Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category
It feels good to finally be home again. Posting has been essentially been nonexistent on LFR because I had a heart attack last Monday. As in Monday, August 1, 2016. The cardiologists say I got lucky because the heart attack was caused by a major blockage of the left descending artery. The cardiologists that I spoke with said that that particular type of blockage is often nick-named widow-maker because it often results in the person suffering the heart attack dying.
There but for the grace of God go I.
The good news is that my heart is better than ever thanks to the fact that the fix was relatively simple. First, they did an angioplasty to remove the blockage, then they placed a stent at the point of the attack. The entire procedure took less than 45 minutes. The angioplasty was done Monday morning. This afternoon, I’m home pecking at my keyboard.
There are some people to thank. First among them is the Lady Logician. She sent out an email to my blogging colleagues, then started praying for me. The Bible says that the “prayers of a righteous man availeth much.” I’m proof of that.
If the Lady Logician needs to be thanked, as she deserves it, my pastor, Art Cotant, deserves that thanks, too. Art visited me twice, praying with me both times, all while empathizing with my situation. In fact, my church family deserves many thanks, including my friend Andrea from the singles group when I first joined First B.
The list of people that deserve my thanks is lengthy. Suffice it to say that I appreciate everyone that prayed for me or called me while I was in the hospital.
We’re told constantly that #BlackLivesMatter wants justice for the young black men who’ve been shot by police officers. If only that were true. Unfortunately, it isn’t true. When Diamond Reynolds said “Today is not only about justice and getting justice, but it’s about all of the families that have lost people”, what she hinted at was that she wanted revenge as if killing police officers would even the score.
It won’t. And even if it ‘evened the score’, it wouldn’t bring healing at a time when healing is badly needed. Evening the score is counterproductive. Unfortunately, it’s exceptionally tempting, too.
Then Ms. Reynolds said “This thing that has happened in Dallas was not because of something that transpired in Minnesota. This is bigger than Philando. This is bigger than Trayvon Martin. This is bigger than Sandra Bland. This is bigger than all of us.”
That sounds like she’s keeping score. I’m not trying to paint Ms. Reynolds as a hater. I’m trying to highlight the difference between justice and revenge. What’s needed is for both sides to take a deep breath. If it’s appropriate, it’s time to forgive. Most importantly, it’s time to stop seeing people as part of a group.
Whether we’re talking about minority communities or police officers, we’re dealing with communities that feel under siege. It’s like we’re living our lives on a powder keg. That’s no way to live. The only thing that’s likely to happen is for someone to light a match.
This past week, we’ve seen protests led by pastors. Far too often, these pastors spoke words of bitterness, which is a very human reaction. What’s needed is for those pastors to set aside the instinct to be angry. It’s time for them to lead their congregation away from that anger.
This St. Cloud Times article talks about damage done to crucifixes hung on the walls of rooms at the St. Cloud Hospital and CentraCare Clinic. It starts by saying “CentraCare Health is addressing what it calls inaccurate information circulating in the community regarding damage to crucifixes at St. Cloud Hospital. A recent blog post claimed that ‘well over 100 crucifixes’ have been destroyed at the hospital in the last two years and blamed members of St. Cloud’s Somali community. In a written statement to the Times, Jeanine Nistler, spokeswoman for the hospital, said 50 crucifixes have been broken in the past year, some as the result of accidents and some due to vandalism.”
It’s interesting that the article starts off by calling attention to “what it calls inaccurate information circulating in the community”, then doesn’t totally refute the claim. I checked into the information in the story with a friend of mine that works at CentraCare, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity. I was told that Hospital security has known about this for years and that “this issue goes back a fair number of years. They have been trashing crucifixes at the hospital since they first arrived.”
Further, I was told that “it got to the point that maintenance decided to start screwing them to the wall to prevent vandalism” and that this happened “when Terry Nystrom was the maintenance director.” Later, a decision was made by management to stop nailing the crucifixes to the wall.” Apparently, they made the decision, knowing that they’d have to “spend money on replacing them.” The article continues:
“When possible, hospital staff have followed up with the individuals and have had fruitful conversations resulting in greater understanding between the hospital and members of the local Muslim community,” Nistler wrote. “Muslims are coming to understand the significance of the crucifix and Catholics’ respect for it. Likewise, in our conversations with them, we are learning about their faith and culture.”
Notice that Somali Muslims had to be told to be respectful of religious articles. As a Christian, I wouldn’t need to be told not to destroy Muslim religious symbols if I visited a Muslim nation. That’s part of being respectful of others who aren’t like you.
Apparently, Somali Muslims aren’t taught to respect those who aren’t like them.
