Sunday, August 08, 2010

Revisiting an Inaugural Letter to the President

Today, I grieve that the President did not heed my others plea to reconsider his stance on abortion. If he had, Elena Kagan would never have been nominated or admitted to the Supreme Court. The Judgement of God draws closer for our nation as such decisions are made. Below is a letter I wrote to the President after his inauguration.

January 22, 2009

A Letter to my President

Dear President Obama,

Congratulations on your election to President of the United States of America and inheritor of the unofficial title of "Leader of the Free World." May God give you great grace and stamina in the days ahead as you seek to lead the nation in these troubled times.

On the last Sunday of 2008, I had the honor of preaching the last message of the year in an African-American Church in your home state of Illinois. It was a privilege and honor for my wife and I to be the lone white faces in a sea of excited black and brown Americans who look with hope and joy at the election of the first African-American President in our nation's history.

I want you to know that you have my respect and will have my prayers for both your safety and that of your family and for the effectiveness of your administration. I have been touched by the love you express not only for your wife but for the joys of your family and the precious treasures that God has entrusted to you in your daughters. From all that I know, Sasha and Malia have a father to whom they can look with pride and love. I praise God for your model of love for their mother and joy in their achievements and growth in character.

For the next four years and beyond I will be one of your most fervent prayer warriors. I will lead the people that God entrusts to me in my church to honor and respect you and to pray for you and all the challenges of the sacred trust that you have taken upon yourself in the years ahead.

Today, I read something on the news wires that will only increase the fervency of my prayer for you. My admiration is not diminished but I am disappointed in what I read. You were quoted today with the following:

"On this anniversary, we must also recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights and opportunities as our sons: the chance to attain a world-class education; to have fulfilling careers in any industry; to be treated fairly and paid equally for their work and to have no limits on their dreams," Obama said. "That is what I want for women everywhere."

Mr. President, I want you to know that in this quote I recognize not just the great rhetoric for which you are famous, but a heart that truly wants the best for the women of our nation. I applaud your desires. I share them. I have three daughters and one son and I want for each of them what you have expressed in this extremely well phrased paragraph. But Mr. President, I don't understand why you see abortion as a necessary means to this end.

Abortion is a stain upon our character as a nation and a scar that is leaving a path of consequences that latter generations are going to look back upon as a gross injustice. God himself will one day judge us for this cosmic crime against the children that he has given to us. As the Scripture says, He is the opener and closer of wombs. I plead with you my President, search the Scripture, think through the science, listen to counselors who are not in debt to special interests on either side of the aisle, take some time at Camp David and seek the face of God on this issue.

During the week leading up to your historic inauguration, you attempted to give honor in many ways to the President who had a foundational role in moving our country down the path that led to your election. Abraham Lincoln once had a meeting with Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. Mrs. Stowe was short in stature and President Lincoln towered over her (just as you tower over so many both physically and in raw political talent). The Civil War was two years old at their meeting. His greeting to her was telling.

“So this is the little lady who started this great big war!”1

I quote below a paragraph from an article from Kairos Journal that gives a summary of her life, motivation and impact:

"In the end, Stowe saw herself as a weak thing of the world used to shame the wise.2 Through it all, she faced formidable foes, but she never wavered from her task. As a model for all believers, she took her bearings and her calling from her Lord and never looked back: “I wrote what I did because, as a woman, as a mother, I was oppressed and heartbroken with the sorrows and injustice I saw; because, as a Christian, I felt the dishonor to Christianity; because, as a lover of my country, I trembled at the coming day of wrath.”3

Mr. President, as a pastor, as a man, as a Christian, as a father of three girls and one boy, as a citizen of two cities, one heavenly and one earthly, I am heartbroken with the sorrows and injustice I see in our nation toward the unborn and defenseless babies aborted before their time. As a lover of my country, and with Mrs. Stowe, I tremble at the coming day of wrath on our nation if we continue to allow abortion to thrive in our nation.

Please, Mr. President, my President, reconsider your stand on abortion. It is not the means to the end you desire for your daughters and the women of our nation. God bless you sir. I am praying for you.

Pastor Marty Schoenleber


1. Mason I. Lowance, Jr., and Ellen E. Westbrook, The Stowe Debate (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1994), 3. Quoted in “Stowe’s Protest Novel,” University of North Carolina at Pembroke Website, (accessed September 28, 2007).

2. Stowe, “To Elizabeth Cabot Follen,” 76.

3. Stowe, quoted in James William Massie, America: The Origin of Her Present Conflict (London: J. Snow, 1864), 109

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