Shootin' the Breeze

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Archive for the tag “Abraham Lincoln”

Lincoln Portrait

President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated 150 years ago, on April 15, 1865.  Yesterday, Johnny L. Bone, an artist friend, sent my wife and me an original oil portrait of President Lincoln.  Apparently, Sugar had told Johnny about my interest and collection.

Lincoln

Many years ago, I had an internship in the Washington D.C. office of Senator Mark O. Hatfield.  Senator Hatfield, who had taught Political Science at a university before entering politics himself, was a Lincoln scholar.  He had a good collection of books about Abraham Lincoln.  While I lived in D.C., I read several biographies of Lincoln and started my own modest collection.  I visited the Lincoln Memorial and Ford’s Theater and the house across the street where the president died.  In the basement of Ford’s Theater is a gift shop.  I bought a poster of a photograph of President Lincoln.  I had it framed.  It has been in my law office for my entire career.  Somewhere along the way, I purchased a model of Lincoln’s head, said to be by the artist who sculpted the statue in the Lincoln Memorial.  The stone came from Colorado, I was told.  That story by the antique dealer could not be authenticated or the price would have been more.  Nevertheless, I like to think that I have a head of Lincoln done for practice on the monument.  Now I am proud to have the original oil portrait by Johnny L. Bone.

Thanks, Johnny!

Honest Abe, Free Speech, Hot Topics

Abraham Lincoln was frustrated by political correctness.  He encouraged free speech.  He did not duck an unpopular, divisive issue.

Slavery, thank goodness, is no longer a political issue in America because it was ended in the Civil War.  However, before the Civil War, it was a hot topic.  The quote below is something  Abraham Lincoln said in a campaign speech that he gave in 1860.   He chided the politically correct of his day who avoided talking about ending slavery because it made some listeners, well, uncomfortable.

Let us apply a few tests.  You say that you think slavery is wrong, but you denounce all attempts to restrain it.  Is there anything else that you think wrong, that you are not willing to deal with as a wrong?  Why are you so careful, so tender of this one wrong and no other?  You will not let us do a single thing as if it was wrong; there is no place where you will allow [slavery] to be even called wrong!  We must not call it wrong in the Free States, because it is not there, and we must not call it wrong in the Slave States because it is there; we must not call it wrong in politics because that is bringing morality into politics, and we must not call it wrong in the pulpit because that is bringing politics into religion; we must not bring it into the Tract Society or the other societies, because those are such unsuitable places, and there is no single place, according to you, where this wrong thing can properly be called wrong!

Substitute for slavery whatever hot topic you choose.  What do you think is wrong (or right)? Abortion?  Gay marriage?  Capital punishment?  Gun control?  Obamacare?  Illegal immigration?  Legal marijuana?  Prayer in the schools?  Christmas decorations in public places?  Military involvement in the Mideast?  Budget cuts?  Budget increases?  Fracking?  Twerking?  You may, under your First Amendment rights as an American, say that you believe something is wrong.  Others may disagree with you.  And vice versa.  We will call that free speech.  It is not just for liberals nor just for conservatives nor just for “the politically correct.”

By the way, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty can participate in the public forum as well.

Everyone should be allowed to speak their piece — with the possible exception of Billy Ray Cyrus.  That is where I draw the line!

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Click on the link above to read about when President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving an official U.S.A. holiday by a proclamation amidst the Civil War.

Welcome to the General Public

In the original Rocky movie, when Rocky wanted to take Adrian ice skating, he was told that the ice rink was closed.  He asked, “Is it closed to everybody or just to the general public?”

When Jesus taught his disciples to pray what we call The Lord’s Prayer, which includes asking our Father who art in heaven to “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” was he intending that only those twelve individuals pray that prayer or was it meant for the general public as well?

Like Rocky, I don’t always want to be part of just the general public.  Maybe I don’t want to forgive those who trespass against me.  Nevertheless, I do recommend that those in the general public ought to be forgiving.  I like to be forgiven by others and certainly I want to be forgiven by God.

Of course, Christians believe that Jesus died for the sins of everyone, to redeem everyone.  Everyone is in the general public.

Unfortunately, we do not always behave as we believe.

Have you had the experience of telling a fellow Christian that you have been hurt by that person and instead of being asked for forgiveness, such as a simple, “I am sorry,” had that person explain to you why you should not have been hurt?  Disregarding your feelings.  Or explain why you deserved to be hurt.  No remorse.  No apology.  Why?  Because the “hurter” will not accept blame and is unrepentant.   Too good.  Too superior.  Too “Christian?”

On the flip side, have you asked a Christian brother or sister to forgive you and been ignored?  Or refused.  Imagine a fellow sinner withholding forgiveness  from someone whom Christ died for.  How can any Christian be too good to forgive another?   Isn’t that disregarding what Christ has accomplished on the cross?

Apparently, such Christians are blind to the applicability of Jesus’ words to them.  Apparently, they do not see themselves as part of the general public.  Apparently, they deem themselves special.

Jesus was upset by similarly self-righteous attitudes by the Pharisees of his day.  He said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you put burdens on others that you yourselves are unwilling to bear.”

Feeling superior about one’s righteousness might be comfortable for such persons, but I fear they missed the point of Jesus’ gospel.  They would be well-advised to acknowledge being part of the general public because Jesus came to save everyone.

Abraham Lincoln said, “God must especially love the common folks because he made so many of them.”

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