Caged Nativity Is a Message to Evangelicals

Caged nativity display at Claremont United Methodist Church

From Karen Clark Ristine, senior minister at Claremont United Methodist Church in Claremont, Calif., on Facebook:

Stirred to tears by the Claremont UMC nativity. Inside the church, the Holy Family is reunited.

The theological statement posted with the nativity: In a time in our country when refugee families seek asylum at our borders and are unwillingly separated from one another, we consider the most well-known refugee family in the world. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the Holy Family. Shortly after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary were forced to flee with their young son from Nazareth to Egypt to escape King Herod, a tyrant. They feared persecution and death.

What if this family sought refuge in our country today?
Imagine Joseph and Mary separated at the border and Jesus no older than two taken from his mother and placed behind the fences of a Border Patrol detention center as more than 5,500 children have been the past three years.

Jesus grew up to teach us kindness and mercy and a radical welcome of all people. He said: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Matthew 25:35

In the Claremont United Methodist Church nativity scene this Christmas, the Holy Family takes the place of the thousands of nameless families separated at our borders.

Inside the church, you will see this same family reunited, the Holy Family together, in a nativity that joins the angels in singing “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and good will to all.” Luke 2:14

Trump’s Sordid History of Accepting, Requesting, and Encouraging Foreign Interference in US Elections

Susan Walsh/AP

Here’s a good one from David Corn at Mother Jones

One of the key lines in the House Democrats’ impeachment report distills the Trump-Ukraine scandal to a simple idea: “[T]he impeachment inquiry has found that President Trump, personally and acting through agents within and outside of the U.S. government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection.”

And in the report’s preface, the Democrats place Trump’s Ukrainian caper within the larger context of foreign intervention in US elections, namely Russia’s covert attack on the 2016 contest, which was mounted in part to help Trump win the White House: “we were struck by the fact that the President’s misconduct was not an isolated occurrence, nor was it the product of a naïve president. Instead, the efforts to involve Ukraine in our 2020 presidential election were undertaken by a President who himself was elected in 2016 with the benefit of an unprecedented and sweeping campaign of election interference undertaken by Russia in his favor, and which the President welcomed and utilized.”

The point was clear. Trump muscling Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to produce political dirt that could influence the 2020 election for Trump’s personal advantage was a continuation of Trump’s behavior in 2016. This contextualization brings back into the spotlight Vladimir Putin’s clandestine assault on American democracy—and how Trump encouraged and exploited that attack. So now, as Trump is under scrutiny for pressing Ukraine to influence the 2020 race, it’s a good time to review all the ways that Trump aided and abetted a foreign adversary’s scheme to subvert a US election the last time the nation was choosing a president.

Read the whole sordid history here.

What to Read: Angry White House Staffer on Twitter, Friday Afternoons

Every Friday late in the afternoon, East Coast time, an anonymous Twitterer with the handle @AngrierWHStaff but known simply as “Angry Staffer” answers questions from readers about goings-on behind the scenes at the Trump White House. Because the writer is anonymous, it’s impossible to verify what Angry says — and yet it all has the ring of plausibility.

One of Angry’s central thesis is that Trump will resign before the next election, either later this month or by March. We can only hope!

Check out Angry’s website HERE.

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Timeline: Hunter Biden, Burisma and the Trump Ukrainian Scandal

Hunter Biden

Key Points: Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of directors of Burisma, a Ukainian energy company, in April 2014. His five-year term ended in April this year.

Burisma was founded in 2002 by Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky. In 2010, Zlochevsky was appointed minister of ecology and finance under newly elected pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovich.

There appears to be an inherent conflict of interest in the appointment of an energy baron to head the Ecology and Finance Ministry, and Zlochevsky and Burisma have been investigated many times over the years for tax violations, money-laundering and self-dealing via the ministry.

In 2016, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko stated that there was never a hint that either Hunter Biden or Joe Biden did anything wrong in relation to Burisma. He repeated this in a May 16, 2019, interview with Bloomberg News. “Hunter Biden did not violate any Ukrainian laws — at least as of now, we do not see any wrongdoing,” Lutsenko said, “A company can pay however much it wants to its board.”

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Putin Said to Be Source of Trump’s Bogus Ukrainian Conspiracy Theory

Putin, left, with Hungarian Strongman Viktor Orban

Every conspiracy theory has a source. More often than not, however, the source is impossible to track down. Not so with Trump’s pet theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election.

The source of that thoroughly disproved assertion was Trump’s handler, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Putin first mentioned it in public during a news conference with right-wing Hungarian leader Viktor Orban, in 2017:

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Trump, Barr Had ‘Animated Talk’ about Horowitz Report on Russia Investigation Origins

Donald Trump and his sycophantic attorney general Bill Barr had an “animated talk” in the Oval Office Thursday night, according to a pool report from the White House Press Corps. Two sources told CNN that the topic of the heated exchange was Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s imminent report on the origins of the FBI’s investigation into Russian support for Trump’s 2016 campaign.

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