In his second inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln offered contemplative reflection on of the war’s larger meaning. For him, the war was God’s punishment for the abomination that was slavery.
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 bond-man’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.
Speaking philosophically about our inhumanity and base willingness to mock the notion of a just God has gone out of style. If “God’s will” is invoked today it is by the charlatans and grifters. We rightfully recoil from them, the vermin who use fragments of the gospel to justify all manner of greed and brutality.
But what if Lincoln was right? What if God does want the scales of justice to come into balance? It boggles the mind to consider what price we will be asked to pay for the wanton misery and cruelty we’ve unleashed on the poor bastards who had the misfortune to be born in Iraq in this century.
“This mess has American signatures on it in indelible ink.”
It isn’t just Bush and Cheney – or just Republicans who voted for the blood thirsty criminals, but all of us. The journalists who put their career advancement ahead of the truth. The Democrats in Congress like Senators Clinton and Biden who knew better, but were mum out of political expediency, the silent pulpits of our so-called Christian congregations, and so on all the way down the line.
Lincoln made a point of saying that God’s judgement wasn’t leveled exclusively against the South, but against an entire people all of whom colluded over the course of 250 years to allow the evil of slavery to fester.
We all let the lies and brutality of Iraq fester. We went about our lives and, aside from the families of people who were pushed into the meat grinder, none of us has ever paid a price for all the wrongs and misery. If Lincoln’s God lives – we will.