This Year in Jerusalem
It is hard to adequately express my happiness. Overcoming foreign threats and dissent within the U.S. government, President Trump yesterday formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and began the process of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
I am proud of this courageous act by President Trump. Not only does it correct the absurdity of the U.S. not having a formal presence in the capital of its chief Middle East ally, it also removes the ambiguity about America’s position on Jerusalem that has long hampered our foreign relations.
This decision also corrects a historical injustice. When the U.S. recognized Israel only minutes after its independence in 1948, it didn’t include formal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, President Trump did what a dozen U.S. presidents refused to do.
It’s been more than 20 years since Congress passed a law that calls for the establishment of America’s embassy in Jerusalem. But every president since has signed a waiver twice a year that cites national security concerns for delaying the move. They did so even though all of them visited Jerusalem and conducted official business there.
Trump’s decision is being portrayed in much of the media as controversial because Palestinians see Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. But Jerusalem has never been the capital of any nation other than Israel! Arab leaders warned that the move could spark a new round of violence across the Middle East. Palestinian and other Islamic groups called for three days of “popular anger” to protest the decision.
But the Islamic supremacists are looking for any excuse to kill and destroy. They say the decision will put an end to the peace process. But the Palestinians have eliminated any chance at peace by walking away from every deal Israel has proposed including deals that divided Jerusalem.
Trump’s decision comes after eight years of betrayals of Israel by the Obama administration. You will remember that late in his presidency, Obama stabbed Israel in the back by allowing a United Nations measure to pass that declared Israel’s presence in Jerusalem illegitimate. Trump’s bold decision remedies this injustice and makes it crystal clear to the world that the U.S. now stands firmly with its ally Israel.
President Trump’s decision fulfills a campaign promise. It also sends a powerful message that America will stand by its allies and that, unlike with previous administrations, if the U.S. says it will do something, its word is its bond.
A Monument to Faith
It’s the Christmas season and there’s a new museum opening just at the right time in Washington, DC — the Museum of the Bible. If you are planning to come to our nation’s capital anytime soon, you have to find time to visit the new Museum of the Bible.
Of course, Washington’s movers and shakers don’t know quite how to handle the museum. Our liberal newspaper, The Washington Post, has run several articles taking shots at it.
While the DC crowd is hyperventilating, they might want to simply take a stroll around the city. They will discover the overwhelming evidence of the Bible’s influence on our government.
Take the U.S. Capitol Building. In one hallway a famous line from “America the Beautiful” is on the wall. It reads: “America, God shed His grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.”
In the Capitol Building’s chapel — yes, there IS a chapel in the U.S. Capitol — there is a stained glass window depicting George Washington in prayer.
And speaking of George Washington, the Washington Monument, which dominates the skyline of the city, has on its capstone a Latin phrase — Laus Deo — meaning “Praise be to God.”
The Jefferson Memorial, honoring our nation’s third president, features this quote on the northeast portico:
“God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
At the Lincoln Memorial several of our 16th president’s most notable speeches are displayed. One is Lincoln’s Second Inaugural address. It’s only 703 words long, but Lincoln mentions God a dozen times and quotes the Bible twice.
A few miles away at the Supreme Court, where religious liberty has been under attack, the Bible ironically is on prominent display. Images of Moses with the Ten Commandments adorn several parts of the building including the actual courtroom. When the justices enter the chambers, a marshal announces, “God save the United States and this honorable court.”
My point is this: The Museum of the Bible fits right into Washington, DC, alongside America’s historic record etched into the stones of Washington’s monuments.