US Civil War Or Secession

Is the United States the Most Divided It’s Been Since the Civil War?

A commentary by James Edwin Gibson

The United States may be its most divided since the Civil War.


Millions of persons, including me, consider abortion murder and adamantly oppose abortion under most circumstances. When a Supreme Court vacancy occurred late in President Barack Obama’s administration, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell led a successful move to delay the replacement until after the election when President Donald Trump could nominate a conservative justice more likely to be pro-life.

Now with the prospect of a conservative Supreme Court for the foreseeable future, some Democratic Presidential candidates advocate expanding the Supreme Court[1] to more than nine justices, as a way to put liberals in control.

Gay Marriage

Marriage between homosexuals is another polarizing issue. With its legalization, many conservative Christians are outraged. And, many liberals seek even more rights for homosexuals.

Health Care

An increasing number of persons advocate a single-payer health care system that offers coverage for everyone. On the other hand, many criticize government-run health care.

Escalating Conflict

The conflict between conservatives and liberals on abortion, gay marriage, health care, and other issues seems to be escalating. Instead of seeking to find the best solution or common ground, the arguments seem to be getting worse. Each side seems determined to have its own way.

When Barack Obama was President some persons in certain states such as Texas considered seeking for their states to withdraw from the country to form a new country. Now that Donald Trump is President, some persons in other states such as California are advocating a secession from the nation.

Where Will It End?

What will be the final result of this divisiveness? In Mathew 12:25 the Bible states “. . . Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:” (King James Version), which is a passage Abraham Lincoln apparently used as his source when he stated in a June 16, 1858 speech[2] at the Illinois Republican State Convention where he had been nominated to run for the United States Senate “. . . .A house divided against itself, cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. . . . ”

Lincoln was elected President of the United States in 1860, the Civil War followed, and Lincoln is often considered our nation’s greatest President for his role in preserving the country and eliminating slavery. But, I like to think our nation would have eventually eliminated slavery peacefully and avoided much of the divisiveness that endures to this day if an even better leader had been elected.

Here in 2019 we are not on the verge of a civil war or a secession of states. The division is not as bad as it was in the mid1800s. But, the talk of many in certain states about secession may lead to actual secession by one or more states if things continue to get worse in coming years.

Perhaps we can find leaders who will achieve a compromise that placates both sides to some extent. Better yet, as I see it, would be to succeed in educating the public about which side is correct on each issue, attaining unity. For example, on the abortion issue, I’d love for everyone to accept the sanctity of life. We could end most abortions, greatly reduce premarital and extramarital sex, improve prenatal care, and greatly increase adoptions of unwanted children by persons qualified to be good parents.

But, to succeed in resolving issues like abortion, gay marriage, and health care, we need to be willing to listen to one another respectfully and to seek the best solution for each issue.

In Kentucky where I live, the state motto is “united we stand, divided we fall.” I think those are wise words. I think these words mean we need to stand for all persons, including the unborn, and that persons desiring no children need to exercise their God-given self-control to practice sexual abstinence or to use contraceptives (maybe multiple methods) properly. But, for our society to be united, somehow this message need to be communicated more effectively than it has been so far.

Ideally, if we all listen intelligently with an open mind, we will eventually reach agreement on the right path to take on each issue, as we learn from one another. Let’s seek to do it.   


[1] “Are you open to expanding the size of the Supreme Court”; New York Times; website accessed June 30, 2019. other websites also discuss this.)

[2] “Full text of ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand’ ”; Lincoln Room of the University of Illinois Library, via; website accessed June 30, 2019. other websites also quote from this speech.)


This piece is being submitted to Craft News Report on June 30, 2019.

Copyright © 2019 James Edwin Gibson. James is the author of the books True Christianity: It May Not Be What You Think (2014, second edition 2015, third edition 2017) and Several True (I Think) Stories: Can Truth Be Stranger Than Fiction? (2016, second edition 2017). You may contact James at regarding this column. James thanks his friend Paul for publishing it on his website, thanks you all for reading, and hopes you all enjoy God’s blessings!