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Abe Lincoln on ETHICS and CHURCH

Abraham Lincoln On Ethics
An article on Lincoln's personal code of ethics and his view of business ethics, based on an excerpt from the one-man play “Lincoln Live”
by Gene Griessman

“What does it mean to be ethical?

As far as I’m concerned, it means treating others the way you’d want to be treated.

I never joined a church because the churches of my day required you to subscribe to a particular doctrine or creed. I told a minister who was trying to recruit me that if I ever found a church that would inscribe over its altar only two requirements, I would join that church with all my heart: The first requirement would be, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.’ The second requirement would be, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’

I reckon that anyone who keeps those two commandments will never have a problem with any legitimate code of ethics. The second great commandment is really the basis of the Golden Rule—loving your neighbor as yourself.

Being ethical means being honest. Perhaps the greatest asset was being known as Honest Abe. It was a good name, and I believe that a good name is more to be desired than great riches.

I made it a practice to be so clear that no honest man could misunderstand me and no dishonest one could successfully misrepresent me

As you know, I’m a lawyer; and, yes, there were lawyer jokes back in the 1800s. I remember a story about a preacher back in Indiana who was conducting a funeral service for a prominent lawyer. At one point in his eulogy, the minister said, “Here lies a successful lawyer and an honest man.” A woman in the audience whispered to her friend: “We need to take a peek to see if there are two bodies in the casket?”

I happen to believe that a lawyer can be honest. In fact I found that clients often had more trouble telling the truth than lawyers did.

Here’s some advice I gave young lawyers: “Resolve to be honest at all events. If, in your own judgment, you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer. Choose some other occupation, rather than one in the choosing of which you do, in advance, consent to be a knave.”

If you’re ethical, you’ll strive to be knowledgeable. In the 1800s it was common for people to talk about “living up to the light” that one had. It was an excellent way of admitting in advance that one could be mistaken because of lack of knowledge. I like that concept, and used it in my Second Inaugural Address: “With firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right” is the way I said it in my second inaugural address.

But there's something more important than knowing the truth, and that’s knowing what to do with the truth. A village idiot might stumble upon the truth, tell everybody in sight, and do irreparable damage. Being wise involves knowing when to tell the truth, knowing how to tell the truth, knowing who to tell it to, and even deciding if you should tell it at all. Some truth should never be told--like when my wife Mary asked me what I thought of one of her ridiculous-looking new hats.

Being ethical doesn’t mean that you be suicidal. .

If you’re ethical, you’ll strive to use good judgment. The true rule in determining to accept or reject any thing is not whether it has any evil in it; but whether it has more of evil than of good. There are few things wholly evil or wholly good. Almost every thing…is an inseparable compound of the two so that our best judgment of the preponderance between them is continually demanded."

Archbishop Oscar Romero Quotes

Archbishop Oscar Romero

"We have never preached violence, except the violence of love,which left Christ nailed to a cross, the violence that we musteach do to ourselves, to overcome our selfishness and such cruelinequalities among us. The violence we preach is not the violenceof the sword, the violence of hatred. It is the violence of love,of brotherhood, the violence that wills to beat weapons intosickles for work.

"Those committed to the poor must share the same fate as the poor.

"A church that suffers no persecution but enjoys the privileges and support of the things of the earth - beware! - is not the true church of Jesus Christ. A preaching that does not point out sin is not the preaching of the gospel. A preaching that makes sinners feel good, so that they are secured in their sinful state, betrays the gospel's call. (1/22/78).

"When the church hears the cry of the oppressed it cannot but denounce the social structures that give rise to and perpetuate the misery from which the cry arises (8/6/78).

"The church would betray its own love for God and its fidelity to the gospel if it stopped being . . . a defender of the nights of the poor . . . a humanizer of every legitimate struggle to achieve a more just society . . . that prepares the way for the true reign of God in history (8/6/79).

“I do not believe in death without resurrection. If they kill me I will rise again in the people of El Salvador.”

"Aspire not to have more but to be more.

"Let us not tire of preaching love; it is the force that will overcome the world.

"Defence of human rights, equality, and freedom… is a matter of policy… rooted in the gospel.

"The poor have shown the church the true way to go. A church that does not speak out from the side of the poor is not the true church of Jesus.

"The gospel is the great defender and proclaimer of all the great fundamental rights of the person. The fundamental right to…… Food & Water, Shelter; Protection; Medicine; Education; Work; Rest; Freedom; Respect; Dignity; Fullness of Life.

"The violence we preach is not the violence of the sword; ... it is the violence of love.

"Let my blood be a seed of freedom.

"I will not tire of declaring that if we really want an effective
end to violence we must remove the violence that lies at the root
of all violence: structural violence, social injustice, exclusion
of citizens from the management of the country, repression. All
this is what constitutes the primal cause, from which the rest
flows naturally. September 23, 1979.

