The Bible is too often invoked in today’s political battles, just as it was employed during the Civil War, which erupted 150 years ago.

While previous anniversaries of this conflict rekindled old Yankee-Rebel debates about who had better soldiers and greater generals, times have changed and this anniversary is likely to be different. It offers a chance to re-examine crucial events and beliefs from new angles. As a minister, I am fascinated to reflect on how the Bible was used — and misused — to fuel the Civil War.

It makes me wonder whether we are making many of the same mistakes today, with issues such as gay marriage, the environmental movement or even the death penalty. Are we allowing a literal reading of the Bible — which understands homosexual activity to be an abomination, encourages humans to subdue the earth and says man should not kill — to push religious discussions in one’s favored direction?

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