Homosexuality is one of the most divisive issues within churches and across our country today.
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.
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.
They argued that there were “weightier” scriptures on justice, mercy and love that superseded those on slavery.
This was the position that Lincoln himself adopted.