Lincoln – the hidden message

Mash note to Obama?

Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln

The following appeared December 3 on The Catholic Thing website.

The more I think about Lincoln – great as it is thanks to Spielberg and the film’s stars, especially Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role – the more I worry.

Now there is often a political agenda hiding in the skirts of what ever sashays out of Hollywood, and there’s one here. The screenwriter attached to Lincoln is Tony Kushner, leftist author of Angels in America, a Pulitzer-winning play that bears the subtitle: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes.

A couple of years back there was a flapdoodle over assertions by some that the Great Emancipator was a closeted homosexual, and I was worried before I saw Lincoln that some “queer theory” might seep in – to soil it and spoil it. That’s not the case.

There is, however, a more sinister message at the heart of the film, namely L’etat c’est moi. And I’m going to walk to the end of the limb here and start sawing: the Lincoln screenplay, if not the film itself, is a mash note to the president, and I don’t mean Abraham Lincoln. According to the film, hope is kindled and change realized only when visionaries do the right thing, regardless of cultural or legal barriers.

Mr. Kushner’s script is taken in part from Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, although the film depicts just the last four months of Lincoln’s presidency and life. Scenes, each no doubt with a basis in history, have been gerrymandered to emphasize a key point: the “people” aren’t to be trusted. Most Americans are brutes, in this case, dyed-in-the-wool racists, and a progressive leader must leapfrog democracy in order to achieve what only enlightened people recognize is just. Examples:

Secretary of State William Seward grills Midwestern visitors about the proposed Thirteenth Amendment (the driving force in the film: Lincoln’s determination to weld the Emancipation Proclamation to the Constitution). The good folks are in favor of it if it will help end the Civil War. And if the war ends before the Amendment passes in the House? Opposed. Why? The man says: “Niggers.”

Representative Thaddeus Stevens, leader of the radical abolitionists, speaks with vehemence about his contempt for democracy and “the people.” They elected him, but he owes them nothing.

The president tells the story of once representing a woman, a victim of what we now call domestic violence, who killed her husband, but whose murder case the young attorney knew he couldn’t win. So he let his client climb out a first-floor courtroom window and escape to freedom.

And when the president speaks about the suspension of habeas corpus and of the war-powers reasoning behind the Emancipation Proclamation, he admits he is unsure of the actual legality – doubts it in fact – but believes he was right to circumvent the law.

And that’s what just about everybody urges Mr. Lincoln to realize: you can’t wait for the knuckle-draggers to catch up; you can’t adhere to laws that impede progress.

Lincoln agrees. Thomas More he is not

But are Messrs. Spielberg and Kushner sending a message to Barack Obama about ignoring pesky laws in order to promote progressive causes (same-sex marriage, perhaps)? Well, based on interviews he has given, I’d say Mr. Kushner is. (He “married” another man in Massachusetts in 2008.) And given Mr. Spielberg’s command of his medium, it’s hard to imagine any screenwriter slipping in such emphases without the director’s approval.

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Comments

  1. Should the author of this “take” on “Lincoln” have been so distracted by Tony Kushner’s artistic legacy or presumed agenda, then why did s/he bother to view the film at all?
    If, in fact, Mr. Obama is so lily-livered an executive (worry not, my votes have never been for him, I knew of his Illinois record) to be held sway by the likes of Spielberg or Kushner in order to find some erzatz moral backbone, then go ahead and ask why 48% of the nominally RC electorate voted for his amoral spirit a SECOND time?
    I’ll tell you one thing- Kushner, at least has the courage of his convictions, and “Angels” is a paragon work of art (as reprehensible it may be to our Christian convictions.) Obama has yet to demonstrate any personal convictions, other than to capitalize upon the misery of others, of which he has no personal acquaintance.

    • Sodomite Kushner courageous, art? I would not compare art with the arts of seduction, nor would I compare courage of sodomites with actual courage. Demoniacs can dress up like pure angels or saints but they are not.

