“People are frustrated, their anxious, they’re scared about the future. And they have a right to be impatient about the pace of change. I’m impatient,” President Obama said at an event for Gen44. “It took time to free the slaves,” he added.
Barack Obama has forgotten a simple fact: in this country, it took the War Between the States to free the slaves. If he is comparing his agenda to ending slavery, he better be prepared to use the might of the United States military to make it happen, just like his fellow Illinoisan, Abraham Lincoln, did a century and a half ago. I may be wrong, but I don’t see Obama having the nerve (to say nothing of the backing of the military) to make that happen.
He should be forgiven for this: Christian activists have compared the campaign to end abortion in the U.S. with the same ignorance re the need for the military to make it happen and the same lack of invocation for that power. As I noted in 2007:
In an earlier piece entitled The Army of Joshua, we contended that, in order to make the Ten Commandments the law of the land, it would take an act of military force, as it had done in ancient Israel. This is a shocking result, but what’s even more shocking is that, for revivalists of yore, the Army of Joshua was in fact the same army that suffers IED’s in Iraq, and that did Clinton’s will in places such as Bosnia and Kossovo. Half-cocked militia groups won’t get the job done; not even the Confederate army could resist.
But there was a downside to all of this. Finney expressed the following in advance of the great conflagration:
I believe the time has come–although I am no prophet, I believe it will be found to have come, that the revival in the United States will prevail no further and no faster than the Church takes the right ground on this subject (slavery)…
What is the condition of the nation? No doubt God is holding the rod of WAR over the heads of this nation. He is waiting, before he lets loose his judgments, to see whether the Church will do right. The nation IS under His displeasure, because the Church has acted in such a manner with respect to revivals. And now suppose war should come, where would be our revivals? How quickly would war swallow up the revival spirit. The spirit of war is anything but the spirit of revival. (Revivals of Religion, pp. 315-6, 321)
What Wilberforce did for the slaves was right and needed to be done. But the American experience is a cautionary note for all those who make “bringing the nation back to God” their top priority, along with the social causes of abortion, etc. In Finney’s day the Civil War–which accomplished a major objective of the revival–stopped same revival in its tracks, as Finney predicted it would. The use of the power of the state to accomplish the will of God had a backwash that we still feel today.