On June 16th 1858, Abraham Lincoln stood with both feet planted and voice lifted high, and delivered one of his more famous speeches in American History. Upon receiving the Republican Party’s nomination to run for Senator of Illinois, (which he lost) he delivered the speech that is known today as the “House Divided” speech. The poignant part of the speech that is treasured today is as follows.
A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. 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 alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South
Standing here 154 years later, that once divided nation stands yet again at the cross roads of cultural conflict. In those days the just cause was to see the demise of slavery. Today however, the just cause is to stand in defense of the family. With the current uproar over Dan Cathy’s (President of Chik-fil-A) defense of Biblical marriage, and a major Political party of the United States (Democratic National Committee) making blatant defiance of God an officially welcomed part of their platform, there are certain things that must be said, said firmly but tactfully, and said without apology or compromise.
#1 – America is Not a United People. – To say that we are a United people is tantemount to the fairy tale of the “King’s New Clothes.” We are more divided than we have ever been; and regardless of politicians and pundits may say, the divisions we now face are mutually exclusive, and possess no geography for compromise. The faultline of our nations fellowship rests in the difference between, “every man doing that which is right in his own eyes”, and doing “that which is right in the sight of the Lord.” Half of the nation believes in the fixed standard of right and wrong, and the other half does not. (“Half” being used rhetorically.) The middle ground between the two does not exist. The lines of division are clearly marked and mutually exclusive: God defined Family verses a Re-defined Family; Pro-Choice verses Pro-Life; Individual Responsiblity verses a Nanny State. In short, there is a moral division that is easier to see, deeper in tone, and louder in voice than it has been in our nations history. Of course, in the far background, behind all things seen, all cultural battles are symptoms of spiritual war. In the foreground however, one aspect of what we are watching is a battle for the dictionary. Men are trying to hijack the terms of right and wrong, along with the ability to make up their own definitions of truth. As long as that is the case, there will be permanent division.
#2 – Destruction is Not a Rhetorical Peril – When Abraham Lincoln made his statement “I do not believe that this government can remain half . . . and half.” He was not making a rhetorical statement, he was citing a Biblical principle. Abraham Lincoln was more than right to oppose slavery; and he was “even righter” when he said division will not allow a nation to stand. President Lincoln did not make that up, he merely repeated the Lord Jesus. Christ said in Luke 11:17 – “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation.” The fact is that division definitively causes destruction in a people. That is not fearmongering, or sensationalizing anything, that is merely repeating what Jesus said. I do not have to be a prophet to say that the days of our nation are numbered. The fact is that ultimately the days of every nation is numbered. However, the Biblical truth is that division of a nation hastens destruction of a nation. It is one thing for a man to live his own life and let him do as he pleases. He is more than free to sink the boat he’s riding in. That is unless he’s in the same boat with me, then I have a something to say. The problem is that while there are people perfectly willing to move their nation away from the past, perfectly willing to do what they will in their boat, they aren’t the only ones in that nation, or the only ones in that boat. The unavoidable reality is that when you start drilling holes in the bottom of a boat someone else is riding in rest assured there is going to be some serious division and a break in fellowship. Division can be as light and simple as the difference between choosing chocolate over vanilla; and it can be as serious as cancer or a catastrophe. This nation is not divided over the decision of flavors, it is divided over the definition of righteousness.
#3 Integrity is Not a National Power – When Dan Cathy, the President of Chik-fil-A, made the statement, “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.” The level of hypocrisy and hate in our culture and from our politicians went beyond the pale of sanity. From Hollywood to big city Mayors, those on the other side of the divide are coming apart at the seams. In the climate of our culture today, any CEO can slur Christianity from one end of the country to the other end of the moon, and it is considered free speech. However when a Christian stands for Biblical truth, it is called hate speech. What’s more amazing than that is the fact that many of us are surprised. It should never surprise us that the devil is a cheat, an unashamed cheat, and a flaming unashamed cheat at that.
I recently saw a clip, somewhere with a so-called comedian speaking of the “American Family Association” and then saying “anything with ‘Family’ in it is code-word for bigot.” While watching the Olympics, a commercial came on for NBC’s new sitcom, “The New Normal” in which a young girl calls her grandmother a “bigot” for not (apparantly) not acknowledging gay as “normal.” One probably doesn’t have to have a phD to guess what the theme of that show will be.
NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, can routinely without shame and full of pride, rant and rave all they want to about the “normalcy” of homosexuality, and it will never be “normal.” Oprah is not right, it is not okay to be gay; and it is not hate speech to say so. The truth is that we are not bigots, we are believers. We believe the Bible is the Word of God, and the foundational touchstone for right and wrong. If the Bible said something different, we would say something different.
#4 Democracy is Not a Neutral Place – The fact is that we must choose. One of the things that has happened recently is something that I do think will help. The Democratic National Committee has declared themselves the Party of the Homosexual. They are declaring formally and officially that they are the party for Same-Sex Marriage. That should make things pretty easy. The truth is that this committee has openly and publicly declared that they have no regard for the God of the Bible. What God considers a sin, they consider a win. What God says is wrong, they will say is right. While there are conservative Christians who are registered as Democrats, it is time for them to unregister. If the Republicans were to do so, I would say the same. This is not something that should be compromised, it is something that should be clarified; marriage is between a man and a woman, and 7 billion people on planet earth can say differently and it doesn’t change a thing. Truth is not on the ballot. Righteousness doesn’t come from a poll. What’s right and what’s wrong is not determined by signatures on a petition. The reason that our nation is in danger is because we will not now, nor will we ever say otherwise, meaning that I know compromise will not come from this side. When I say “We” I am speaking of those of us who are forgiven sinners that believe the Bible and love the Lord.
Finally, we hate no one. We do not hate the homosexual, any more than we hate the drunk. Regardless of how loud they shout, believing a behavior to be wrong is categorically not hatred. Say it until you run out of vowels and consonants and it still isn’t true. To say that homosexual behavior is a sin is not hatred of any man, it is merely a statement of fact.
God’s word is settled. Saying anything other than what He said is not a change worth making.