Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

the Gettysburg address

12/3/13

 

Recently, we were celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address by President Abraham Lincoln. This short speech is viewed by many around the world as perhaps the most powerful and eloquent ever delivered in the English language.

 

As part of the PBS program commemorating the event, a historian noted that Lincoln's words harked back to the Declaration of Independence as the foundational event in US history. This struck me as profoundly significant. Much of the political rhetoric we generally encounter points to the US Constitution as the primary document which defines our nation. Much less attention is paid to the wording of the earlier Declaration. It has been often noted that the grander principles of the 1776 document were watered down significantly when the later, more often referenced elements of the Constitution were recorded. One obvious example is the way the resulting government sanctioned slavery and continued to deny equal rights to women.

 

In going back to the time and wording of the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln, in effect, was calling the nation back to its real roots. To whatever extent, our reference to the Constitution and subsequent political actions function as an excuse to deny that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, to that extent we have forsaken what makes us a great nation and what Lincoln so majestically called to our collective attention on that hallowed day 150 years ago.

 

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