Yesterday’s Men

The powers-that-be in Syosset released an encyclical the other day regarding the sesquicentennial of The Emancipation Proclamation. Most of us are not aware that the original Executive Order signed by President Lincoln only freed those slaves who were still in the Confederacy. Slaves living in those states that were loyal (after a fashion) to the Union were not freed. In reality, no slaves were freed at all –at least not until the end of the War and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment.

Regardless, it was a brilliant strategic move in that it forced the South to mobilize against their slave population — essentially opening up another front. More importantly though, it alerted the world that the War that was being fought was not merely for the perpetuation of the Union but for the liberation of human beings from chattel slavery. The moral cause would mitigate the atrocities performed by the North in the eyes of the world.

In the grand historical narrative, that is what is remembered — and rightly so.

The existing Synod of the OCA however has chosen to harness the moral authority of this document to political ends which are eminently objectionable. As for the encyclical itself, it’s rather anodyne, nothing too objectionable for the most part. Unfortunately, the inclusion of a sentence which demands that our political and economic system be upended along radical lines is rather too much. Near the end we read that “Christ’s call to repentance requires radical social and economic changes.” These words are in fact both absurd and blasphemous at the same time. Absurd because all such radical experiments end in tears and bloodshed; blasphemous because it yokes Jesus’ message of salvation to a socio-political paradigm.

Imagine what would happen if the OCA issued an encyclical which said that that Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy should be the lodestar of our economics, or that the allocation of welfare benefits be based on the eugenics of Margaret Sanger. The howling would not stop for days.

I could go on. The insertion of this one gratuitous sentence points the way to a dire future for the OCA now that His Beatitude has been defenestrated. We can expect more such nonsense. Why? Because it is the wont of Yesterday’s Men to latch on to the failed philosophical systems and dress them up in cassocks. Rather than concentrate on the moral failings of our nation, the very failings that are driving people to despair and poverty, Kishkovsky and his ilk continue to peddle the tired old nostrums of the 1960s.

Did our betters in Syosset not learn anything from the 70-year long Bolshevist nightmare? At least the totalitarians of the twentieth century had the decency to not use Jesus’ words to implement their evil plans.

I suppose we shouldn’t be so worried as the OCA’s days are clearly numbered. However the Kishkovskyite language spewed in this encyclical is of a piece with what is found in the logismoi that has emanated from the See of Constantinople for the past two decades (though to be fair to Constantinople, Syosset’s idiocy is far more egregious). The enrobed non-entities that make up the present Synod feel that moral authority of The Emancipation Proclamation guarantees their relevence. They forget though the rest of that same document: that the slaves thus freed would be forced to earn their keep and could not be wards of the state. They would in fact be free men.

Why can’t our bishops see that?

Read the complete encyclical (pdf).


  1. Actually, slavery was not the chief issue that caused the Civil War. The North didn’t say a word about slavery and neither did the South when it started although there had historically been tensions over the matter. The chief issues were whether or not the southern states had the right to succeed from the federal union and plain old economics. Actually, there were five basic causes that all took part in the onset of a very nasty war that resulted in over 613,000 American casualties.
    1. Economic and social differences between the North and the South; for example, the North was forcing the South to sell its cotton at set prices favorable to the Northern cotton mills rather than to other nations who were willing to pay more for the cotton

    2. States rights versus federal rights; could a state or a group of states leave the union that had been freely entered into on the part of the original 13 colonies.

    3. The ongoing fight between Slave and Non-Slave State Proponents; the question of whether new states admitted to the union would be slave or free…

    4. The growth of the Abolition Movement to do away with the institution of slavery; it is interesting to note that in the prior history of the nation there had been white slaves with the exception that the whites could become free at a certain point. My own family held slaves until after the 13th amendment in Maryland; with some members of the family fighting on both sides. Actually, Maryland was a slave state and was forced onto the Union side because of the location of Washington D. C. in the middle of the state

    5. And finally, the election of Abraham Lincoln. When Lincoln was elected in 1860, South Carolina soon issued its “Declaration of the Causes of Secession.” They believed that Lincoln was anti-slavery and in favor of Northern interests. Before Lincoln was even seated as president, seven states had already seceded from the Union: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Of course you are correct. I didn’t state when the Proclamation was issued: in January of 1863, when the Union had control of only certain territories and it chose not to liberate those slaves located therein. It purposely stated that only those slaves that were living in non-Union-occupied territory were to be immediately freed. It’s kind of like King Canute trying to silence the waves. It was a bold strategic move however in that it also breathed new life into the Union cause whereas previously Lincoln was perfectly content to let slavery exist in perpetuity if that would solve the secession.

