I got a strange message from Pastor Mark Burns the other day.
It was a picture of a dead spider, sprawled out on something that had the Presidential Seal on it. Below that was a text: “I SAVED THE PRESIDENT’S LIFE TODAY!!! Lol”
Burns, a televangelist from Easley, is a member of President Trump’s Faith Initiative leadership group and was at the White House to discuss the president’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – a move Burns wholeheartedly supports.
In text messages to me, Burns went on to describe how, while in the Oval Office for a photo with Trump, he saw a spider crawling up the president’s back, toward his head.
“I SMACKED the President hard on the back,” Burns exclaimed via text.
That must have given the Secret Service in the room a jolt. But when he explained to the president that he just instinctively smashed the arachnid without thinking, everybody laughed, and the photo shoot went on.
“I just told POTUS I have his back,” Burns texted. “I just proved it again literally!!!!”
You can hear him telling me the whole story in the video at the bottom of this column.
After the incident, Burns sent a picture of the dead bug to a spider expert and found out it was a yellow sac spider – one of a handful of poisonous spiders that live in the Washington, D.C., area.
Burns joked that he’s still waiting for his medal for saving the president’s life.
The pastor sent me a photo and description of that species of spider that says its bite can cause symptoms similar to that from a brown recluse. Not good.
There is apparently some controversy as to how dangerous these critters are, however. I found the following on the Virginia Cooperative Extension website:
“Yellow sac spiders do not deserve the reputation they have gained as having dangerously toxic venom: a medical review of verified bites by Cheiracanthium spp. indicated that venom from these spiders do not typically result in large necrotic lesions despite initial reports by other researchers.”
Anyway, it’s a pretty good story.
After finding out it was a venomous spider that had been crawling up the president’s spine, Burns said he and other pastors began to pray. “We saw that as a sign of spiritual attack against our president,” he said.
I think it may also have been a sign that the White House is overdue for a visit from the Orkin man.
In case you don’t remember Burns from the political season last year, he delivered a speech at the Republican National Convention and made numerous appearances at Trump’s campaign stops.
How a small-town preacher with no political reputation came to be a surrogate for Trump can be traced to his internet-based TV network, theNOWnetwork.org. He’s on cable now, too.
Through it, Burns became acquainted with evangelist Paula White, a Trump ally, who invited Burns to participate in a meeting at Trump Tower in September 2015. Trump was exploring the possibility of running for president at the time and wanted input from evangelicals, Burns said.
Trump apparently was impressed with him. He appointed him to his Faith Advisory Board.
Burns said he has been to the White House seven times since the inauguration. He’s also been to Mar-a-Lago several times.
I met with Burns at his TV studio/church in a small office building in downtown Easley after his return from his latest trip to Washington on Wednesday. We talked about more than just the spider incident. He told me that acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was “a prophetic move.”
“It took a lot of courage to do that,” he said.
I’m not sure it advances the cause of peace in the Middle East, but I’m not stepping into that mine field.
I don’t necessarily agree with a lot of Burns’ political positions, but I like the guy. If you met him, you probably would too.
He was at Mar-a-Lago earlier this month, he said, speaking to a group called Frontier Alliance International. It’s a Christian organization led by American doctors who work with Israeli Jews to help save Muslim lives in war-torn Syria and Iraq.
Burns said he plans to visit Syria soon in support of the program.
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SOURCE: Independent Mail – Ron Barnett