Dear President Barack Obama,
History and the human family find themselves at a crossroads as you take the oath of office to become the 44th President of the United States. I am told you are the first to request to be sworn in with your hand on the same Bible used by Abraham Lincoln when he took the same oath.
In the days, years, and generations to come, many voices will speak to the profound symbolism of this gesture on your part. History will also record whether or not you honored those noble principles held in the heart of Abraham Lincoln; that all of God’s children have the right to live, and be free, and to pursue their dreams.
This is one Republican with the sincerest prayer that history will confirm that you did.
May I submit that the surest hope of such a confirmation is for you and the Nation to remember why we built that grand white granite memorial along the Potomac to Mr. Lincoln, and why we revere him so deeply.
We honor Abraham Lincoln most because he found within himself the humanity and courage to transcend the politics and convention of his day, to recognize the child of God in a slave, which both the tide of public opinion and the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision had declared to be a nonperson, and unprotectable by law.
History found Abraham Lincoln a faithful steward of the hope, human dignity, and deliverance of those who bore the image of God in the shame of slavery; and now it waits to witness President Barack Obama’s stewardship of the hope, human dignity, and deliverance of those who bear the image of God in unborn silence.
Yes, it is true, Mr. President, that no issue since slavery has divided Democrats and Republicans so deeply as abortion. Yet, the two issues are so profoundly similar. In both cases, the innocent victims were arbitrarily dehumanized in the name of freedom. And yes, it will be easy for you to listen to the voices of those who still today, in the name of freedom, would deprive the innocent of both life and liberty. Certainly, their familiar phrases prevailed for a time in the days of slavery.
However, is it possible that in hindsight, and with the weight of history on your shoulders, that you might find the courage to reject this insidious deception that has crushed so many lives across history, and that relentlessly pursues this nation still?
Mr. Lincoln did. He said, "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not themselves, and under a just God, cannot long retain it." That is why we love him, and built our memorial to him.
So, as you lay your hand upon his Bible, Mr. President, may I adjure you to listen, in the stillness of your own heart, to the faint cries for mercy from those little souls who now look to you for hope; and to the words printed in red on the pages beneath your hand which will be declared again in eternity’s final day;
“Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.”