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Archive for December, 2018

Trump Visits Troops

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

 

WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Trump makes surprise trip to Iraq to visit with troops

by Steven Nelson& Melissa Quinn

| December 26, 2018 02:20 PM

President Trump made an unannounced visit to troops stationed in Iraq on Wednesday, landing after hours of speculation in Washington on his whereabouts.

Trump addressed U.S. soldiers and posed for selfies at Al Asad Air Base near Baghdad a day after Christmas. First lady Melania Trump joined him on the trip.

The visit was a closely guarded secret until after Air Force One landed, but the mysterious departure of a plane from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland triggered theories that Trump was traveling abroad.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed the trip on Twitter.

“President Trump and the First Lady traveled to Iraq late on Christmas night to visit with our troops and Senior Military leadership to thank them for their service, their success, and their sacrifice and to wish them a Merry Christmas,” Sanders wrote.

Speaking in Iraq, Trump said he does not have plans to remove U.S. troops from the war-torn country. Instead, he said Iraq could be used as a base to help combat the Islamic State, according to Bloomberg.

“If we see something happening with ISIS that we don’t like, we can hit them so fast and so hard they really won’t know what the hell happened,” Trump said. “We’ve knocked them silly.”

Last week, Trump ordered the withdrawal of about 2,000 U.S. troops from neighboring Syria, where noncovert operations began with airstrikes in 2014, and a drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops have been based since 2001. He described the actions as making good on a campaign pledge to avoid open-ended military engagements.

Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. service members from Syria has earned him criticism from both sides of the aisle, but the president defended the move during his overseas visit. “It’s time for us to start using our head,” he told reporters, “We don’t want to be taken advantage of anymore by countries that use us.”

The president’s trip to the Middle East comes after Trump had received criticism for being the first president since 2002 not to visit service members during the holiday season. Trump visited military personnel at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., days before Christmas last year and invited members of the Coast Guard to play golf with him during a holiday trip to Mar-a-Lago, his sprawling Florida property, in the days after Christmas.

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, met with service members at Marine Corps Base Hawaii from 2009 to 2016 while celebrating the holidays in Hawaii.

Trump hinted in recent weeks that a trip to visit U.S. troops in a combat zone would be in his future. While speaking with troops in Afghanistan during Thanksgiving, Trump told Brig. Gen. David Lyons of the U.S. Air Force, “Maybe I’ll even see you over there . . . You never know what’s going to happen.”

Trump then suggested in an interview with Fox News last month that a visit to troops deployed overseas was in the works. “I think you will see that happen,” he said during the interview. “There are things that are being planned. We don’t want to talk about it because of security reasons and everything else.”

 

Jesus and the Migrant Crisis

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

 

WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Jesus doesn’t fit your political narrative

by Nicole Russell

| December 23, 2018 08:00 AM

 

Since the migrant crisis in Europe began in 2015, it has become a common occurrence to see religious figures and publications combine incorrect theology with the political narrative of the day. For example, Pope Francis recently tweeted this:

Others have said similar things in recent months:

Whether evangelical or Catholic, many denominations try to encourage Americans to be friendlier toward migrants or refugees by insinuating that they should be like Jesus — and after all, Jesus himself was a refugee. This is entirely false and not only that, but this bizarre focus on Jesus as a “refugee” misses the entire point of the Gospel.

First, the concept that Jesus might have been a refugee comes from the fact that He was born in a stable after His parents, Joseph and Mary, could not find any room in the inn, following a lengthy journey from Nazareth, via donkey, to Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph were not going to Bethlehem because they had no home, nor did Joseph lack relatives in Bethlehem. The reason he went, and that there was no place to stay, is because the Caesar was a greedy, demanding ruler who demanded everyone return to their hometowns to participate in the census: “All went to be registered, each to his own town” (Luke 2:3).

I’m not saying the journey was pleasant and not without peril, and indeed, following Jesus’ birth, Mary and Joseph feared for Jesus’ life because King Herod wanted to kill him. This wasn’t as much a political agenda as a personal one: Herod didn’t want another king to take his spot. The family fled to Egypt until Herod died. But even this did not make Jesus a refugee in the sense that he was seeking respite from political persecution, although I can sometimes see where people might interpret it that way. The Bible says in Matthew 2:15: “[Jesus] remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.'”

Mary, Joseph, and Jesus did not travel to Bethlehem or ultimately flee to Egypt fearing persecution or seeking asylum status. They originally went to Bethlehem because Rome demanded it and they fled because they wanted to evade Herod’s thumb — this also fulfilled prophecy.

The larger and more important picture is that Jesus was not some kind of victim, wandering in utero with his parents all over the Middle East just searching for a place to be born. Christians believe God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, sovereignly in control of all world events: from the donkey Mary rode to Bethlehem on to the fact that there was no room in the inn.

This is not a political statement but a spiritual truth to the Jews and the Gentiles of the world: A savior has been born. He has come from humble beginnings, but He will save His people from their sins. Without the simple humility of the idea that even the savior had no place to rest His head, His incredible sacrifice later on the cross would be difficult to accept. Still, because He was God in the flesh and was willing to become fully human — without which atonement for sins could not have occurred because a perfect deity cannot atone for sins — the gift of salvation is that much more a picture of grace.

This does not mean Jesus does not care about refugees or Middle Easterners more than he cares about Americans or atheists. It just means that the story of salvation is far bigger and more incredible than any political narrative, on the Left or on the Right.

Nicole Russell (@russell_nm) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. She is a journalist who previously worked in Republican politics in Minnesota.

 

 


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