This article highlights what’s wrong with the PC movement. It highlights what’s frightening about the tactics the PC Police use in silencing people. First, let’s highlight how this episode of political correctness started.
According to the article, “In Hood River, Oregon, the Belmont Drive Missionary Baptist Church is taking on Islamic ideology through their church’s message board, but local officials are not happy about it, according to a WND report.” That’s just the start of things.
Things started getting testy when Pastor Michael Harrington posted the following on the church’s roadside sign: “Wake up Christians. Allah is not our God. Muhammad not greater than Jesus.” The other side of the sign said “Only the Bible is God’s Word. ‘Holy Book’ Koran is just another book.”
I don’t doubt that the sign is offensive to Muslims and people who aren’t religious. That’s irrelevant. The First Amendment wasn’t adopted and ratified to protect speech everyone agrees with. There’s no need to protect that type of speech. The First Amendment was adopted to guarantee the right of people to say controversial things. The British don’t have anything resembling the First Amendment. There was a time when the King ruled what was permissible to be spoken and what wasn’t.
The Founding Fathers wanted this new nation to be founded on principles opposite of England’s principles. That’s why they codified the First Amendment’s protections into the Bill of Rights. What’s interesting is that the PC police are quick to defend Muslims but are quick to criticize the practice of Christian faiths. That’s part of the progressives’ do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do mantra.
Here’s hoping that Pastor Harrington’s congregation continues being provocative for the right reasons.
This weekend has been a banner weekend for progressive stupidity. I wrote this article to highlight E-Democracy’s anti-Christian bigotry. This morning, E-Democracy was upping the ante, saying in this tweet “Franklin Graham to bring program of hate to State Capital next Thursday. Later this morning, E-Democracy posted this tweet, saying “The Tampa LGBT Murders: http://bit.ly/1YkK75B” That’s a week’s worth of stupidity in a single morning. Unfortunately, that’s far from the comprehensive list.
Next, let’s look at this one-man Twitter conversation. Pick from Mandela Barnes saying “How many people have been driven to hate and act violently towards the lgbt community by “conservative Christian” ideology?” If that isn’t to your liking, perhaps you prefer Barnes saying “So many terroristic enablers in churches, in Congress, and state houses. Whether by discriminatory policy or the love affair with guns.”
Thankfully, Daniel Payne’s article rescues us from the left’s drivel. Take, for instance, the paragraph where Payne says “If you wish to see real homophobia—the genuine article, not the intellectually exhausted fashionable buzzword the Left trots out at every possible opportunity—look to yesterday’s mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, in which 50 individuals were murdered inside a gay nightclub.”
E-Democracy tried painting Franklin Graham as a hater. The lefty groupthink activists tried painting Christians as haters, too. That spin was obliterated when it came face-to-face with real haters and real homophobes. All it took was a lightning-quick dose of reality.
All weekend long, E-Democracy has been repeatedly tweeting a hate-filled, dishonest message, saying “Franklin Graham to bring program of hate to State Capital next Thursday.” Earlier this weekend, I wrote this article to expose E-Democracy’s habit of preaching inclusivity and practicing limited inclusivity.
The truth is that E-Democracy, the organization behind MN-Politics Forum on Twitter, hates Christians. The proof is in their communications. In one of their communications, E-Democracy said “Evidence strongly suggests that being a fundamentalist Christ and being a bigot is a very strong corollary but that doesn’t mean all fundamentalist Christians are bigots. I’m sure it’s just the vast majority.” Thank God for E-Democracy’s open-mindedness. (Am I allowed to say that or does that automatically make me a bigot?)
E-Democracy shouldn’t be taken seriously. Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse have helped more people from more countries, ethnic backgrounds and races than E-Democracy knows exist. Samaritan’s Purse’s history speaks for itself:
Samaritan’s Purse travels the world’s highways looking for victims along the way. We are quick to bandage the wounds we see, but like the Samaritan, we don’t stop there. In addition to meeting immediate, emergency needs, we help these victims recover and get back on their feet.
No matter where we go or what we do, we offer more than help. We offer hope. To suffering people in a broken world, we share the news of the only One who can bring true peace—Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
E-Democracy should be renamed. It’d more accurate to call them E-Demagogues. Their ‘accomplishments’ consist of trashing people who’ve actually helped people who’ve helped people in need. E-Demagogues preaches inclusivity. Where’s proof that they’ve practiced what they’ve preached?
This LTE highlights some Muslims’ hypocrisy. Hudda Ibrahim’s LTE is filled with double standards, with none being bigger than when she said “Dakdok is known for preaching against Muslims in America. He claims Muslims are taking over America, which is far from the truth. Although the speaker exercised the right of speech, he was blithely unaware that the Constitution allowed everyone in the United States to practice their faith.”
