Hat tip to Eric Redmond for posting this article on Facebook from John Piper’s website. Here is what was quoted from Lincoln:
You say A. is white, and B. is black. It is color, then; the lighter, having the right to enslave the darker? Take care. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with a fairer skin than your own.
You do not mean color exactly? You mean the whites are intellectually the superiors of the blacks, and, therefore have the right to enslave them? Take care again. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with an intellect superior to your own.
But, say you, it is a question of interest; and, if you can make it your interest; you have the right to enslave another. Very well. And if he can make it his interest, he has the right to enslave you. (“Fragments: On Slavery“)
This ties into a conversation I’m having with a friend about whether or not the abortion issue is derived from inherent principles of democracy and/or capitalism or because we haven’t actually held true to our founding principles.
But I don’t wish to dwell on that here. The source article points out that this reasoning applies equally to abortion. It certainly does. We would have to pull out the implications, but for example we might say in light of the evolutionary outlook possessed by so many today,
Ah, but you retort, it is really a matter of development, and the unborn are in an earlier stage of development then you. Be wary, at any moment you will encounter someone in a later stage of development then you. By this rule, you just be the play thing of the first man you come across older than you.
Not at all, you say. It is a question of humanness, and the unborn simply are not humans, just mere bundles of cells. Take heed, or at some point another person or group or race might declare that you yourself are a mere bundle of cells. At such point, you must submit yourself to them without question.
That’s not what you mean? You mean that they are simply in a stage where they are recapitulating an earlier evolutionary stage and in that stage they are, at best, mere animal? Have caution; at any moment humans will evolve again, and by your argument they have every right over you and you must not resist their quest for resources.
Of course, if humans, individually and collectively, are the final reference point then one may in fact say any of the things above and get away with it. In other words, despite there being clear concern about what happens if the reasoning is taken to its conclusion, some basis needs to be provided for why one shouldn’t adopt the reasoning at all. That is why in the end, the issue of the Divine Morality becomes so critical from a practical stand point.
Which is why it is so ironic that we find a black president who claims to believe in God essentially giving into arguments for abortion on demand. What can explain that? In my view, we have yet to take our own founding principles seriously. It would appear that, in practice, we don’t really believe what was written:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
It is so high minded and laudable, but it only works if you aren’t going to assume the role of God himself in determining who, and what, and when, a human is.