In them Lincoln noted that at the center of the conflict over slavery were very different interpretations of the Bible.
Lincoln said of the two sides in the war, “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other.” Southern preachers and slave owners believed the many references in the Bible permitting and regulating slavery (well over 100 verses), in both the Old and the New Testaments, were clear evidence that the institution was a part of God’s social and moral order.
Abolitionist preachers argued in their sermons that the verses related to slavery in the Bible were a reflection of the cultural context and times in which the Bible was written and did not reflect God’s endorsement of slavery.
This was the position that Lincoln himself adopted.At the center of the divide over homosexuality today is the Bible.Conservatives and progressives “read from the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other.” There are a handful of Scriptures (five or eight depending upon how one counts) that specifically speak of same-sex intimacy as unacceptable to God.Homosexuality is one of the most divisive issues within churches and across our country today.The issue has become, for some, a litmus test on fidelity to God and the scriptures.
The divide is not just between the progressives and conservatives.It is also a generational divide, with younger Christians generally seeing this issue differently than older Christians.I recently delivered the sermon for the National Prayer Service at the presidential inauguration.While in Washington I took my family to the Lincoln Memorial.This iconic structure stands as a reminder of America’s great dream of equality and President Lincoln’s role in the emancipation of America’s slaves and the abolition of slavery in America.The words to Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address are inscribed on the north wall of the memorial’s interior.