I doubt that Ibrahim thinks that Usama Dakdok was cheerfully ignorant that the Constitution protects the rights of everyone to practice their faith. Later in the LTE, she wrote “The presence of an Islamophobic speaker like Dakdok is not the problem. Granite City Baptist Church, which invited him to St. Cloud, should shoulder most of the blame.” If Granite City Baptist Church believes as I believe, they have a moral obligation to speak out against things they don’t believe in. Sitting silently while another religion essentially preaches the opposite set of beliefs isn’t the free exercise of religion. It’s a capitulation to an opposing set of beliefs.
Muslims certainly haven’t preached tolerance of Israel. Even moderate Muslim nations like Jordan doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist. There are certainly significant portions of Muslims who have preached death to Israel and death to the United States. That certainly isn’t a tolerant viewpoint.
Further, Ibrahim’s statement that Rev. Dakdok is Islamophobic is projection at best. The definition of Islamophobia is hatred or fear of Muslims or of their politics or culture. What proof does Ibrahim have of that? I can find proof that Rev. Dakdok passionately disagrees with Muslims. I can find proof that Rev. Dakdok wishes that Muslims would accept Christ as their Savior, though I’m certain he isn’t holding his breath waiting for that to happen. I can’t find proof that Rev. Dakdok is afraid of Muslims or that he hates Muslims.
Later in her LTE, Ibrahim writes “To dispel prejudice and prevent further division in the community, there’s an urgent need for a ‘dialogue of life.'” The definition of prejudice is “an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.” What proof does Ms. Ibrahim have that Rev. Dakdok or Pastor Campbell disagree with Islam blindly? Why can’t Ms. Ibrahim believe that they’ve formed their opinions based on what they’ve learned by studying the Bible? Why doesn’t Ms. Ibrahim think that they’ve formed their opinions about Islam based on what the Koran says? Finally, there’s this misguided paragraph:
I urge our communities, regardless of their faith, skin color and language, to learn to practice tolerance. Faith leaders should not allow controversial speakers coming to our city to drive a wedge between our communities. Our religious leaders should preach love and tolerance, but not hate.
When Granite City Baptist welcomed Rev. Dakdok to their church, their doors were filled with foul-mouthed graffiti, including the F-word. We still haven’t found the criminals who committed this crime but police are certain that it wasn’t a member of Granite City Baptist.
It’s interesting that Ms. Ibrahim likes Christians who don’t question her religion but criticizes Christians that question her religion’s principles. I’d call that hypocritical.
The Times owes the citizens of this community, especially Granite City Baptist Church, an apology for their vile, hate-filled editorial. Throughout their editorial, the Times used words that agitated. It started in the opening paragraph of their editorial when they said “And so it continues — this tour of anti-Islam, anti-immigrant, fear-mongering speakers who parachute in to St. Cloud, spread their messages of hate and misinformation and then (convenient only for them) leave.” It continued, saying that Usama Dakdok’s presentation has “become well-known for his evil schtick about how Islam is a “savage cult” and that Muslims will soon dominate this country.”
The Times instructed people to listen “to local faith leaders, not Dakdok.”
The Times covered the Friday night presentation relatively fairly in their news section. I wrote this article to highlight the vandalism visited upon Granite City Baptist Church prior to Friday night’s presentation. What’s missing is the Times’ editorial telling people to stand with Granite City Baptist Church in denouncing this vandalism.
Perhaps, that’s because the Times’ editorial included this:
Based on news reports, it’s a classic example of Dakdok’s strategy: Pick smaller cities and rural communities where Muslims are new and few (if any) in number and deliver his toxic message. Plus, of course, collect the obligatory free-will offering. Then pack up and leave — quick, before the waves of hate he’s fostered can crest across the community. (And before people can research for themselves his message.)
Faced with such a despicable dump-and-run tactic, this board urges faith leaders across St. Cloud and all of Central Minnesota to speak up again. Use their influential voices, their powerful sermons, their compassionate followers and even the Times Opinion section to refute Dakdok’s divisive message.
The Times spent a bunch of bandwidth talking about Dakdok’s hateful schtick. Now that the protesters have committed an act of vandalism, it’s possible that the Times might want to get this episode behind them. This isn’t a proud moment for the St. Cloud Times or for Mark Jaede. Jaede issued this press release through the SCSU Announce listserv:
The next day, the Times published its hate-filled editorial.
What a surprise.
