Pastor apologizes after leading praying for Trump: ‘My aim was in no way to endorse the president, his policies’

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On Sunday, Donald Trump made an impromptu stop at a megachurch in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.

On Sunday, Donald Trump made an impromptu stop at a megachurch in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. Trump had just finished golfing, and his staff said he wanted to stop by the church to pray for the families and victims in the Friday mass shooting in Virginia Beach. The White House released the following short statement, saying, “President Donald J. Trump is visiting McLean Bible Church in Vienna, VA, to visit with the Pastor and pray for the victims and community of Virginia Beach.”

Instead, Trump walked onstage, and Pastor David Platt prayed for Trump. No word whatsoever from Trump, nothing about the shooting victims or their families. No consoling words. Nothing. After the prayer for him, Trump turned and walked away, his golf cleats clacking across the stage, leaving the church just as quickly as he arrived. He might as well have been playing through a hole on the golf course.

Turns out, he wasn’t invited, and Platt sent a letter of apology to the congregation after Trump’s presence upset some of its members. Indeed, in the video of Platt’s prayer for Trump, some members of the church band are clearly refusing to clap. During the introduction and after the prayer, the applause was very muted, except for small number of loud MAGA supporters who yelled out in approval. In the letter, Platt notes that he’d just finished his afternoon sermon when he was notified backstage that Trump would be there within minutes. Platt says he prayed about what to do and then decided he would introduce him to the congregation and ask for people to pray for Trump.

Trump’s visit now makes a lot more sense. And a tip of the hat to the members of that church who recognize that virtually all of Trump’s actions are antithetical to the teachings of Jesus in their Bible.

Dear MBC Family,

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that we didn’t see coming, and we’re faced with a decision in a moment when we don’t have the liberty of deliberation, so we do our best to glorify God. Today, I found myself in one of those situations.

At the end of my sermon at the 1:00 worship gathering, I stepped to the side for what I thought would be a couple of moments in quiet reflection as we prepared to take the Lord’s Supper. But I was immediately called backstage and told that the President of the United States was on his way to the church, would be there in a matter of minutes, and would like for us to pray for him. I immediately thought about my longing to guard the integrity of the gospel in our church. As I said in the sermon today, Christ alone unites us. I love that we have over 100 nations represented in our church family, including all kinds of people with varied personal histories and political opinions from varied socioeconomic situations. It’s clear in our church that the only reason we’re together is because we have the same King we adore, worship, fear, and follow with supreme love and absolute loyalty, and His name is Jesus.

That’s why, as soon as I heard this request backstage, the passage from God’s Word that came to my mind was 1 Timothy 2:1-6:

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”

Based on this text, I know that it is good, and pleasing in the sight of God, to pray for the president. So in that moment, I decided to take this unique opportunity for us as a church to pray over him together. My aim was in no way to endorse the president, his policies, or his party, but to obey God’s command to pray for our president and other leaders to govern in the way this passage portrays.

I went back out to lead the Lord’s Supper and then walked off stage, where the president was soon to arrive. In that brief moment, I prayed specifically for an opportunity to speak the gospel to him, and for faithfulness to pray the gospel over him.

While I won’t go into the details of our conversation backstage, one of our other pastors and I spoke the gospel in a way that I pray was clear, forthright, and compassionate. Then I walked back out on stage, read 1 Timothy 2:1-6, and sought to pray the Word of God over the president, other leaders, and our country. (If you would like to see the full context of my comments and prayer, I have included the video below.) After I prayed, the president walked off stage without comment, and we closed our gathering by celebrating heroes among us, a couple who has spent the last 48 years spreading the gospel in remote places where it had never gone before they came. We then recited the Great Commission as we always do, sending one another out into the city for the glory of our King.

I wanted to share all of this with you in part because I know that some within our church, for a variety of valid reasons, are hurt that I made this decision. This weighs heavy on my heart. I love every member of this church, and I only want to lead us with God’s Word in a way that transcends political party and position, heals the hurts of racial division and injustice, and honors every man and woman made in the image of God. So while I am thankful that we had an opportunity to obey 1 Timothy 2 in a unique way today, I don’t want to purposely ever do anything that undermines the unity we have in Christ.

n the end, would you pray with me for gospel seed that was sown today to bear fruit in the president’s heart? Would you also pray with me that God will help us to guard the gospel in every way as we spread the gospel everywhere? And finally, I’m guessing that all of us will face other decisions this week where we don’t have time to deliberate on what to do. I’m praying now for grace and wisdom for all of us to do exactly what we talked about in the Word today: aim for God’s glory, align with God’s purpose, and yield to God’s sovereignty.