"I'm deeply impressed by that moment when Christ stands alone
before the world figured in Pilate. The truth is left alone, his
own followers have been afraid. Truth is fearfully daring, and
only heroes can follow the truth. So much so that Peter, who has
said he will die if need be, flees like a coward and Christ
stands alone.

"Let's not be afraid to be left alone if it's for the sake of the
truth. Let's be afraid to be demagogs, coveting the people's sham
flattery. If we don't tell them the truth, we commit the worst
sin: betraying the truth and betraying the people. Christ would
rather be left alone, but able to say before the world figured in
Pilate: Everyone who hears my voice belongs to the truth. Feast
of Christ the King, 1979.

"Would that the many bloodstained hands in our land were lifted
up to the Lord with horror of their stain to pray that he might
cleanse them. But let those who, thanks to God, have clean
hands -- the children, the sick, the suffering -- lift up their
innocent and suffering hands to the Lord like the people of
Israel in Egypt. The Lord will have pity and will say, as he did
to Moses in Egypt, "I have heard my people's cry of wailing. It
is the prayer that God cannot fail to hear. September 18, 1977

"The church is calling to sanity, to understanding, to love. It
does not believe in violent solutions. The church believes in
only one violence, that of Christ, who was nailed to the cross.
That is how today's gospel reading shows him, taking upon himself
all the violence of hatred and misunderstanding, so that we
humans might forgive one another, love one another, feel
ourselves brothers and sisters. November 20, 1977.

"We have never preached violence, except the violence of love,
which left Christ nailed to a cross, the violence that we must
each do to ourselves, to overcome our selfishness and such cruel
inequalities among us. The violence we preach is not the violence
of the sword, the violence of hatred. It is the violence of love,
of brotherhood, the violence that wills to beat weapons into
sickles for work. November 27, 1977

"Who knows if the one whose hands are bloodied with Father
Grande's murder, or the one who shot Father Navarro, if those who
have killed, who have tortured, who have done so much evil, are
listening to me? Listen, there in your criminal hideout, perhaps
already repentant, you too are called to forgiveness. December
18, 1977

"A preaching that does not point out sin is not the preaching of
the gospel. A preaching that makes sinners feel good so that they
become entrenched in their sinful state, betrays the gospel's
call. A preaching that does not discomfit sinners but lulls them
in their sin leaves Zebulun and Naphtali in the shadow of death.

"A preaching that awakens, a preaching that enlightens -- as when
a light turned on awakens and of course annoys a sleeper -- that
is the preaching of Christ, calling, "wake up! Be converted!"
this is the church's authentic preaching. Naturally, such
preaching must meet conflict, must spoil what is miscalled
prestige, must disturb, must be persecuted. It cannot get along
with the powers of darkness and sin. January 22, 1978

"And so, brothers and sisters, I repeat again what I have said
here so often, addressing by radio those who perhaps have caused
so many injustices and acts of violence, those who have brought
tears to so many homes, those who have stained themselves with
the blood of so many murders, those who have hands soiled with
tortures, those who have calloused their consciences, who are
unmoved to see under their boots a person abased, suffering,
perhaps ready to die. To all of them I say: no matter your
crimes. They are ugly and horrible, and you have abased the
highest dignity of a human person, but God calls you and forgives
you. And here perhaps arises the aversion of those who feel they
are laborers from the first hour. How can I be in heaven with
those criminals? Brothers and sisters, in heaven there are no
criminals. The greatest criminal, once he has repented of his
sins, is now a child of God. September 24, 1978


Please forgive my poor articulation as follows. This post holds that "PEACE" IS A SIN. It holds that "NONVIOLENCE" IS A SIN. It speaks only of "Peace." The argument against "Nonviolence" is exactly the same. I believe this is a matter of gravest consequence, life and death, not semantics.

  • Maybe Teresa said it best: "[Jesus said,] 'My Peace I leave with you, My Peace I give unto you.' He came not to give the peace of the world which is only that we don't bother each other[!!!!!!!] [Jesus] came to give the Peace of heart which comes from loving - from doing good to others. "
  • Jesus Teaching was simply and entirely Love / Brotherliness / PeaceMAKING.
  • Peace is NOT Love / Brotherliness / PeaceMAKING; but rather its fruit; but the fruit is not the source!!!
  • Only Loving / Brotherliness is Loving / Brotherliness / PeaceMAKING.
  • If we embrace "Peace" we displace and defeat Loving / Brotherliness / PeaceMAKING.
Clearly this is a sin; a mortal error.

"The opposite of love [PeaceMAKING] is not hate; the opposite of love [PeaceMAKING] is indifference or apathy ["Peace"]." Rollo May

"Peace" is too deathly close to "indifference" or "apathy." Start Loving

Archbishop Oscar Romero: "We have never preached violence, except the violence of love,which left Christ nailed to a cross, the violence that we must each do to ourselves, to overcome our selfishness and such cruel inequalities among us. The violence we preach is not the violence of the sword, the violence of hatred. It is the violence of love, of brotherhood, the violence that wills to beat weapons into sickles for work."

