REFLECTION: What the Spiritual Language in the Syria Speech Tells Us About Trump
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President Trump's speech justifying the missile launch on Syria relied on spiritual language which reflected deeper meanings as he sought God's wisdom.
His approach will have strong appeal for his evangelical supporters, and it might go even deeper, showing the world a different side to the president.
The Underlying Theme Is Justice
Justice demands punishment for a perpetrator who commits wrongs against innocent civilian populations.
"Numerous previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all...failed very dramatically," the president said. "Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria."
Here he drew a bright red line between the need to take action to stop an agressor's criminal behavior and stand up for those who cannot protect themselves and passively hoping the situation will change.
He Appealed to Moral Law
While President Trump cited Assad's violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention, he appealed to a higher moral code than international agreements or the United Nations.
"No child of God should ever suffer such horror," he said.
With that statement, President Trump highlighted a higher law.
He said that all men and women are created by God and for that reason they are deserving of protection and safety from evil. People don't derive their right to freedom and security from any manmade organization, but from the Creator and if a government or individual transgresses those rights, then they should be held accountable.
His Words Reflected Humility
President Trump asked for God's wisdom in facing the challenges ahead. It's true that President Trump's actions and words don't often reflect humility, but the Bible is clear that a humble man seeks God's wisdom.
says: "Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life."
Also, in his closing, he asked God to bless not just America, but the entire world. He broadened the perspective beyond narrow self-interest and showed concern for the other nations and populations who are at risk if the Syrian war continues unchecked. That's a sign of a leader.
He Showed Compassion for the Suffering
President Trump pointed to the innocent victims suffering at the hands of a brutal dictator.
"Assad choked out the lives helpless men, women and children. It was a brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered at this very barbaric attack."
Evoking these images brings the depths of the depravity of chemical weapons home and demonstrates empathy, another quality of great leaders.
Did he use these phrases simply to make his case and to appeal to his evangelical base? It's certainly possible. He is a politician, after all.
But hearing this speech brings to remembrance the reasons both Mike Pence and Ben Carson cited when they first cast their support for Trump. They said that when they sat down with him face to face, behind the spotlight, they found a man very different from the brash exterior. One of humility and grace.
This speech might have just given us all a glimpse of that man.
Mar-a-Lago, Florida - Thursday, April 6 - 9:40 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans: On Tuesday, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians. Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women, and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.
Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security Council.
Years of previous attempts at changing Assad's behavior have all failed, and failed very dramatically. As a result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies.
Tonight, I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types. We ask for God's wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world. We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed. And we hope that as long as America stands for justice, then peace and harmony will, in the end, prevail.
Goodnight. And God bless America and the entire world. Thank you.
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