If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented.
In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed.

"A house divided against itself cannot stand." I believe this government cannot endure, permanently.

While Mr. Lincoln spoke specifically of the issue of slavery here, I believe the words ring true today with reagrd to the issues of the exercise of faith, the rights of the unborn, the sanctity of marriage, and many other moral issues.

The phrase was actually a paraphrase of the words of Jesus found in three of the four gospels, Matt. 12:25, Mark 3:25, Luke 11:17, and addressed the issue of unity and singlness of purpose. When Abraham Lincoln used the words he was urging the Republican Party not to shrink back from its purpose of abolishing slavery in its entirety. Afterall, the single reason the Party was formed was to abolish slavery. At their meeting of 1858 some wavered on the issue, thus prompting this speech. The Party did unite and 2 years later Lincoln became president with a single purpose, to abolish salvery, and he with the help of his Party did so.

Today the Republican Party again stands at a crossroads and if it ever needed to find unity it does so now. The Party appears to be in disarray, with those in Congress not only at odds with one another, but particularly with their President. Anarchy seems to rule in the GOP and it is filtering down to state and local elections as well. For some reason the Democrats are better at this than the Republicans. They stand strong in showing unity of Purpose. That purpose is to push forward their agenda and to thwart any Republican effort at anything, realizing that together they can regain power and control. While Bill Clinton was president, you did not see or hear of many, if any, Democrats in Congress breaking ranks with their President on any issue. Surely some disagreed with various policies, but it was dealt with internally and among themselves in a way as to maintain unity. Today, however, we see and hear almost daily of Republicans disagreeing, second guessing and breaking ranks with their President on almost every issue. I suppose they believe they are showing strength and independence. But to those who would want to go it alone and show how independent they are, hoping for some advantage in November I have a word of warning. "Woe unto you."

As a believer in a (the) living God and the principles He gave us to live by, I am reminded of another scripture. This one found in Matt. 8:9 is the story of the Centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant. Jesus told him he would come to his home but the Centurion said that was not necessary, and all Jesus needed to do was to speak the word and the servant would be healed. It is a great story, but the thing that stands out most is why the Centurion believed that. He said it was because he (the Centurion) was a man with authority, because he was a man under authority. He understood that because he was under authority and trusted that authority, that authority above him and its inherent power would protect and serve him well. He knew what that authority meant up the chain and down it. In the government and particularly the Republican Party today too many of our leaders do not understand this principle and I believe it will hurt them and our nation. They feel that they are an authority unto themselves and have forgotten from whence that authority comes. It comes from the people, and the people have chosen a president as the supreme authority in our land. As his authority diminishes so does all autority beneath his. A "trickle down" affect if you will.

I believe that it is time for our leaders to remember what authority means, and what it brings. Both submitting to authority and exercising it. Understanding this will, hopefully allow them to regain unity in the Party and possibly even see it spread to bringing about a unity within our entire great nation.

I close with these words from Abraham Lincoln on that June 18th, 1858: Our cause, then, must be intrusted to, and conducted by, its own undoubted friends-those whose hands are free, whose hearts are in the work-who do care for the result. Two years ago the Republicans of the nation mustered over thirteen hundred thousand strong. We did this under the single impulse of resistance to a common danger, with every external circumstance against us. Of strange, discordant, and even hostile elements, we gathered from the four winds, and formed and fought the battle through, under the constant hot fire of a disciplined, proud, and pampered enemy. Did we brave all them to falter now?-now, when that same enemy is wavering, dissevered, and belligerent? The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail-if we stand firm, we shall not fail. Wise counsels may accelerate, or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later, the victory is sure to come.

Let us unite under one God and one President. We can discuss and disagree on some issues, but we must unite on the ones critical to the survival of our nation as we know it.

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