Airstrikes and Splits In The Church

Grind for January 8th
“Lots of people go mad in January. Not as many as in May, of course. Nor June. But January is your third most common month for madness.”
– Karen Joy Fowler


The Headline

Top Iranian general killed in Trump-ordered airstrike

The Grind

Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was killed Friday during an airstrike ordered by President Trump.

As leader of the IRGC’s elite Quds Force, Soleimani was held personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans and coalition members – including the death of an American contractor last week.

Soleimani was said to be planning future attacks on American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.

“President Trump made… a serious decision which was necessary,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, describing Soleimani as the ‘primary motivator for an imminent attack.’ Pompeo says he hopes Iran will “take actions consistent with what normal nations do,” but warned the “entire United States government is prepared to respond appropriately.”

The Details

According to witnesses, the airstrike hit Soleimani shortly after he left the Baghdad International Airport in a convoy.

Also killed in the attack was Iraqi paramilitary commander Abu Mahi al-Mohandes, leader of a group of militias loyal to Iran. Mohandes had been accused of organizing the attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week.

Iran and Iraq have both vowed revenge for the airstrike, with Iraq’s Prime Minister calling a parliamentary session to decide whether to kick US troops out of the country.

“After this crime, we will deal with the American forces as an occupying force,” promised Iraqi lawmaker Naeem al-Aboudi, describing Friday’s airstrike as an ‘act of war.’

“For the blood of the martyr Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, the entire American military presence will be eliminated,” promised Qais al-Khazali, leader of the Iraqi militia Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia. “For the blood of the martyr Soleimani, Israel will be wiped out.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry also condemned the attack, describing it as “fraught with consequences for regional peace and stability.”

The Pentagon will be sending 3,500 US troops to Kuwait in anticipation of revenge attacks, bringing the total number of American soldiers in the area to 80,000. The US has also urged all American citizens in Iraq to depart the country immediately.

Agree To Disagree

The Headline

United Methodist Church to split in half over gay rights

The Grind

Just before Christmas, leaders of the United Methodist Church signed a tentative deal that could put an end to years of friction regarding the role of gay and trans people in the church.

The agreement, which allows gay marriage and allows gay clergy members to serve openly, was signed unanimously by leaders from four continents.

The Details

According to the deal, churches that oppose gay marriage will receive $25 million to begin a new, more conservative denomination.

These churches will be allowed to keep all property and facilities; clergy members will not be forced to forfeit their United Methodist Church pensions.

In order to take effect, the deal needs to be approved at the United Methodist Church’s general conference in May.

Ken Carter, president of the church’s council of bishops, says he expects the deal to pass. “There are simply some convictions and matters of conscience that do not allow people to be in unity with each other,” said Carter.

Did you know… The pupil of the eye expands as much as 45 percent when a person looks at something pleasing.