  2. Kenneth M. Fisher says:

    “The truth Shall set you free”. The Truth is that the Constitution gives the right to seccession to all States including those of the Confederacy.

    Lincoln placed himself above the Constitution. Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewll Jackson both favored abolishment of slavery but not at the costs of States Rights. They were the true Patriots!

    Had Lincoln been a true Patriot, he would have taken the Constitutional Amendment process instead of a bloody war that put the Masons in charge for years to come.

    God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
    Kenneth M. Fisher

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      Dear Kenneth –

      He did take the Constitutional route. That’s what the movie is about. The Constitutional amendment. Did you actually see the movie?

      YFC

      • Kenneth M. Fisher says:

        YFC,

        As I understand it, he took the Constitutional Route after bludgeoning the South into submission, which is exactly what the Obamanation intends to do to the Catholic Church and others who stand against him.

        I intend to see the movie, but I haven’t yet, besides I don’t take my history from Hell y wood!

        God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
        Kenneth M. Fisher

    • Abeca Christian says:

      This is all new to me..wow, I have never heard of these things you mention Mr, Fisher. At school I wasn’t taught that. Maybe there is something wrong with my generation. I always thought Lincoln was a decent man. Wow. I was just listening to Iheartradio and they had a gentleman talk about his book he wrote on Lincoln. It didn’t shed any bad light as to what you just mentioned here.

      Now I am confused but I guess… I am more focused on saving souls…I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion on these kind of topics. But it sure is interesting, just a tad confusing for me.

      • The Irish Brigrade was formed in the Civil War, consisting of Catholics. These men fought for states rights; they fought for Catholic values. After the defeat of the Confederacy, they settled in Mexico. The Masons and other para-territorial rivals to the papal throne will do all in their power to gain their goals, as will the devil.

      • Kenneth M. Fisher says:

        Abeca,

        All you have to do is read the Constitution, and you will find that the South did have the Right to Seceed!

        God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
        Kenneth M. Fisher

        • Abeca Christian says:

          Mr. Fisher that makes sense….so perhaps instead of war and killings, they should of been permitted to secede. Wow I have never been made aware of that, they have always glorified Lincoln in our schools. Wow well I must say, I do find this topic interesting now, it has opened my mind more to thinking further….I am intrigued….I am not speaking against Lincoln, I was just enlightened to think outside the box in this type of topic. Pretty neat! I always thought that a civil war was needed but I guess if we are protected and can secede…why not! After all Obama has changed my views on a lot of things, he has disappointed us so much, I fear that our religious freedom will be violated or continue to be violated due to his extreme views.

        • Anonymous says:

          States do not have the right to succeed. It was not permitted in the Constitution. Possibly what Mr. Fisher means is that the Constitution did not say it could not be done. It was not addressed in the Constitution at all. Since the Civil War, it has become illegal for states to suceed.

    • Many are currently seceeding from the Constitution already.

      • Kenneth M. Fisher says:

        No Skai, they are seceeding from the Union, not the Constitution which gives them the right to seceed!

        God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
        Kenneth M. Fisher

        • Your Fellow Catholic says:

          Fisher writes:”All you have to do is read the Constitution, and you will find that the South did have the Right to Seceed! (sic) and later writes, “No Skai, they are seceeding from the Union, not the Constitution which gives them the right to seceed!” (sic)

          Huh? Where in the Constitution gives the right to secede?

        • Both. Kenneth, I was intentionally convoluting the perspective. Some are disengaging from our Constitutional form of government, namely the Democrats. Others are growing wary of this slide into tyranny, and are proposing a secession from the “ueber state” being pushed by the globalists. For example, if I were faced with choosing between California and Texas as a homeland, I’d pick Texas because even its Governor Perry has spoken in favor of sessession; whereas California’s governor speaks in favor of sodomy and abortion. Obamacare would force us to pay for sodomy and abortion; what would it force us to pay for next? I would think the Church would need to secede from the “ueber state” being formed by globalists as we speak. In this sense we would be seceding from those who are seceding from the Constitution.