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        There is a constitutional reason why Lincoln could not liberate the slaves in the slave states that did not leave the union. The constitution gives the president the authority to seize the property of a person in rebellion against the United States. The Confederacy was in rebellion. Therefore the people of the Confederacy were in rebellion and their slaves which were considered property could be seized by the US government and freed. The slaves that did not leave the Union were not in rebellion. Therefore the people of those states were not in rebellion and their slaves could not be seized as property and liberated by The Emancipation Proclamation.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Thank you for the clarification.

        • Sean Richardson says

          I’m not sure this is accurate Fr. John. The Constitution does indeed allow the government (not the president through his own office) to seize property, with due compensation to the owner. Even though the South was in rebellion, their property could not be seized (a classic example of this was the seizure of the Custis-Lee mansion/plantation, owned by Robert E. Lee, and turned into Arlington National Cemetery. The federal government was allowed to seize this property, but they then lost the court case with Gen. Lee and had to compensate him for the fair value of the property).

          The true brilliance of the Emancipation Proclamation, which held no legal weight whatsoever, was that it was a political document that helped to turn the tide of the war in favor of the North. Free blacks in the North rallied behind the Federal cause and enlisted in the tens of thousands, and it gave the slaves (and free blacks) in the South one more reason to rebel against the oppressive system they endure.

          Lincoln did a great deal to ensure the cause of the nation, but some of which were not constitutional (suppression of freedom of speech and freedom of the press, to name a couple). However, today we look back on him as one of the greatest presidents ever. He had a vision, a just cause and a motivation to succeed. We are all better off for having a president like Abraham Lincoln.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            Regardless of how you read the constitution, that was the justification that Lincoln used for the Emancipation Proclamation. Slaves were considered property and he used the power of the federal government to seize the property of persons in rebellion from the United States to free the slaves.

          • I met a young descendant of the Lees (both Robert E and Lighthorse Harry) and spouse after liturgy today and their sweet newly baptized Orthodox baby. God is great. Slaves are free, thank the Lord, and we live in a country against slavery, blessed be His Holy Name that Wisdom has come upon us.

            Now, let those who need releases gain releases, let those in the limbo of waiting for an assignment be granted an assignment, and may justice pour like honey.

            • Lola J. Lee Beno says

              Wow, that’s really interesting! I may or may not be related to the Lees, on the other side. But I know for certain that one of my ancestors is listed as being a servant at one of the Lee plantation in what is now Reston.

    • lexcaritas says

      Jackson and George: I agree with you, in part, that slavery was not the cause of southern secession or the what Lord Action called the Second American Revolution (and what old families in the South sitll call the War of Northern Agression). As Acton pointed out at the time, and as other have written since, the root cause of the war was a strong difference of opinion over the size and power of the central government vis-a-vis that of the states and the people. As successor to the Whigs, Lincoln and the Republicans favored what is called the National System, which espoused using the National Government (1) protect Northern industry through selective and extremely high tariffs paid disproportionately by the people of the South; (2) to make investments of public funds and other subsidies in infrastructure (esepcially railways and roads) funded by the same tariffs paid disproportionately by the people of the Southp and (3) to establish a national bank with policies promoting the growth of (government favored) productive enterprises. Of course, the industrialists of the North favored the immigration of low-paid labor from Europe and opposed the migration of slave labor from the Southern states into new territories.

      By the way, the importation of slaves into this country was constitutionally prohibited after 1807–the same year that Wiberforce was finally able to get their importation into England banned. It is widely believed that slavery itself would have come to an end in this country within a generation after the War–and even without it. If so, many lives would have been spared, property saved and subsequent injustices (like Jim Crow laws and legal segregation minimized). Too bad Mr. Lincoln insisted on reprovisioning Ft. Sumpter and too bad the South Carolinians fell for the bait and fired on it. Too bad the government then saw this as an excuse to invade and force a union on people who sought to be left in peace. Too bad the South had come to accept and depend upon the evil of chattel slavery in its midst and couldn’t end it voluntarily soon enough so that it became its Achilles’ heel.