 

I love you, church.

 

Your Pastor,

David

You can watch video of the prayer below:

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PICTURED: Man, 33, who died in hospital after setting himself on fire outside the White House while wearing a USA t-shirt

  • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
  • Arnav Gupta is the man who was filmed setting himself on fire on Wednesday 
  • The 33-year-old had been reported missing by his family earlier that day 
  • He died in the hospital after suffering burns to 85 percent of his body
  • Disturbing video footage showed him calmly walking across Ellipse park then setting himself on fire
  • US Secret Service Agents put out the blaze and took him to the hospital  

The man who set himself on fire on a lawn near the White House on Wednesday has died in the hospital after suffering burns to 85 percent of his body.

Arnav Gupta, 33, was identified by US Park Police on Thursday after dying in the hospital.

He had been reported missing by his family around the time that he was seen setting himself on fire on a lawn at Ellipse Park near the White House.

Gupta was from Bethesda, Maryland. His motive for the deadly stunt remains unclear.

He was reported missing by his family after leaving his home at 9.20am. Three hours later, he was filmed setting himself on fire.

Scroll down for video 

Arnav Gupta, 33, was identified by US Park Police on Thursday after dying in the hospital

14114022-7083457-A_man_set_himself_on_fire_Wednesday_near_the_White_House_with_di-m-18_1559167157613 (1)A man set himself on fire Wednesday near the White House with disturbing footage showing him engulfed in flames, the Secret Service said. Shockingly, the unidentified individual managed to stand upright before security ran towards him to extinguish the flames

The Secret Service was not immediately available for more information on Thursday morning.

Video of the incident showed him walking calmly across the Ellipse near the Washington Mall, an area popular with tourists, with flames covering his body.

Several seconds later, U.S. Secret Service staff could be seen towards him with a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze.

It occurred less than a mile from the White House.

He managed to stand upright before officials got to him, amid reports that he was wearing a protective suit which would have given him some protection from the flames.

Gupta suffered burns on 85 percent of his body and there was a suspicious package on fire near him which was also extinguished, according to TMZ.

He was later transported to a nearby hospital with ‘life threatening’ injuries.

More than 70 officers flocked to the scene from multiple agencies. Several tourists and visitors were in the vicinity, but there were no other injuries reported.

National Park Service police and the U.S. Secret Service officers also assisted at the scene to try and establish what happened in Washington D.C.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said he could not immediately comment.

According to his official schedule, Donald Trump was in the Oval Office at the time for a ceremonial swearing-in of the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

A spokesman for the National Park Service, which maintains the White House grounds, told DailyMail.com: ‘At 12:22 p.m., officers from the United States Park Police and United States Secret Service responded to a report of an adult male who reportedly lit himself on fire on the Ellipse near 15th and Constitution Avenue.

14112870-7083457-He_later_drops_to_the_ground_as_he_doused_with_a_fire_extinguish-m-19_1559167353092

He later drops to the ground as he doused with a fire extinguisher to put out the fire 

14112868-7083457-The_man_s_motive_is_not_known_but_it_is_understood_he_was_transp-m-20_1559167394999

His motive  is not known but it is understood he was transported to a nearby hospital

14113202-7083457-National_Park_Service_police_were_seen_rendering_medical_aid_to_-m-21_1559167407629 (1)National Park Service police were seen rendering medical aid to him a short time later

 

‘USSS personnel extinguished the fire within seconds. The individual was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

‘The incident is under investigation. No additional information is available at this time.’

A spokesman for the Washington Fire Department said: ‘I can confirm that we’ve transported one patient with burns from the Ellipse and we’re now on the scene assisting law enforcement.’

The Ellipse is a 52-acre park located south of the White House fence and north of Constitution Avenue and the National Mall.

There have been several security incidents in recent years in the vicinity of the White House, due in part to its location in the middle of D.C., with a number of streets approaching it.

On April 12, a man in a wheelchair-type electric scooter lit his jacket on fire outside the White House fence.

That man was hospitalized with what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries.

Crews are due to begin work on installing a larger fence around the White House as part of security improvements beginning this summer.

The existing fence will be replaced with a structure that will be about 13 feet tall, an increase of about five feet.

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Top Dem Faces Ethics Questions After Watchdog Group Finds His Wife May Have Benefitted From His Committee Role

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Cummings chairs a committee meeting on White House security clearances on Capitrol Hill in Washington

Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is facing ethics concerns after a conservative watchdog group found that his wife may have benefitted from his House leadership position, according to a report from the Washington Examiner.