    • Confederate President Jefferson Davis said that the freedom of southern manhood reposes on the institution of slavery.

      Abortion feminists say that the freedom of American women reposes on the institution of abortion.

  3. Lincoln was a railroad lawyer who ended up a secular god.

    I will be a miracle if Obama doesn’t end up with his own secular temple in Washington – look at the god whose temple you carry around in your pocket, on the back of your pennies.

    • Abeca Christian says:

      charlio I have never thought about Lincoln that way, why call him a god? Who does that? It’s sure interesting what comes out of people’s heads now a days. I guess it would be interesting to try to understand how you came up with that. Not to be disrespectful to you, but I have never heard of anyone thinking that Lincoln was a god?

      • Abeca Christian, the word “god” as Charlio is using it is probably the way the Old Testament used it in one or two places — as heroes of a country. Christ made reference to it in the New Testament, but I cannot find the exact passage right now. Also, many of the gods of the pagans were just heroes of the past and were just deified men. We do tend to do that even in this country. What was ironic in the Protestant Rebellion (Reformation) is that immediately after some Protestants tore down the statues of some saints in Catholic churches because they said they were idols, they began to make statues of the “reformers”. Quite humorous when you think about it, except for all the torture and killings that went on on both sides. There was and probably still is a place in Geneva Switzerland with statues of most or all of the first “reformers”. What a fickle lot people are!!!!!!

      • Search for “lincoln memorial zeus”. The Lincoln Memorial was styled after the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, Greece.

        Search for “lincoln deified”. “Richard N. Current in his book ‘The Lincoln Nobody Knows’, touches on the deification of Abraham Lincoln in the chapter entitled ‘The Martyr and the Myth’.”

        Article on “Apotheosis”: “Many modern leaders have exploited the artistic imagery if not the theology of apotheosis [the glorification of a subject to divine level]. Examples include … Abraham Lincoln in the US, Lenin in USSR … or Kim Jong-il of North Korea.”

  4. Father Karl says:

    Attending Catholic schools , and having been a boy scout, I was taught that Lincolln was one of the greatest leaders America has ever had. In the past decade many facts have been given to me which point out that Lincoln was not as great as many said he was. His suspended many rights (habeus corpus) during the war, went against the constitution, had a very weak faith in God, and was not nice to his wife. These things do not make him a devil, but they surely cannot make him a saint. It is about time that people realize that to be a saint, one has to have extraordinary love for God and for mankind, otherwise we are making saints out of thin air.

    • Another good post, Father. We must see the faults of our heroes (feet of clay) as well as their good points, and realize that if they get to heaven at all, they might have had some purifying to go through. Lincoln was against our war with Mexico, though, from what I have read, and felt we were a stronger nation picking on a weaker nation, so he did not seem to be too anti Catholic.. It is impossible for any president to satisfy everyone in this country, and it is even getting harder with all the different ethics groups and religions that are here. A nation’s people need some things in common to survive. I feel we have already gone past that stage and are on the decline. Whether we rise from the ashes a better nation or split into different countries who knows. Whether it happens during our lifetime or not is up for grabs too.

      • From what I have read many times, President Lincoln also allowed his wife to have seances in the White House after their son died. He allowed it supposedly to humor her or comfort, but it certainly was not a good idea. God only knows what demons were let in, and other White House occupants have done the same. Mary Todd Lincoln ended up eventually in the insane asylum — whether before or after Lincoln was shot I do not remember, but it can be found on line I am sure.

        • Has anyone read Bill O’Reilly’s book on Lincoln and what did you think of it if you did?

          • Yes, I have. Despite Bill’s penchant for self-promotional bloviation, he can spin a yarn, albeit non-fiction, with the best of them.
            Same for “Killing Kennedy.”

