Evangelicals for Justice

Thursday, January 2, 2020

By David L. Phillips

Devotion and sacrifice are fundamental to faith. As Evangelicals gather in Miami on January 3 to launch “Evangelicals for Trump”, we reflect on these values and their current relevance.

The engagement of Syrian Kurds against the Islamic State exemplified devotion and sacrifice. At America’s behest, more than 11,000 Kurds died and 23,000 were wounded vanquishing the ISIS caliphate, the epicenter of evil in the world today. After the Kurds helped destroy the caliphate, President Donald J. Trump gave Turkey and its Islamist mercenaries a green light to invade and occupy the historic Kurdish and Christian homeland in Syria.

The betrayal of Kurds recalls Matthew 26:47-56

“While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people.  Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.’ And he came up to Jesus at once and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ And he kissed him.  Jesus said to him, ‘Friend, do what you came to do.’ Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.”

Trump’s embrace of the Kurds was the kiss of death. Trump also turned a blind eye on Turkey's killing of Christians in Syria -- Armenians, Syriacs, and Chaldeans.

Shame upon him who betrays the faithful.

While the First Amendment guarantees the right to debate Trump’s suitability for office, there can be no debate that his actions in Syria caused hundreds to die and thousands to suffer.

Mr. Phillips served as Senior Adviser and Foreign Affairs Expert at the Near Eastern Affairs Bureau of the State Department during the Bush administration. He is currently Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columba University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights. His recent book is The Great Betrayal: How America Abandoned the Kurds and Lost the Middle East.