Wesley Putnam, a steadfast stalwart against the middle — even denying it actually exists — recently wrote a post suggesting something. I’m not sure really, because it comes off looking like homosexuality (if it is a sin) is the same level of sin as slavery (and not just any slavery, but the American version). Lincoln’s words Wesley has quoted are as follows:
“but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it (slavery) to spread into the National Territories, and to overrun us here in these Free States?
If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored — contrivances such as groping for middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man — such as a policy of “don’t care” on a question about which all true men do care — such as Union appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance — such as invocations of Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington did.
Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government, nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might; and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty, as we understand it.”
Knowing how evil slavery was, Lincoln was not concerned with its eradication where slavery existed. His “middle way” was the allowance that slavery would spread. Indeed, he said,
The other policy is one that squares with the idea that Slavery is wrong, and it consists in doing everything that we ought to do if it is wrong. Now, I don’t wish to be misunderstood, nor to leave a gap down to be misrepresented, even. I don’t mean that we ought to attack it where it exists. To me it seems that if we were to form a government anew, in view of the actual presence of Slavery we should find it necessary to frame just such a government as our fathers did; giving to the slaveholder the entire control where the system was established, while we possessed the power to restrain it from going outside those limits. From the necessities of the case we should be compelled to form just such a government as our blessed fathers gave us; and, surely, if they have so made it, that adds another reason why we should let Slavery alone where it exists.
His only goal was to prevent its spread,
Wrong as we think Slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread into the National Territories, and to overrun us here in these Free States?
He would seven have allowed, if a new government was formed, slavery to still exist.
Finally, in the midst of the War Between the States, Lincoln still yet would not undue slavery. In 1862, he would write to Horace Greeley of his desire to do nothing but preserve the union, even with slavery — admitting that he would only use “the colored race” to that benefit alone.
If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.
I was saddened and ashamed to see Wesley use our ugly history with slavery in this regards. It took me several days of reflection to write this post, fearing that I would but be using slavery to my own benefit. I hope it does not come across this way. Rather, I would entreat those who would use the memory of slavery, the holocaust, or other nightmares of history in this debate to rather be quiet else you truly bring the wrath of God upon us, and our ruin in privileged humiliation.