      My mothers’ people have lived in the South since 1650; my fathers in the North since 1816. Some on both sideswere lost and imprisoned and shell-shocked . The War in question was a great national tragedy. One result was rampant malnutrition in the South that resulted in wide-spread rickets into the 1950s and early 1960s. Another was the sad segregation and mutual distrust of European and African people who now call this God-protected land “home.”


      • George Michalopulos says

        Very well said, Lex. Let us also not forget that Lincoln (had he survived) might have been far more merciful to the defeated South than the Radical Republicans. People forget that Lincoln in his debates with Douglas never envisioned actual equality between freed slaves and white Americans. In fact, his views were of a piece with the Jim Crow legislation that the South passed after the removal of Federal forces from the South in 1876. He boldly stated that he could envision blacks as serving on juries, intermarrying with whites, or being anything but subservient –a racial caste system as it were. People also forget that he wanted the vast majority of the soon-to-be freed slaves to be repatriated back to Africa and/or the Caribbean. He only intended to fully enfranchise only those blacks who served honorably for the Union and perhaps a remnant (maybe 250,000 out of 4 million) whom he believed were educable.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          The greatest mistake in American history was allowing slavery.
          The second greatest mistake was not fulfilling the promise made to the ex-slaves that they would be given 40 acres and a mule. Had the ex-slaves had an opportunity to own their own farms and to join the middle class, we might not have had the racial problems that still poison our nation.
          The third greatest mistake was the Plessy v Ferguson decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1898 declaring segregation constitutional.
          The fourth was the welfare system that created a class of people dependent on the government for their livelihood. Had a system been enacted that required education and work instead of giving things free like the Obama cell phones, we would not have wasted 15 trillion dollars on the War on Poverty that poverty won. If we do not get control over the growing welfare programs they will bankrupt our nation.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Very much agreed.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says:
            . . . . If we do not get control over the growing welfare programs they will bankrupt our nation.

            Agree with your analysis, perhaps with this exception. Do you mean morally or fiscally bankrupt, or both? Do you include social security and Medicare as welfare programs? Excluding these, welfare programs are a very small part of the the federal budget–developing and maintaining weapons of mass destruction represent a much larger share.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Actually, AFDC, WIC, Section 8 Housing, SNAP, etc. may be comparatively less than Social Security and Medicare but they are the engines that are driving 98% of the pathology that we see all around us, including a prison system that is bursting at the seems, decayed neighborhoods, devolving public schools, etc. If you start putting pencil to paper for that then the fiscal picture gets far worse.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              I have been paying into Social Security and Medicare since I was a teenager so that when I get too old to work, I will not live in ill health and poverty. I am writing about a welfare system that encourages people not to work, has created several generations of people who live off of the labor of others through welfare, which causes 15 year old girls to get pregnant so that they can get welfare, has destroyed the black family, and is bankrupting our nation. Christ taught us to care for the poor. Our welfare system does not care for the poor, it makes them parasites who live off of the work of others and vote for corrupt politicians like Obama to guarantee their welfare payments. In truth our welfare system is a form of theft by the welfare classes from those of us who work and pay taxes.

      • lexcaritas, not to be snide, your post sounded like a re-posting from the SCV website. Sorry, but there is nothing redeeming about ‘Southern Heritage’ notwithstanding the myth that keeps being repeated here.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Speak for yourself. The South is the most historic area of these United States.

          • I rather think that Pennsylvania and the North East generally fit that bill better than the South, George.
            Virginia too, if you want to include a part of the South. When tourists go to the US to see historic sites (yes, some of us do), that’s where they go.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Virginia is part of the South. Pennsylvania is truly beautiful as is New England. The problem with New England is that it’s full of Yankees.

              • “Virginia is part of the South.”
                That’s what I said. If you wanted to include a part of the South as “historic”, it would be Virginia.

          • speaking my mind says

            What’s that you say George? So, you’ve never considered California a part of the United States then!