            I would like to point out specific problems with Skai’s condemnation above: Reducing a human soul’s integrity from afar with epithets is calumny, whatever happened to love the sinner, hate the sin?; Should we also therefore remove the musical, artistic and architectural achievements of Da Vinci, Buonarrati (Michelangelo), Caravaggio, Gesualdo and their predecessors/successors because of ample evidence of they’re problems with sodomy and murder?; courage of convictions, if the soul in question is truly conivicted of the rightness of their intent and actions and otherwise means no harm to another soul is no less courage than we who stand against those actions based upon our own, which I stated clearly; and the most blatantly obvious admonition- “art” is in the eye of the beholder. “Angels in America” is not “Piss Christ.” Glass houses, glass houses, glass houses.
            Did our Lord say to the woman caught in adultery: “Whore, you asked for this! I saved your butt, now stop whoring around or you’ll remain a whore!”
            No, he didn’t. So think about that before you qualify the state of another soul finding their way on this earth, Skai. Look inward.

          • Charles, if you choose to take your inspiration from sinners, and your spirituality from zen (“look within”), that is up to you. If you choose not to see your neighbor, that also is up to you. If you choose to ignore your enemy, so be it, Charles. If you choose to live a Catholic life, then you might find looking into the Saints and Church doctrine a much more exciting adventure.

    • “love the sinner, hate the sin”: Charles, is rumor your “gospel”?

      • Dear Skai,
        Thank you for your remonstrations towards me. But, again, please don’t presume to judge my heart. In no way did I invoke anyone other than Christ as my sole inspiration for how I conduct my life. I haven’t the foggiest notion of what “zen” is. Nor what “rumor as your ‘gospel’” is.
        Can we agree that Jesus Christ, alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and our Savior. I’m not arguing against HIm or you. What I’m trying to do is “judge not….” Peace of the Coming Christ to you.

  5. Apart from all that, the movie is a good half-hour too long. It’s a masterpiece: one reviewer said it’s like watching a documentary, and it is. But it does go on…and on…and on…..

  6. Lincoln wasn’t the only President to fiddle with the Constitution’s protection of civil liberties during time of war. Franklin Roosevelt had no problem locking up the Japanese in internment camps for the duration of WWII, now viewed as one of the most callous acts the 20th century US government ever produced.

    Also, Lincoln had a very strong faith in God, but a very weak attachment to any specific religious denomination. Never confuse the intensity of faith with adherence to any religious body or service. It’s what goes on the soul that God relies on, not whether you sit in a pew half asleep on Sunday, like many people today. Read Lincoln’s speeches and writings, they’re loaded with appeals to God and references to His power and infinite goodness. An example to us all…..

    • goodcause, you’re like the people who go around saying how thankful they are, but never addressing the object of their thanks … because you do not know whom to thank. Thank Jesus. Faith without works is dead … the works mean that you live your life in union with Jesus … through the Sacraments.

      • Anonymous says:

        Skai, I’m so darned thankful for your posts.

        They make ME look so normal.

        • Abeca Christian says:

          Well wait a minute…..there have been many Anonymous commentators lately that you are already normal even way before Skai’s comments. LOL

          Well Anon….you can become normal by addressing a real name to yourself and learning from Skai!

  7. I am 123 pages in on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “Team of Rivals” on which the movie is based, it is a meticulously researched tome on the 16th President. While many of the comments above may be genuine, the truth about Lincoln is that he was a remarkable and complex man leading our nation in a very troubled time, a time of different cultural ‘norms’. I thought that the movie fairly portrayed his complexities and very much did not contain some ‘hidden messages’, or perhaps I am not intelligent enough to have picked up on these supposed messages. I came away with several thoughts….1) Lewis’ portrayal is Oscar worthy (if one cares of such things) 2) Lincoln was a man of great character 3) I wanted to learn more.

