Trump, Syria and Blind Obedience

Ron Cantor —  December 22, 2018 — Leave a comment
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More than a few people have asked me what Israelis think about President Trump leaving Syria. I stated in a Facebook post that Israelis were shocked; they did not expect it. After watching the Friday night Israeli news, there was not one Israeli pundit or politician that thought it was wise for America to leave the region. 

However it was the response I got from American Christians that was chilling. I was told, “to trust the plan” that “God put Trump in power” and I should basically shut my mouth because he is “God’s anointed.” I am stunned at the blind devotion to President Trump as if he is infallible. 

Now to be clear, I voted for the president and have supported him. I have also been willing to say when I disagree. That is called democracy. The way some have responded is if there is some secret plan and all we have to do is support Trump—not matter what

So let me make a few statements.

1. Democracy 

America is a democracy where every citizen has an opinion and the right to share it. Politicians, including the president, work for the taxpayers. We should never be shamed for sharing our opinion. In Saudi Arabia or Iran you can get jailed or killed for sharing your opinion.

2. God’s Anointed Analogy is Flawed

The concept of not touching God’s anointed comes from 1 Samuel 24 when David finds the evil, treacherous King Saul and is encouraged by his men to kill him. David refuses to take matters into his own hands because he had a conflict of interest. Killing Saul would make him king in Saul’s place. 

“The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” (1 Sam 24:6)

If one is saying that Trump is God’s anointed, they are saying, “He, like Saul, is evil and we should not criticize him even though he is evil, because he is in power, and God puts all people in power.” In other words, the analogy is not valid because they are not saying Trump is evil, on the contrary, they are saying that even when he does something we don’t understand—Trump has the right plan. But Saul and his house were judged severely. The idea in 2 Samuel is don’t touch God’s anointed because God is going to remove him and judge him. 

3. Praising Trump for Obama’s policy?

When President Obama pulled our troops out of Iraq, those on the right criticized the move. They were concerned  that the lack of U.S. presence would lead to more radical groups. Indeed Trump correctly said that Obama created ISIS by leaving the region. Brian Kilmeade, the Foxnews host who I have never heard criticize President Trump, had very harsh words for him. 

“[Trump is] giving Russia a big win. Vladimir Putin praised him. He also is doing exactly what he criticized President Obama for doing. He said President Obama is the founder of ISIS. He just re-founded ISIS because they have 30,000 men there and they are already striking back with our would-be evacuation.”

This move signals weakness to America’s enemies. It will encourage Islamic terrorists. They will hail this as a win against the weak-stomached Americans. How do I know this? Because that is exactly what happened when Obama left the region. And declaring victory over ISIS only brings back memories of Obama calling them the JV team. Islamic terror is not going anywhere, anytime soon. Sadly, they have not been defeated and have a knack for reinventing themselves. 

4. Trump and Putin

The Russians who are allied with Iran, are seeking a deeper foothold in the Middle East. This is a Christmas gift to Putin who has praised the US move. Something is wrong when Americans support a move that our entire military leadership and most of our political leadership is against and former KGB henchmen and present Russian Dictator Vlad Putin supports.

5. Blindly Following is Dangerous

Blind obedience to any politician or claiming there is some secret plan, is risky. Is there anything that the president could do that would make these folks think twice? Remember that it was candidate Trump who bragged about the control he had over his followers saying, “I could stand in the middle of 5thAvenue and shoot someone and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” 

Let me clear, I am a supporter of the President. He has done some wonderful things. Recognizing Jerusalem was very brave, canceling the Iran Nuke Deal was bold, the tax bill has stimulated the economy and he has been the best friend to evangelicals in decades. But the way democracy works is that when you feel that the president, no matter who he is, is straying from that which is in the best interest of America, you lift your voice; you hold him accountable. It doesn’t mean that you are being disloyal, as some have suggested, it means you care about the country. You hope he will feel the pressure, reevaluate and change course. And when some of his most loyal supporters are criticizing him over something, it is time to have an educated opinion; not a time to blindly follow. 

We correctly criticized folks on the left for turning Obama into a Messiah. Let’s not do the same with President Trump. Let’s pray for him, bless him, but not blindly follow him. 

Footnote: I do find it incredibly hypocritical that those on the left who supported President Obama irresponsible policies in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq and in regards to ISIS are now critical of President Trump for leaving Syria. They need to first own up to their own failure with Obama.

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