Lessons from Lincoln for Our Current Crisis
This is a dark hour in our country. It is a time when cultural Marxists are trying to tear down our republic. The crisis revolving around Donald J. Trump may well impact the future of our country.
Love him or hate him, since when do politicians in the United States of America get arrested and charged by their opposition? Gary Varvel, the insightful political cartoonist, asks, “Is this the new America where we prosecute political opponents?”
It is a terrible precedent that is being set. These kinds of activities belong in Third World countries—not our country, one nation under God.
Some have noted that these prosecutors are trying to put Trump in prison for the rest of his life so that the prosecutors can run for higher office.
When Donald J. Trump was booked in a jail and had his glaring mugshot taken, he spoke afterwards, noting: “This is a really sad day for America. This should never happen. You should be able to challenge an election….As you know, you have many people you’ve been watching over the years do the same thing whether it’s Hillary Clinton or Stacey Abrams or many others….What they’re doing is election interference…There’s never been anything like it in our country before. This is their way of campaigning.”
Ben Shapiro writes: “All of this is quite terrible for the country. No matter what you think of Trump’s various legal imbroglios…the glass has now been broken over and over and over again: Political opponents can be targeted by legal enemies. It will not be unbroken. If you think that only Democratic district attorneys will play this game, you have another thing coming. Prepare for a future in which running for office carries the legal risk of going to jail—on all sides. Which means that only the worst and the most shameless will run for office.”
It’s a tragedy to have so many leading our country who don’t have the nation’s best interest at heart. But Calvin Coolidge warned us, “If good men don’t hold office, bad men will.”
Ronald Reagan once said, “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”
Is there any hope for our constitutional republic during times like this? I think we can find answers from President Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, delivered on March 4, 1865 in the final weeks of the Civil War, after he won a contentious battle for re-election.
Lincoln declared, “Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword as was said three thousand years ago so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’”
Dr. Daniel Dreisbach of American University once wrote an article on this classic speech, calling it, “Lincoln’s 700 Words of Biblical Meditation.”
Dreisbach writes: “Lincoln concludes with a humble, poetic plea to a people divided and devastated by war to eschew triumphalism and vindictiveness in victory and acrimony and recrimination in defeat: ‘With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in.’”
I interviewed Dr. Daniel Dreisbach on the subject of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address and the Bible for a radio segment. He told our listeners how Lincoln learned to read and speak “from the very distinct cadences of the King James Bible. It was very much a part of who he was.” The Bible gives us hope for American renewal.
The founders gave us a system, as they explain in the Declaration of Independence, where we rule ourselves (“consent of the governed”) under God (we have been “endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable rights”). Self-rule under God.
In the Declaration, they add that they are “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions”—they put their trust in the Lord.
Dreisbach says of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address: “He calls on his countrymen to ‘bind up the nation’s wounds’ and to care for those left by the war fatherless and widowed. For only through the difficult work of reconciliation can there ever be a ‘just and lasting peace.’”
As a nation, we desperately need what Lincoln called for in his Gettysburg Address, “a new birth of freedom” as one nation “under God.”
Dr. Jerry Newcombe is the executive director of Providence Forum, a division of D. James Kennedy Ministries, where Jerry also serves as senior producer and an on-air contributor. He has written/co-written 33 books, including (with D. James Kennedy), What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? and (with Dr. Peter Lillback), George Washington’s Sacred Fire.