Militant PeaceMAKING, Militant Loving, Militant Brotherliness, the "Violence of Love" is our sole "Weapon." "Peace" is to displace this and to unilaterally disarm ourselves; to remove ourselves from opposition to War / Hatred / Destruction. God save us from continuing this.


Jesus taught Loving / Brotherliness / PeaceMAKING - NOT JUSTICE.

We do one or the other.


Loving will rarely if ever result from Justice. Why? Loving is of the Heart / the Almighty. Justice is of the Head.


Jesus taught Loving / Brotherliness / PeaceMAKING - NOT CHARITY.

We do one or the other.


Loving will rarely if ever come with Charity. Why? Loving is of the Heart / the Almighty. Charity is of the Head / Flesh with just a twinge of Heart.


There is a profound redundancy to much of my writing, because there is a profound redundancy to much of my experience. De ja vu all over again.

Why partake in, why indulge this redundancy? It has to do with this fact: "The greatest distance," our rabbis teach, "is from the head to the heart." We have been so deformed, so perverted by the culture we have been crippled by that we must revisit, revisit... and experience "for the first time" Truth, over, and over.... To reshape our bodies requires enormous repetition of the same exercise, each time attacking as though every repetition was Truly our first time! And for the greatest athletes, they probably experience the 1 millionth repetition Truly as "their first time!"

And the Truth is so entirely "foreign" to us as a result of our enculturation that it takes many, many, many, many encounters before we can really see the Truth "face to face," and even then....

So it is with me.


I strive to be a dire threat. There is some evidence I am beginning to succeed. The evidence is very bitter sweet.

I've lost one of the few long term friends that ever I have had. Usually, by definition you can't lose a friend. Love never ends. And deep, deep down this person still has a spark of Love for me I am sure. But, he finally sees what I've always tried to be clear on: I am striving to become a dire threat to everything "normal" in our society. As a highly trained "Dr." of Humanity / Psychology I am convinced that we are crippling ourselves beyond all recognition of health, at the price of Life and Joy. Consequently I am dedicated to becoming a "Cure," "Mass Therapy," "Chemo (painful)."

"Be the change you wish to see." Gandhi

“One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons”. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing." Albert Schweitzer

"An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching." Mohandas Gandhi

I see no other way to change than what they propose.

Among the evidence that "Cure" is underway in Chemo is when the Dr. makes the patients feel "Sick." This deeply pains the good Dr. But they go on making their beloved, sick, as best they can, for the Promise of the ordeal.


Someone that has come to know me quite well made this comment out of the blue yesterday, although it has apparantly been on this friend's mind for quite some time. Quite a curious statement about someone whose behavior shouts, every day, that the way we are living in this society is clinically crazy, CRAZY. The way I lived, the way 99.9999% of us in the U.S. "live" is clinically CRAZY I think, and "stout" at the top of my proverbial "lungs" every day.


Usually these Posts are a pure, if painful Joy for me. This one is different.

This Post is extremely sobering. It is also among the most important. It also is Joyful

"You get what you pay for." What a mundane every-day expression. What a profound revelation of the Truth.

What do we adults pay for with our lives? For our Dearest? For "the least of these my family?"
  • Heaven on Earth? NO
  • Global Brotherhood / Family? NO
  • The Kingdom? NO
  • "Salvation" for ourselves? NO
  • "Salvation" for "the least of these..? NO
  • "Salvation" for our Dearest? NO

This is great news! Imagine if we changed the answer to "YES!"



Mother Teresa responds, “No, God doesn’t call me to be successful; God calls me to be faithful.”

The point? We are individually rewarded with Joy / Life / Love for the attempt, INFINITELY, AND we "fund" the construction of Heaven, GUARANTEED.


"There is nothing so tempting as evil in the garb of virtue." Dr. Martin Luther King

"Reasonableness / Mind" [OF THE FLESH / SELFISHNESS / NOT-HEART / NOT-SPIRIT] is the source of Evil?

"Reasonableness / Mind" [OF THE FLESH / SELFISHNESS / NOT-HEART, NOT-SPIRIT] is the source of Genocide?

"Reasonableness / Mind" CAUSES the Genocide of our Western "Neglect" that results in 18,000 children needlessly starving per day, for example?!??!?!? Yes of course. IT IS ENTIRELY REASONABLE TO NEGLECT "THE LEAST OF THESE" SO THAT "I CAN TAKE CARE OF "MY OWN." "


Unfortunately, such "reasonableness" is a total and entire rejection of The Almighty, of God.

Paul had much to warn us about this:

Romans 1 28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Romans 8 5Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man[e] is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind[f] is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

As Jesus told us we WILL have one of two Fathers
  1. Heart (the Almighty) or
  2. Flesh (Mammon, Devil).