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Silent crossing

Did Congress cross a Rubicon on Feb. 25?

Silent crossing

Kamala Harris, one of the presidential hopefuls who voted down the Born-Alive Abortion Protection Survivors Act. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

On the last day of the year in A.D. 406, aided by a land bridge of frozen ice, a band of barbarians crossed from the east to the west bank of the Rhine and into the territory of a doomed Roman Empire. No one knew the empire was doomed that day. The sun still rose over Mainz on Jan. 1 as it always had; peasants of the manor still ate potage and colewort in drafty cruck houses, mended tools and fences, and for a pastime may have skated on a horse shin bone.

It was just in hindsight that it could be seen how that day’s penetration of Rome’s most secure limites was the prelude to the sack of Rome by Alaric and the Visigoths in 410, and far beyond that to the incremental and ignominious decline of a far-flung empire.

Sometimes people living through history do not know they are living through history. Their lives are changed forever, but they see it not. “People should know when they’re conquered,” snarled Quintus to his commander Maximus. Pity that they don’t.

Sometimes people living through history do not know they are living through history. 

When Caesar crossed the Rubicon nobody knew he’d “crossed the Rubicon,” so to speak. Nobody knew as we now know the long-term implications of this gesture in which Caesar and the 13th Legion stepped over the line from Cisalpine Gaul to Italy. The Rubicon was a humble river, little more than a stream, but great was its breaching in the annals of history. Mark Jan. 10, 49 B.C., as the beginning of the ending of the Roman Republic, and the first salvo of an Imperial Rome. 

On Jan. 20, 1942, 15 men convened in a villa in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee at the summons of Reinhard Heydrich, their purpose to discuss a final solution to the so-called Jewish “storage” problem. Nazi persecution of the Jews had started in 1933, but another decade was needed for the locomotive of hate to reach full steam in their systematic wholesale genocide. The aproned servants at the mansion, busily trimming flowers and setting out the best china, afterward cleared tables, bid one another goodnight, and went home for supper. As did the ministers of the Interior, Justice, the Four-Year Plan, and Propaganda; the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories; and the SS representatives, to their respective posts.

What were you doing on Feb. 25, 2019? That’s the day the Senate of the United States of America, greatest nation on earth, voted to block consideration of a Republican infanticide ban bill that would impose criminal penalties on healthcare practitioners who do not provide life-saving care to children born alive during an aborted abortion. All Democrats except three voted against a procedural motion on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. 

Infuriated abortion supporters called the bill misogynistic, shaming of women, an attack on abortion rights, and unnecessary inasmuch as infanticide is already illegal. Illegal, but in my own hearing an abortionist at the hospital a mile from where I sit admitted under cross-examination by Kermit Gosnell’s lawyer Jack McMahon to placing accidentally born babies on a table under a warm blanket until they expire.

God gave ancient Canaan lots of chances. Israel was not allowed to set foot back in their Promised Land until its present occupants—the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Amorites, Girgashites, and Jebusites—had reached the full measure of their evil ways. “And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Genesis 15:16). That iniquity was “complete,” we surmise from Scripture, when the Canaanites went all the way to infanticide:

“You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods” (Deuteronomy 12:31).

The day after Feb. 25, 2019, there were no marches in the street. No conversation I overheard departed from the normal banter. No sermon series I know of was suspended. No business as usual was interrupted. No indication was there in the town that any Rubicon was crossed, or filling up of measures had been reached. But children’s blood cried out to God from in the ground (Genesis 4:10).


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  • MB
    Posted: Fri, 03/08/2019 01:32 pm

    I agree with Andree's premise, but I'd go further.  Our country crossed the Rubicon with Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton back in 1973.  Here's a study on the value of human life:

    The Value of Human Life

    Murder & the shedding of innocent blood.

    Genesis 4:10, 11 - What does God say about Abel’s blood?


    Genesis 9:4-6 – What does God say about blood & murder?


    Numbers 35:31-34; Deuteronomy 19:11-13; 21:1-9; Isaiah 1:15; Matthew 23:28-35 – How serious is the shedding of innocent blood?  And, its relation to wisdom – Proverbs 8:36.


    The sacrificial murder of children.

    Genesis 15:16, Leviticus 18:21, 24, 25; Deuteronomy 18:10, 12 – Note part of the reason the nations Israel was to destroy were being judged.  Thought: Was this the last straw for these nations?


    Leviticus 20:1 -5 – How serious is the crime of child sacrifice?


    Jeremiah 7:30, 31; 19:4-6; 32:35 – How foreign is the thought of child sacrifice to God?


    Psalm 106:37, 38 – Who were children sacrificed to and what was the result?


    The downward spiral in Israel and Judah.

    2 Kings 16:3; 2 Chronicles 28:1, 3 – The beginning of child sacrifice in Israel and Judah mentioned.


    2 Kings 17:17, 18 – The destruction of Israel.  Note that Israel had worshiped idols for a long time and been forgiven many times, but after child sacrifice starts final judgement comes.


    National and Personal Sin.

    2 Kings 21:6, 16; 2 Chronicles 33:6, 9 – What did Manasseh do, and cause Judah to do?


    2 Chronicles 33:10-13, 15-19 – When Manasseh faced judgement for his actions, what was his response?  Did God forgive him as an individual?


    2 Kings 24:3, 4 – On the national level what would God not forgive even though Manasseh had repented?  Note what Josiah, Manasseh’s grandson, did in 2 Kings 23:10 and God’s response in 23:26 and Jeremiah 15:4.


    How does all this relate to our nation?   What idols do we sacrifice our children to?


    When do we become human?

    Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 139:13-16


    Luke 1:36-44


    What is our responsibility as believers?  What practical measures can we take?

    Psalm 82:1-4


    Proverbs 24:10-12

  •  Deb O's picture
    Deb O
    Posted: Fri, 03/08/2019 10:19 pm

    Wow. Thanks!

  • CM
    Posted: Sat, 03/09/2019 12:42 am

    It seems that there are many Rubicons and America seems to cross each one.  Same sex marriage seemed to be one, yet that crossing seems historical in our perspective.  There is some irony that on a day that all hate speech is condemned (of course, who defines hate speech?) there announcement of the Supreme Court considering tearing down the WWI war monument because some people hate the cross.  Is there a Rubicon to wide for America to cross?

  • RE
    Posted: Sat, 03/09/2019 05:54 am

    Thank you for your insightful article that puts the proper perspective on the defeat of the Born Alive Bill.  

  • Midwest preacher
    Posted: Sat, 03/09/2019 06:09 am

    Very interesting article and comments.  Progressives do progress don't they?  What will be next?  Thanks you!