  8. In the days when I began my look into Christianity, such as reading the whole Bible, and spending three years doing nothing but reading all the classics on all the topics I could find in a university regional repository library, I also began reading the ten volume “Lincoln” by Carl Sandburg. Halfway through the first volume it put me to sleep. Lincoln seemed a really really boring character. I then took up the challenge of reading an eleven volume “War and Peace” by Tolstoi, which was amazingly exciting. Thus, I wonder how it would have been in the 1860s United States if Tolstoi had been elected president instead of Lincoln. This crazy question however leads to a more realistically analytical question of how matters would have gone had someone other than Lincoln been president when the first cannon ball flew over the wall of Fort Sumpter. I do not recall hearing of or reading of any specualtive work on this question.

    • Abeca Christian says:

      Skai glad you mentioned what you just did, it saved me from reading Lincoln stuff, I really don’t want to waste time on boring stuff….LOL I did learn from a few of the comments here but it can be confusing because you grow up learning one thing but then later on find out that there is more to his story….that sure blew me away….I’ll just stick to growing more in the faith…I also love reading my bible, that may solve this curiosity issue.

  9. I too saw “Lincoln” last weekend,and was very impressed by the treatment of Lincoln, in the main, BUT, just knowing Tony Kushner was the screenwriter made me pause and realize that there IS an agenda in this movie, but will I be perceptive enough to intuit it? And what I took away from the movie, among other things, was a kind of suble subtext saying ‘SOMETIMES THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS.’ And it was very apparent in the scenes delineating the various ways that Lincoln and his forces tried to influence certain house members, etc; nineteenth- century versions of the Obummer machinations during the Obamacare debacle in 2010, things like the “LOUISIANA PURCHASE” shticks, and the like, in order to get his crummy healthcare stuff passed. There was definite arm-twisting and shady deals made, similarly, at least according to the screenplay, in order to get the 13th Amendment passed. And all because it was a “PROGRESSIVE” idea whose time had come, and, BY GOD, it WILL be passed. Yes it WAS a radical idea to the nineteenth century mind that, yes, SLAVERY IS WRONG AND IMMORAL, and the corollary, EQUALITY, must ALSO be guaranteed, and those things to be all accomplished by the 13th amendment to the Constitution. But can we really equate the 13th amendment and its guarantees passed in 1865 to the mind-numbing debacle named “Obamacare,” passed thru all manner of intimidation and lies in 2010? I think not. But I believe where the analysis of “Lincoln” in “Catholic Thing” really hits the mark is where the author of the piece avers that a case could be made that Kushner, author of the screenplay, an avowed radical member of the “gay” movement, insists that THIS WAY, the alleged Lincoln strategy of subtle and not so subtle corruption, AND the Obummer way, the stategy of presidential pressure and “Louisiana purchases,” SHOULD be used to OVERTURN the DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT and somehow get a constitutional amendment ESTABLISHING “gay marriage” as the NEW ‘law of the land’. I definitely believe that that IS the ganbit of the “progressivists.” GOD BLEES ALL, MARKRITE

  10. Markrite, Lincoln said that the nation could not remain have slave and half free. He was was right on that, but neither can this nation remain have marriage just between one man and one woman and the other half same-sex marriage, polygamy and on and on. Quite frankly I do not believe President Lincoln would have agreed with President Obama’s refusal to defend traditional marriage no matter his other faults. I think some are trying to make of Lincoln something he was not. To me the Republican platform now defending traditional marriage and pro life is more Lincolnish (if I may coin a word) than what some others are trying to twist President Lincoln into.

    • Nevertheless, even if Lincoln would have agreed with President Obama, it would not have made him right on that issue. A man can be right on one thing and wrong an another. The Bible AND the Jewish and Christian religions in their fullness and nature and Nature’s God absolutely forbid sodomy no matter what Steven Spielberg or anyone else backs. From what I have heard Spielberg is backing so-called same-sex marriages. HE IS WRONG if that is true.

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