            • George Michalopulos says

              Au contraire! I just despair that the Golden State is no longer golden.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Mr. Michalopulos,

                Last evening, Halloween, I went for a walk with my wife near sunset, and it was just that mix of 72-degrees, light breeze, setting sun, ocean and trees where everything is golden… Sort of makes you grateful you’re not land-locked…

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        The conflict over Slavery was the major cause of the Civil War. There were other issues. For example the north favored tariffs to protect northern industries. The south opposed tariffs because they wanted to buy cheaper manufactured goods and out of fear that if the U.S. adopted tariffs, England, the major market for southern cotton would apply a tariff on cotton.
        However, the immediate issue was the conflict over whether or not slavery would be allowed in the territories bought from Mexico after the Mexican war as well as unsettled areas of the Louisiana Purchase. The southern states feared being outnumbered by free states. The election of Lincoln was a victory for those who would prohibit slavery in the territories. Lincoln was a sectional candidate whose support was in the north alone. That also meant that the slave states were being outnumbered by the free states.

  2. Fr. Hans Jacobse says

    This looks like the seepage of the OCA’s affiliation with the National Council of Churches (NCC). The NCC fancied itself as the apostles of cultural leftism in American theological circles for nearly fifty years, fusing together Marx and Christianity. The old timers can’t let it go.

    The NCC is teetering on the verge of insolvency and will soon be swept into the dustbin of history. No tears shed there. They were loud apologists for Communism during the Cold War, a real disgrace to free thinking people. They always sided with the totalitarian oppressor.

    You would think that the OCA would have repudiated these American apologists for totalitarian oppression given its Russian background. It never did. Only the Antiochians saw the moral and intellectual bankruptcy and pulled out.

    Once someone fuses Marx and Christ, it captures his mind like a drug. “Radical social and economic changes” has that Boomer echo to it; old men who spent a lifetime searching for the secular savior that enthralled them when they were young. Ever notice that the “radical nuns” in the Catholic Church are always old women? Same dynamic.

    You can’t resuscitate a corpse. Time to bury these failed ideas.

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      When the motion was presented before the Department of Interfaith relations not one single person favored continued Antiochian membership in the NCC. When the Department reported its recommendation that we withdraw from the NCC was presented to the General Assembly once again no one spoke in favor of remaining a member of the NCC.

      • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

        I wrote an article on the Antiochian withdrawal from the NCC for Touchstone a while back:

        NCC Exit Poll

        It outlines what the NCC has done in recent years and why the Antiochians left it.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          Our withdrawal from the NCC might have made a difference had the Greeks and OCA supported us and also withdrawn. Instead, they both reaffirmed their loyalty to the NCC, which is a financially and morally bankrupt organization that is nothing more than the left wing of the Democratic party at prayer. I represented the Antiochian Archdiocese at a committee meeting of the NCC. In the ecumenical worship, in which I did not participate, they had a prayer thanking God for the work of Mohammad, the wisdom of the Buddha, and the gift to Taoism. Despite our objections, they also had “observers” from the pro-gay Metropolitan Community Church. Orthodox have no business in the NCC.

          • Priest Justin Frederick says

            You are right on this, Fr. John. Attempts have been made, but our every attempt so far has been squashed. We offered a resolution at the AAC in Seattle calling on our bishops to consider leaving the NCC; it was not allowed to come to the floor.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              I do not know how things work in the OCA, but the first two days of our Archdiocesan convention is reserved for departmental meetings. Any member of the Archdiocese can attend and participate in the meetings, make suggestions, and make motions on matters relevant to the work of the Department. The chair can speak, but he or she cannot prevent a vote on a motion. Then during the General Assembly each department makes a report and there is time for discussion of the reports. In the case of our membership of the NCC, the Department on Interfaith Relations voted to recommend that we withdraw from the NCC. When Fr. Olof Scott the chair of the Department made his report, he made the recommendation. It was met with cheers and His Eminence agreed. There was no real discussion because everyone agreed that we should withdraw. As I wrote before, the impact of our withdrawal was muted by the Greeks and the OCA which remained members. Our laity, clergy and Bishops are not ecumenists and consider most ecumenical activities a waste of time.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            I cannot speak to the hierarchy of the GOA, but I do not know any rank and file GOA members that want to stay in the NCC. In fact, I know the exact opposite that many, myself included, want to get out and get out fast. Why we are still in this failed and completely leftist and modernist organization is beyond me. We should have followed and supported the Antiocheans.

            That should be your next poll vote George. How many on this site would vote to stay or leave the NCC.


