Subject: America’s Spiritual Crisis: If We Remain A Divided House, We Cannot Stand
Mark 3:25 “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
One of Abraham Lincoln’s greatest personal qualities was his passion to unite our nation around the dignity of all people. As America raged over whether slavery was an abomination or a right for privileged white landowners, Lincoln delivered his “House Divided” speech in 1858 at his nomination for US Senator.
The best known part of the speech was when he applied Jesus Christ’s words in Mark 3:25 to America’s divided stance on slavery: “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure… half slave and half free… Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States… North as well as South.”
In 1861, with a nation deeply divided, several southern states separated from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America, to stand against Lincoln’s anti-slavery mandate. The Confederate army’s capture of Fort Sumter was the fuse that ignited the Civil War. America as a nation went to war – brother against brother – for four years and at an ultimate cost of over 600,000 lives.
In his January 24th article entitled “America’s Second Civil War”, columnist Dennis Prager compares and contrasts the ideals that divided America then with those that are splitting us apart today: “It is time for our society to acknowledge a sad truth: America is currently fighting its second Civil War. In fact, with the obvious exception of attitudes toward slavery, Americans are more divided morally, ideologically and politically today than they were during the Civil War. This Second Civil War, fortunately, differs in another critically important way: It has thus far been nonviolent.”
Who are the opponents in this “Second Civil War”? Is it republicans vs. democrats? Or conservatives vs. liberals? Christians vs. Muslims? Blacks vs. whites? None of the above. Prager calls out the opponents as the “Left” vs. the “Right”. To give us a better understanding of the divide in America today between the two sides, here is a selection from Prager’s article “A Guide to Basic Differences Between Left and Right”.
What would you say is the source of human rights? The Left believes it is government. The Right believes it is God. What is the primary role of government? The Left believes it is to increase and protect equality. The Right believes it is to increase and protect liberty. How do we make a good society? The Left says abolish inequality. The Right says develop moral character. What is the primary source of crime? The Left says poverty, racism and other societal flaws. The Right says it is the criminal’s malfunctioning conscience.
What is the condition of humanity? The Left believes people are basically good, so society is responsible for evil. The Right believes people are basically not good, so each individual is responsible for evil. How can you tell good from evil? The Left says it is relative to each individual and/or society. The Right says it is objective based on universal absolutes. What is the greatest threat facing the world today? The Left says environmental catastrophe (currently global warming). The Right says evil (currently radical Islam).
What do we mean by ‘gender’? The Left believes it is a social construct. The Right believes it is male and female. What is the ideal family structure? The Left believes it is any loving unit of people. The Right believes it is a married father and mother and their children. What is the most important trait to cultivate in children? The Left believes it is self-esteem. The Right believes it is self-control. What determines the worth of an unborn baby? The Left says the mother. The Right says God.
What place does God and religion have in America? The Left believes in secular government and secular society. The Right believes in secular government and religious society. How do people view America as a nation? The Left believes America is seriously flawed and not exceptional. The Right believes America is the greatest force for good among nations in world history.
These contrasts are more than ideological differences. What the Civil War and this “Second Civil War” have in common is a spiritual crisis. We have put ideology ahead of unity as one nation. Jesus Christ stands for the unifying love God has for all people, regardless of ethnicity, social standing, gender and ideology. As God says, “Love does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil.” (1Corinthians 13:5). May we engage one another without losing our love and respect for one another.
“The Evidence of Faith’s Substance”, Article #231