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The Elections of 1856 and 1992

By Editorial Staff
Published April 2, 2008

By Ron Auvil

As we approach the presidential election of 1992, I am reminded of the strikingly similar campaign of 1856. The similarities include an unresolved constitutional issue, a controversial Supreme Court decision, a caretaker presidency, and most of all, a sense of national frustration.

In 1856, the unresolved issue was that of slavery. Slavery was an explosive issue whose fuse burned shorter and shorter. Slavery was not specifically forbidden in the Constitution, although the language in the Constitution and the framers’ concept of natural law could be construed as condemning it. The result was a lack of national consensus and a division of the nation into two soon-to-be-armed camps. Each camp had some claim on the wording used by the Founding Fathers.

The unresolved issue today is abortion. The fuse on this issue is also burning shorter with each passing day. Abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution. Those who are pro-abortion have to “find” this so-called right. This view of course will not stand among those who are pro-life, who correctly see the pro-abortion lobby as having created “rights” which cannot be found in the Constitution. The result is the same as in 1856; a lack of national consensus and the division of the nation into two camps. Whether or not these camps become armed remains to be seen. However, if the historical pattern remains constant, a Harpers-Ferry type of incident can be expected to occur soon.

The overturned Supreme Court case of 1856 also mirrors a 1992 controversy. That being the Dred Scott case which upheld slavery and was undoubtedly bad law. It was turned de facto by the Civil War and de jure by the postbellum 14th amendment. In the same way, pro-lifers and many constitutional constructionists see Roe vs. Wade as bad law and one which must be overturned.

The election of a caretaker President in this election would also parallel 1856. In the same way that President James Buchanan was a time-serving do-nothing, who served neither side of a rapidly deteriorating nation, a movement toward a morally neutered, and mythical middle ground could lead to a severely crippled executive branch. Just as James Buchanan’s attempt at centrist, amoral politics could not serve as a lightning rod for the tensions which were then building, neither will the same political philosophy or lack thereof help to decide our current cultural war. This trend is both ominous and dangerous.

The most obvious parallel between the election of 1856 and 1992 is the sense of national frustration in the air. I believe the reason that politicians “just don’t get it” is due to the to the fact that they’ve lost contact with the people they are supposed to serve. If you talk to the average citizen, you will soon learn of the rapid moral decay in our land and the general frustration over the status quo. To paraphrase historian Shelby Foote, “They are being led in directions that they do not care to go.” This mood is as electric in this nation as in the humid air before a thunderstorm. I know for certain that this mood exists in this nation.

We can only hope to hear soon of a lawyer from a small town in Illinois…

Ron Auvil is a staff member of Christian Evangelistic Endeavors, a ministry dedicated to bringing a great revival to the Church and spiritual awakening throughout the nations. If you wish to receive more information about CEE, you may write to:

CEE, 35155 Beachpark Dr., Eastlake, OH 44095.


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Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.

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Frank Schaeffer Will You Please Shut Up! (Book)

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A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism

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The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.

Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.

Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - How Should We Then Live? (DVD)

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Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:

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2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
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5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
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9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?

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The Abortion Matrix: Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death (DVD)

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Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?

This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.

Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.

The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?

As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).

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Running Time: 195 minutes

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The Abortion Matrix DVD: Update

The Abortion Matrix:
Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death

is a 195-minute presentation that traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God has produced. You can order this series on DVD, read the complete script and view clips on-line...
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