Cummings chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform which is the main investigative committee of the lower legislative body. While serving as chair, Cummings has overseen the investigations into and regulations for many large corporations.

The chairman’s wife, Maya Rockeymoore, operates a non-profit called Center for Global Policy Solutions and a for-profit consulting agency called Global Policy Solutions, LLC.

While Cummings served as chair of the Oversight Committee, Rockeymoore’s Global Policy Solutions received financial backing from Google, J.P Morgan, and Prudential — all of which had business before the committee while Cummings was serving as chair or ranking member.

Johnson & Johnson charity, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was the non-profit’s largest financial backer. Rockeymoore raked in more than $10 million into her two operations from the charity. Her non-profit received a total of $5.2 million while her for-profit consulting firm brought in $5.5 million.

The pharmaceutical giant stopped contributing to Rockeymoore’s operations in 2017. Since then, Cummings has been a vocal critic of Johnson & Johnson as part of the committee’s investigation into pharmaceutical prices in the U.S.

When the right-leaning National Legal and Policy Center requested the financial records of Rockeymoore’s non-profit — which the organization is required by law to turn over — the non-profit refused. This prompted the IRS complaint from the center requesting information about the overlapping aspects of Rockeymoore’s non-profit and for-profit operations.

This overlap could be illegal because Rockeymoore’s consulting group received a $1 million federal contract to oversee “Leadership for Healthy Communities” — a 2017 project from the General Services Administration — for which Rockeymoore’s non-profit “served as the national program office.” This could qualify as “self-dealing,” which is illegal under IRS laws.

National Legal and Policy Center’s Government Integrity Project director Tom Anderson claimed the lack of transparency is a “serious problem.” Anderson told the Washington Examiner:

“When a powerful chairman of a committee of the House of Representatives has a wife that is bringing in money from entities with interests before his Committee and she is not providing the transparency mandated by the IRS, there’s a serious problem. The potential for corruption in this situation is simply off the charts and can’t be understated. We hope Chairman Cummings works with his wife to end the stonewalling and provide the public with what’s legally mandated all charities provide.”

This IRS controversy for Cummings and Rockeymoore comes as the congressman continues to demand that President Donald Trump release his personal taxes for his committee to comb through.

 

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Repeated leaks and revelations are chipping away at Trump’s attempts to keep his tax records secret from the American public

5cd2b468021b4c04c2399936-1920-960Donald Trump, then a real estate tycoon and media personality, poses in the Trump Tower atrium in 1989.

 

Trump in 2016 became the first presidential nominee of a major party in decades to refuse to release his tax returns.

But a series of leaks and investigations mean that, piecemeal, he is losing the battle to conceal his tax records from the American public.

The latest came last last night, when the New York Times published details of the president’s 1985 to 1994 tax records.

The documents expose large losses by Trumps’ network of casinos and hotel businesses, totalling $1.17 billion over the course of the nine years — more than any other US citizen in the same period, according to the Times.

And they contribute to a growing — but still incomplete — picture of Trump’s tax stratagems and business dealings before his election.

Before his victory— back in October 2016 – the Times acquired documents that undermined Trump’s campaign trail boasts about his business acumen, showing that Trump claimed $916 million losses in his 1995 personal filing.

The documents suggested that he may have paid no federal income tax for two decades.

5cd2b495021b4c047c7d6df7-1920-1440Trump welcomes Slovakia’s Prime Minister at the White House in May 2019.

 

Trump bounced back from the revelations, in a debate with his presidential rival Hillary Clinton claiming that paying no taxes made him “smart.” He went on to win the election.

In May 2017 more details from Trump’s private tax documents were made public by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who acquired two pages from Trump’s 2005 tax returns that had been leaked to investigative reporter David Cay Johnston.

The documents showed that Trump had in fact not avoided paying taxes for two decades, and paid $38 million on $153 million earnings that year, though at a comparatively low 25% tax rate.

Maddow defended herself afterwards from accusations the story was something of a letdown.

There were more more damaging revelations from the Times last year, which reported that Trump used a series of dubious tax schemes to shield his $400 million inheritance from his father from the IRS.

The information in the public eye so far exposes a pattern of failure and enormous financial losses during a nine-year period when Trump was building his brand as a superlative dealmaker — puncturing a narrative of success that was central to his presidential bid in 2016.

The president, though, has continued to refuse to release the full documents.

Commentators have speculated that the information could show Trump’s boasts of his wealth to be an exaggeration, lay bare how little tax he paid after his 1995 losses — or even expose financial ties with Russia.