A little over 2 weeks ago, I became interested in Angel Sessions’ music. Shortly after that, I contacted Angel to see if she would do an interview with me about her unique music style. One of the things that impressed me with Angel’s style of music is that she combines a Gospel message with an R & B sound. When I asked Angel how she discovered that style, she replied “My career started earlier on when I was about 6 years of age. I use to sing jingles with the commercials on TV. I loved singing ever since. I started writing my own songs at the age of 12. My passion for singing also started earlier on because of the deep love i have for my heavenly Father. I just wanted to sing for His glory.”
Later, she elaborated, saying “I define my music as Urban Gospel. I started out as an R & B artist with 3 R&B albums. My writing style as far as melody is concerned is still almost the same. I didn’t want to just say that my music today is Gospel only because when people hear that, they are going to probably think it’s traditional gospel music.” Here’s a sample of how Angel combines the two styles of music:
For those of you who think that Angel is talented, you aren’t alone. I just found out that Angel won the award for best female Gospel artist of the year Saturday night at the Northern California Entertainers Awards ceremony. Here’s Angel with her trophy:
Another thing that’s immediately obvious about Ms. Sessions is that she isn’t just a gifted singer. Her Gospel music is a major part of who she is. She explained that this way:
Q: I mentioned the R & B flavor to your Gospel music because, as a Christian, I’m impressed with the mix of those styles. How personal are your albums? I’m asking because Hearts of Broken Love sounds very personal.
A: My albums are very personal to me because it speaks about Christ. I always want to make sure that I’m faithful to God’s word when I study His word and when I write my songs, I want my songs to glorify God and speak to the heart of His people. Hearts of Broken Love is also personal to me, and I’m glad you asked me that question. Because I named my album that using the Scripture God wrote in Matthew 24:12 “And because inquiry shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” The world is very cold and full of darkness. But God’s light shines in the heart of His people because Christ Himself is the light. It’s important to me to share everything faithfully about God’s word, His love, His righteousness and His wrath.
I’ve always enjoyed listening to Gospel music because it’s inspirational. Thanks to Ms. Sessions’ unique style, I’m now addicted to Urban Gospel, too. Follow this link to find out more about Ms. Sessions’ music. The combination of her singing voice and the R & B style makes for some thoroughly enjoyable listening.
Finally, it’s difficult to believe that Ms. Sessions has been in the music industry for over 20 years. The reason it’s difficult to believe, at least for me, is because Ms. Sessions’ style is fresh and unique.
When I wrote this article, I included an email sent out to the SCSU community through their Announce listserv. The email was sent by SCSU History Professor Mark Jaede. The email that Prof. Jaede sent out raised awareness of the fact that “Granite City Baptist Church in St. Cloud is sponsoring a presentation by a speaker who tours the country denouncing Islam and warning that Muslims are conspiring to take over America” and that “#unitecloud, an organization that seeks to support immigrants and bring together people from the St. Cloud area of different religious perspectives, is holding a counterdemonstration Friday at 5 pm.”
Then Prof. Jaede added this:
“This announcement is posted consistent with the guidelines for SCSU-Announce which can be found here:
and say in part:
“Examples of acceptable use:
- Event announcements
- Items that have been lost or found
- Awards and recognitions
- Community opportunities related to the university
As always, any comments, responses, or denunciations should not go to Announce, but should go either to Discuss or to me personally.”Interestingly, Prof. Jaede highlighted “event announcements” and “community opportunities related to the university.” What I’d be interested in hearing is Prof. Jaede’s explanation how a religious event at a church is related to St. Cloud State University. (BTW, the University’s spelling sucks. It shouldn’t be spelled “related to the university” because it’s talking about St. Cloud State University, which makes it a proper noun, which requires a capital letter. But I digress.)
Further, I can’t wait to hear Prof. Jaede’s justification for using government resources to talk about a counterprotest put on by a progressive political organization named #unitecloud. If you visit their missions page, it says “Who is your neighbor?
LGBT, Muslims, Christians, Immigrants, Disabled, Homeless, Poor, Women, Whites, Blacks, and on and on. We all have biases. They influence how we treat each other. You don’t have to agree with your neighbor’s lifestyle to promote a culture of respect. You don’t have to agree on anything to be kind. Our commonality is based in our humanness. Take time to look them in the eye, learn their story, and see how much we all hold in common.”
If that doesn’t sound like a DFL front group, then DFL front groups don’t exist. And I know DFL front groups exist because I’ve exposed more than a few dozen DFL front groups.
I’d love hearing President Potter’s or Prof. Jaede’s justification for using government resources to announce a political protest at a church on the opposite side of town from the University. I’m betting that they’d fumble their way through a justification if I asked them that question without notice.