        • Dear Father Hans,

          I read your article but it never stated the specifics on why the Archdiocese let the WCC. One of hte reasons that Orthodox have joined in the past is simply to be a presence. so that people might know about us and our Faith. Father George Florocsky was active for many years in this regard of not burying his bushel. But that was before such groups as the WIccans got equal membership. I am interested in two things:

          1. What were the specific reasons that led to Metropolitan Philip’s decision?

          2. What is the rationale for the OCA and the Greek Orthodox to retain membership?

          • Dear George,

            sorry for poor eyesight. typed it basically blind and could not make corrections. You can pull the post. I should be asking why the OCA is still in the WCC, given the Wiccans and other groups, that the rationales for our membership are long gone and we can be judged by our companions.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            Look at the NCC web site. That will tell you all you want to know about why the Antiohians left the NCC.
            The major focus of the NCC is social action not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The organization is dominated by political liberals who believe that they can create the Kingdom of God on earth by governmental social welfare programs. The denominations who set the program who ordain women and support the gay rights movement. At the time we left, the head of the NCC was Bob Edger, who is a former liberal Democratic congressman. He allied the NCC with various left wing groups like and Radio America, which was a failed effort to counter conservative talk radio. He also took money from groups associated with George Soros. Now he is the leader of Common Cause, a liberal activist group. They tolerated Orthodox membership to make their organization something more than just the liberal Protestant denominations.
            Neither Metropolitan Philip, nor any other of our Antiochian Bishops are ecumenists. None of our Bishops want to compromise the Gospel by associating it with any political philosophy.
            As to why the Greeks and OCA decided to remain. You will have to ask them.

          • Fr. Hans Jacobse says


            The reasons vere varied and they built up over the years. The straw the broke the camels back was when the NCC homosexual contingent became more radical and Bob Edgar went along with it.

            This is from another article I wrote (The United Churches of Castro) that explains it:

            Most informed Orthodox have always been uneasy of the relationship with the NCC but reasoned that an imperfect relationship might be better than none at all. However, when word got out that NCC President Rev. Bob Edgar was actively courting George Soros and other like-minded benefactors, the Antiochian Orthodox Church took notice and began to ask questions.

            Then Edgar signed a declaration against gay marriage along with the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the National Association of Evangelicals, causing outrage in his Lesbian, Gay, and Transgender delegation. They demanded he change his tune, and Edgar dutifully complied. He apologized, removed his signature, and assured the delegation that the NCC stands behind gay marriage. The proved the last straw for the Antiochian Orthodox.

            (Soros is an atheist but he funds the Christian left. Jim Wallis of Sojourners was exposed a few years back for taking Soros money.)

            The Greeks and OCA stay in it because the NCC Orthodox participants are by and large hard left. Keep in mind that most of the laity have no idea what the NCC is so the participants get a free pass for their involvement. I think a big part is that it makes them feel part of something bigger. You get some perks and freebies too like trips, and so forth. Trips are always good when someone else picks up the tab.

            The NCC has always displayed an exaggerated sense of self-importance but the people involved with it never saw that. They had a good share of critics, including me. I’ve written a number of critical essays that were published here and there. Now I ignore them. They have descended into functional irrelevance, where they belong.

  3. My Anglican/Episcopalian friends have seen plenty of this politicization of the Gospel.
    They tell me it’s a tell-tale sign that the church leadership has ceased to believe the Gospel; they are now pushing another Gospel (not that there is “another Gospel”).

    As if that were not bad enough, it is always the poor who suffer most from such utopian philosophies disconnected from economic, social and personal realities. Just the other day I saw some statistics on the increase in poverty among blacks in America since the “Great Society” was instituted in the 1960s – depressing. Did you know, for e.g., that not that long ago blacks in America had lower rates of child birth outside of marriage than whites? High rates of child birth outside marriage are a direct causative factor in entrenching poverty and social disadvantage. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  4. Michael James Kinsey says

    Love the Lord thy God, and Him alone thou shalt serve, live by the Word of God, and by bread, do not tempt God: the moral authority of these Words is absolute. These Words do address social and economic change, as well as the most important relationship, of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, whom by Him alone can we know the Father. I do not know any bishops or Met Jonah, and do not know if it is genuine obedience to the exclusive service to God or political maneuvering. Obey the Vision given by the Christ rather than self service, not living by His Word, which cause a false pride which compels all to jump of f the tower, and lastly, make a profit. The considerations of the Vision always are preeminent over making money. The Only Holy One is the only One who is good. We are all subordinate to Him.
    Abortion, euthanasia, prostitution, slavery, ( economic or overt ) all require legislation based on the Judeo- Christian value system. There is no politician with the monetary backing necessary and the genuine honesty and faithfulness required to lead to these necessary legal reforms as the political system in the US has no authority to overrule the continuity of government which rules from the shadows. If there was , they would assassinate him or her as they did Lincoln and Kennedy. Nevertheless, each individual can live by the Vision, which is the Way of Peace of we choose, even into death, to obey God. Let each man focus on his obedience and we shall all rise together. Peace be unto you.

