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November 22, 2016

Leadership Makes A Difference

Good day to all you morons and moronettes. God willing, Hillary Clinton will never be president.

I spent an hour or two this morning cleaning our my e-mail inbox. You know those stories you sometimes see in the newspaper about some old guy who dies and then they find out he was a compulsive hoarder and they spend days hauling out all the crap he'd been accumulating for decades? Yeah, well, my Outlook InBox is kind of like that guy's house.

Anyway, I found this e-mail from 2004. I don't remember how it came to be in my possession, but I'm on a number of Christian e-mail lists, so it probably came from one of them. The 'Sent' date places it before the November elections:

I recently attended the National Pastors Convention in San Diego with several thousand pastors from many different denominations. During one of the general sessions, the MC introduced a pastor from Uzbekistan. He had traveled the farthest to attend the convention, so they wanted to interview him. I don't remember his name, and even if I did, I know I couldn't pronounce it. However, I do know this: I will never forget this man.

Right away, I liked him. He was humble, sincere, and gracious. He apologized for his broken English, though I thought he spoke very well. As the MC interviewed him, he began to share about his ministry in his country that borders Afghanistan. He talked about the church he pastors of a few hundred people. He also shared how it is illegal in his country to be a Christian. You see, his church is an "underground" church. Amazingly, his city also has 3 "underground" Christian schools. He talked about how the Christians have been arrested and even killed in his country.

Then, as the interview was about to end, he began to speak very urgently and passionately. He said something to this effect: "I would like all of you to know that my church and the Christians in my country are praying that President Bush will be reelected."

I was stunned. I knew that this gathering had to include many pastors from all over the political spectrum and I was certain this would not go over well. Immediately, there were murmurings and rumblings throughout the audience and the MC seemed a little uncertain about what to do next.

However, this pastor would not be denied. Grasping the microphone firmly in his hand, he continued, "The officials in my country are afraid of President Bush, so they don't persecute Christians as much. Under Clinton it was very bad for us. Many of us were arrested, put in jail, and some were killed. With Clinton, it was very bad. But under President Bush, it has been so much better, so we are praying for him."

The murmuring ended. It was suddenly very quiet. The MC paused. Then he just asked us to stand and pray for this man and we did so with great passion.

Choking back tears, I was immediately struck with this realization in my heart: this coming election was not just about me or my church or my country. This coming election would affect the entire world. And while there are many Christians and churches in this country that may not support and may even despise our current President, there is a group of Christians halfway around the world who are desperately praying for his reelection.

All of the sudden, the election became something very different for me.

It is not just about the economy, gay marriage, or weapons of mass destruction. It's about the persecuted church around the world. As believers, what issues should be more important to us? This transcends politics. This is about the Kingdom of God for which Christ suffered and died, and for those believers in other countries who are suffering and dying as well.

I was also convicted in my heart about praying for our President. And I wonder, which church is praying more fervently for him: the persecuted church in Uzbekistan or the prosperous church in America? It makes you think.

As the Apostle Paul said in Hebrews 13:3, "Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering."

Remember, this election is not just about us. It's about them.

Emphasis mine.

This is one of those things that I wanted to be true. However, like many similar things that get passed around on the internet, it very well could be a fake story written by some guy doing a lot of wishful thinking. I was fortunate that the author's e-mail address was listed at the end of the e-mail, so I wrote to him asking for confirmation. I thought that would the last I'd hear of it. Ho hum, another day, another fake internet story.


But he actually wrote back. Apparently, many others had written him asking for confirmation just as I had. He told me:

[I]t is my true personal experience. I attended the National Pastors Convention in San Diego on March 10-13th of this year where this all took place. They don't have a tape or video of that particular session, but they have now posted a transcript on their website at {redacted} with the pastor's name.

As you can see from the transcript, though I may not have quoted him word for word from memory, I think I certainly captured the essence of what he said. What my original email provides that the transcript doesn't is the climate of the meeting and my heartfelt reaction to what he said. I was so moved by this experience and I still feel the same way.

In addition, I have received many email messages from Christians in other countries who wholeheartedly agree with this pastor's words. Our perspective here in America is sometimes so limited. I have also received email from people who actually know this pastor, and they attest to his testimony and character.

I redacted the website link he provided because it now goes nowhere. But I tracked it down on archive.org and found it here. Here is the relevant quote from the transcript:

Andrey: …because in our, we also pray for—for your president, uh George, George Bush so could stay for one more term because, because we feel, we feel that uh, US government push our government and uh sometimes we think if—if he, if you don’t we all would be in prison, prisons, and would be killed, you know. Really, we can feel it. Because the afraid to, to kill us freely. I mean to, to catch us and put in prisons, I mean openly. So they afraid to do that now. During Clinton time it was very hard time, very difficult…

This is very interesting. President Bush didn't get up on the world change and bluster and threaten dire consequences if other countries continued to persecute their Christian minorities. The leaders of those countries observed how he was conducting American foreign policy and made their plans accordingly.*

Libya's Mohammar Khadafi was one of these guys who felt the heat. Prior to 9/11, there was much talk of him making plans to acquire nuclear technology and maybe even build nuclear weapons. But then after the Iraq invasion, he surrendered what nuclear technology he had and abandoned plans to acquire more. Bush had almost literally put the fear of God into him. From that point on, Khadafi was pretty much neutered, and no longer a threat.

And everything was stabilized as well as could be expected until Obama and SoS Clinton screwed everything up. Their incompetent bungling in Libya turned it into a dumpster fire and made the middle East a more dangerous place, all in the name of "human rights." But that's another story.

The point is, in ways that sometimes aren't obvious, it does make a difference who's in the White House. I can well imagine that after Bush left office and Obama started to implement his own foreign policy, the Uzbekistan goverment gradually increased its harassment and persecution of Christians. They knew there would be no consequences. They knew Obama would do nothing to stop them. Heck, if they played their victim cards just right, Obama might even take their side. And the Uzbeki Christians are left twisting in the wind.

(It's kind of like high school, when one of the teachers was sick, we were all, like, alright, we're getting a sub, now we can goof off all period, and what's he going to do about it? Which, actually, is a pretty good metaphor for the Obama presidency. That is, for the past 8 years, he's been the country's substitute teacher.)

So I've read a few MSM stories since the election of how this or that foreign leader has a low opinion of Donald Trump, excuse me, ahem, President Elect Donald Trump, and the story is always presented as if that's a bad thing. But you know, I'm thinking, hey, that's a feature, not a bug. It's just confirmation that Donald Trump is making all the right enemies, both domestic *and* foreign.

This is what it's like to have a new sheriff in town. I hope President Trump will have the same effect on Christian persecution that President Bush evidently had. Obviously the persecution won't disappear completely, but any lessening of it is a welcome thing. And you know that if the election had gone the other way, the bad actors on the world stage would have been rejoicing. Business as usual! Who hoo!

So Rick Wilson, Egg McMuffin, Bill Kristol, and the rest of the #NeverTrumpers who worked hard to sabotage Trump and thus elect Hillary Clinton can all go pee up a rope. And that goes double for the other erstwhile "conservatives" like pundit David Frum, who actually wrote that President Clinton would be better for America and better for the world than President Trump. The Christians of Uzbekistan would probably disagree.


----------------------------------
*I am not suggesting that we should have military intervention to stop or prevent persecution of Christians as a doctrine of American foreign policy. However, having said that, perhaps there are things we can do with our trade agreements and favored nation status that would be helpful.


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posted by OregonMuse at 06:00 PM

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