When Democrats seized control of the House after November’s mid-terms, they pledged to get the full records.

The House Ways and Means Committee in March issued a formal demand to the Treasury for six years of the president’s tax records.

On Monday Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin refused to meet a second deadline for handing over the records, claiming the Democrat-led panel was acting for purely political reasons. The situation could now escalate to a Supreme Court showdown.

A victory there for Trump would vindicate his strategy of concealing the documents, and offer a big win after a series of small links chipped away at his preference for secrecy. But regardless of the outcome, we may see more Trump records reach the light of day.

State lawmakers have also begun to place the president under pressure, with Democrats in 20 states introducing bills that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the state ballots in 2020.

The president continued to insist he could not release the returns because they remained under Internal Revenue Service audit — but promised to do so at an unspecified point in the future.

The IRS has said those under audit are free to release their tax returns at any time, but the battle is likely to continue and Trump’s reluctance to release the information in full to be a source of speculation.

 

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Democrat’s 2020 Vision

None So Blind As Those Who Will Not See

The Democrats refuse to see reality. They’re clinging to the Russia collusion lie and now they’re attacking Attorney General Barr for telling us what is obvious: There was no collusion or obstruction.
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The left often likes to see what they want to see. After all, that’s what cultural and moral relativism is all about. To them, there is no right or wrong, just what they think is right or wrong.

They think abortion at birth is right, and a ‘right.’ They think MAGA hat wearers are ‘Nazis.’ They think Christians are evil bigots. They think a man can be a woman just because he wants to be. They think it’s ‘hate speech’ if you say that man pretending to be a woman is really a man. (The left gets to decide what hate speech is). They think diversity is strength and can’t get enough of it—therefore, open borders are a great thing because they welcome anyone in the world come to America and get free stuff from US taxpayers.

In the Democrat Socialists’ upside down world, the ‘truth’ is what they want it to be. They hate Trump and will see any lie as truth in order to impeach him. At this point it amounts to sedition. They are doing their best to keep a lawfully elected president from doing his job.

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White House considered sending immigrant detainees to sanctuary cities

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at a healthcare roundtable at the White House in Washington

President Donald Trump and White House officials proposed in recent months releasing immigrant detainees into the streets of so-called “sanctuary cities,” places where local governments have decided to limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities working to locate and deport undocumented immigrants, according to officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the White House.

The plan, which was first reported by The Washington Post, would have targeted cities — many of them led or represented by Democratic lawmakers– which have policies that limit their cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The term sanctuary city has been used in reference to a number of policies in different jurisdictions and does not have one legal definition. There are dozens of so-called sanctuary cities across the United States, including places like San Francisco, New York City, and Denver, where Democratic leaders have been outspoken in opposing the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

When asked about the plan Thursday night, a White House official and a spokesperson from the Department of Homeland Security emailed the PBS NewsHour nearly identical statements. The White House statement said, “This was just a suggestion that was floated and rejected, which ended any further discussion.”

In recent years, the number of immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement has hit record highs, with nearly 50,000 immigrants detained this year. It is not clear how many people the White House proposed releasing into sanctuary cities, but news of the proposal comes as Trump doubles down on his hardline immigration policies through personnel changes and new policy proposals.

In the past, the Trump administration tried to withhold federal funds from jurisdictions considered sanctuary cities but the effort has largely been blocked by court decisions.

Trump has also repeatedly blasted the idea of sanctuary cities. “I don’t think we like sanctuary cities up here,” Trump said during a rally in Nevada last year. “By the way, a lot of people in California don’t want them, either. They’re rioting now. They want to get out of their sanctuary cities.”

Ashley Etienne, the communications director for Pelosi, pointedly criticized the plan Thursday. “The extent of this Administration’s cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated,” she said in a statement. “Using human beings — including little children — as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable, and in some cases, criminal.”

News of the president’s plan to release detainees comes amid major changes in the administration’s immigration leadership positions. On Sunday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was forced to resign from her post. Acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Claire Grady also offered the president her resignation this week.

Kevin McAleenan, the current U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, will become acting Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, a move Trump announced on Twitter. On Thursday, Ronald Vitiello, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also announced he would be replaced in the acting role Friday by acting Deputy Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Matt Albence.

White House officials have told the NewsHour that the personnel changes come as the president reviews how to best pursue the immigration policies he prefers.

Meanwhile, Nielsen’s departure also added to the slate of Trump Cabinet officials operating with “acting” as part of their titles. They include acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, and acting Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Cohen.

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