  5. George, only you could find fault with this document. And then to have the nerve to suggest its has a political message . . . The only Orthodox political messages, as well as suggested radical social and economic changes I’ve read, have been right here.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I don’t “find fault” with it. I merely pointed out the historical details which (1) did not actually free any slaves, and (2) which stated that all slaves that were to be freed were to be gainfully employed and not live at government largesse.

      • Pere LaChaise says

        George, bless your heart, your tendentious proof-texting reaction is shameful. But it’s what I’ve come to expect from you and your hectoring claque. And that’s why I keep coming back for more! Actually, not. I had hoped to find something cogent written here but instead this paranoia. Please, try to come across as more balanced. Orthodoxy is not the domain of the intolerant, it’s just that folks like you cast enormous blog shadows to make it appear so.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Thanks for the criticism. When you find me that quotation in the Scripture which says that we should reorder society along Marxist-Leninist lines, I will print a retraction.

    • lexcaritas says

      Actaully, Logan, I find fault with the statement for this reason: it’s an attempt to assuage our consciences by fine sounding words uncoupled with any meaninful action. After all, does anyone reading the document favor human trafficking? It is that which it deplores and no one within eyeshot would disagree. When William Wilberforce publicly and in the House of Commons sought to make the importation of slaves into Great Britain illegal, he was attempting to change the laws of his own country by changing the hearts and minds of his countrymen. When he and his followers later worked tirelessly to outlaw slavery in Britain, it was the same story, second page.

      But the Orthodox Church doesn’t condone human trafficking, does it? Neither does the United States of America or any of the several states. So who is this statement directed towards? What are we to expect it actually to accomplish? The UN turns out statement like this year after year, and still the very problems deplored continue apace.

      Or is it it intended as a distraction from more presssing matters of repentance over which we do have control and for which we are responsible?

      I had not noticed the call for “radical economic and legal changes” that our brother George brought to our attention. I thank him for it, though it could be frightening code language with unspecified content like “hope and change we can believe in” and “fundamental transformation” without Christ God and true repentance at its center.


      • George Michalopulos says

        For what it’s worth, the Bush Administration was resolute in its actions to eradicate human trafficking.

        Also, we must think realistically about what it would take to eradicate this evil? Fine words or fearsome deeds? We forget that the slave trade was brought to an end in 1807 because the Royal Navy took it upon itself to police the Atlantic and to intercept American slave ships.

        This reminds me of George Clooney and other well-meaning people who abhor the atrocities in Darfur. How do you end them? One way would be for a powerful Christian nation to invade and conquer them. Is this what we want? Neoconservatism? We need to think long and hard about righting the evils of the world.

  6. George, the line you lifted out of the letter, when read in the context of the letter, is not what you make it. The context is slavery and changing society to eliminate slavery. When reading, it is best to understand words in context and give them the meaning the writer intended them to have in the context in which they are written. It is quite a leap to Marxist/Leninist societal upheaval.

    • George Michalopulos says

      “radically reconstruct society”? How else to interpret that?

      • The context is “in the wilderness of human trafficking”. The Church radically reconstructed society to eliminate slavery in this country and in Great Britain. Societies that still allow it also need to be radically reconstructed.

        The history of the Church is one of radically reconstructing societies as the Gospel bore fruit in the lives of the peoples.

        • George Michalopulos says

          And how does the Church do that? The Church has been trying for decades to transform society’s view of the unborn. And instead we are called “theocrats.”

          • I’m sure Wilberforce was called many things in his fight against the slave trade in Great Britain; yet he pressed on and prevailed. We are slowly winning the battle in changing our societies view on the personhood of the little ones in the womb. Recent polls are showing that abortion on demand is opposed by at least 52% of the population. But, the Church needs to speak with a consistent voice, and each Christian must speak with the same mind on it. The prohibition on abortion and killing newborns has been the teaching of the Church since day one. The Church took a radical stand for human life in a culture that cared little for it and over the course of time “the world was turned upside down” by this radical teaching. Back then we were called incestuous cannibals and were killed for just being Christians; I’m sure we can handle a little name calling.

            • George Michalopulos says

              With all due respect, Alec, I can honestly say (with deep regret) that you are wrong. We are most definately NOT winning the battle for the hearts and minds. I say this as someone who has been in the trenches in the pro-life movement. Believe me we are losing and indeed may have lost. Soon the OCA will join the GOA in being indifferent in this regard. I’d bet the rent on that.

              Despair not however, we should still keep up the fight.

      • Exactly, George.
        And if they ever managed to set their radical reconstruction agenda going in earnest you and I would be among the first of millions to be lined up against a wall and shot or packed off to the local equivalent of Siberia.

        • Read the constitution of the Confederate States of America to know what the South thought the conflict was about. It says no law shall ever be passed denying or impairing the right to own slaves.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Yup, Without slavery, the rest of the differences could have been worked out without a war. Nevertheless, I have little doubt that Lincoln and others in the north exacerbated those tensions with the full intent of quashing the independence of the south and forging a more centralized union.

            The impetus for a stong central government was begun in the Constitution. It is an impetus we’ve not yet been able to impede.

  7. Fr. Kurt Anthony Spengler says

    I was taught that “The War Between The Sates” grew out of the fear of north-eastern manufacturing interests being forced to compete with the western expansion of southern manufacturing using slave labor.

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      The causes of the American Civil War are very complex. The tariff was definitely an issue because the North wanted a tariff to protect northern industries from foreign competition. The South opposed a tariff because they were afraid that England, the major customer of their cotton, would retaliate with a tariff on cotton. However, the major conflict was over whether or not slavery would be allowed in the West. The South wanted additional land because cotton growing depleted the soil and the South wanted to use land in the West for new plantations worked by slaves when they could no longer raise cotton in the old South. The balance of power in Congress between slave and free states was also an issue. Since 1820 the South feared being outnumbered by free states. That was the reason for the Missouri Compromise whereby Missouri was admitted as a slave state and Maine was admitted as a free state. The admission of Texas as a slave state upset that balance. That is why Texas was admitted to the Union with a requirement that Texas would not be divided into several states. It is also why Texas was admitted by joint resolution which required a simple majority of Congress instead of through a treaty with Texas which was actually a separate independent nation. A treaty could not get the 2/3 majority vote of the Senate required for approval of a treaty. The addition of the large territory from Mexico after the Mexican War reopened the conflict. Lincoln ran on a platform opposing slavery in the territories. He personally opposed slavery as an evil, but had no plans to abolish slavery in the slave states. That came later during the Civil War and only after a major Northern victory at the Battle of Antietam on September 2, 1862 gave him the opportunity to use the provision of the constitution that allowed the federal government to seize the property of someone in rebellion against the nation. That is why slavery was not abolished in the states and territories that did not leave the union (Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, Deleware, the Indian Territories that eventually became Oklahoma as well as New Mexico and Arizona) His election as a northern sectional candidate with no southern support led to the succession of the Southern states and the organization of the Confederacy. Fr. Kurt Anthony Spengler’s argument is too simple and fails to take into account the strong moral objection to slavery in the North. This moral objection had nothing to do with the concerns of northern industrialists. When Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe the author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” the work that popularized the anti-slavery cause in the North, he said, “So you are the little lady who gave us this war.” Tying to isolate a single cause is like trying to isolate the chocolate from the rest of a chocolate cake. The reasons are all mixed up together, but I believe that slavery was the major reason for the conflict between the North and the South and thus the major cause of the Civil War.

  8. cynthiacurran says

    George thinks San Diego and Orange apart of the US not LA,.sorry.folks.

  9. Michael James Kinsey says

    Pro-life activist have been searching for a polititian who would be as bold as Lincoln was, in addressing the major evil in American culture at that time. MLK, said it plainly, concerning many things, “It is not Just” MLK would have condemned abortion with an equal rejection of the injustice, We seek a polititian who would boldly issue a Santification Proclamation that also lives up to our stated creed, All men are created equal and each is endowed with certain inalienable rights. All means All as Lincoln understood. It many appear as meaningless ,at first as the Imancipation Proclamation, but the eventual triump of the TRUTH would be a given. like the abolishment of slavery. It will be more difficult to come up with a Jim Crow alternative for abortion, than slavery.