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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.

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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:

http://huskynet.stcloudstate.edu/policies/announce_discuss.asp

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.

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It isn’t surprising that Sarah Palin predicted that Speaker Ryan would get “Cantored” in Wisconsin’s August primary. I wrote this article to state my opinion that Mrs. Palin has started believing her press clippings a bit too much.

Palin’s track record isn’t exactly filled with success. That’s mostly because she doesn’t do her research and her off-the-cuff statements are positively loony. This past Sunday, Mrs. Palin said that she’d do whatever she could to help Paul Nehlen, the sacrificial lamb that’s about to get trounced. After this tweet, though, I think Ryan can focus his time on important things rather than waste a split second on this annoying little gnat. Check out what Nehlen tweeted:

Nehlen all but officially ended his campaign with that tweet. That he thinks people will feel scandalized that a Catholic sent his kids to a Catholic school tell voters that he’s either stupid or that he’s incredibly desperate. I’m betting it’s the latter.

The truth is that Nehlen should consider it a moral victory if he doesn’t lose by 60 points. Contrary to Mrs. Palin’s prediction, this isn’t a close race. It never was going to be. The Washington Free Beacon’s article highlights what Nehlen was tweeting about:

Breitbart News reached out to the school as a perspective [sic] applicant and obtained a copy of the school’s 2015-2016 registration papers and tuition contract. The document inquires specifically into the applicant’s religious background; in particular, it asks whether the applicant is a parishioner at the associated Catholic parish. The school recruits through the parish by offering a tuition discount to those who have been baptized and are members of the parish.

Then there’s this astonishing admission:

As the registration forms explain, the school exists for the express purpose of helping to foster Catholic children.

Trumpbart has really outdone themselves with this one. If Andrew were alive today, he wouldn’t let his websites be used like this. Period. Finally, there’s this:

While Muslim students could presumably get into Ryan’s school, the school’s reliance on the parish as a recruiting center and the above-cost tuition fees would, by definition, function as a mechanism for screening them out.

There’s no cheap shot that Trumpbart won’t use against their enemies.

Bethlehem, the birthplace of the Christ, prophesied by the prophet Micah:

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.

O Little Town of Bethlehem:

The Christmas story — Micah’s prophesy fulfilled Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2, verses 4-16:

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

Away in a Manger:

Joseph takes Mary, Jesus, to Egypt — Matthew 2:13-14

13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” 14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

O Come All Ye Faithful:

Daniel Greenfield’s article provides a worthwhile teaching moment on what’s constitutional and what isn’t. Greenfield’s article starts with him saying “Trump is a monster, a madman and a vile racist. He’s just like Hitler. Or Jimmy Carter. During the Iranian hostage crisis, Carter issued a number of orders to put pressure on Iran. Among these, Iranians were banned from entering the United States unless they oppose the Shiite Islamist regime or had a medical emergency.”

Later in the article, Greenfield wrote “Now unlike Muslims, Iranians were not necessarily supportive of Islamic terrorism. Many were and are opponents of it. Khomeini didn’t represent Iran as a country, but his Islamist allies. So Trump’s proposal is far more legitimate than Carter’s action.” That’s a non sequitur defense of Trump’s bombastic statement. It’s illegal to exclude people based on their religious beliefs.

Kimberly Guilfoyle explained, saying that “[we] are signatories to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there are international laws and treaties that we are bound by. You can not ban people based on their religious beliefs.”

Treaties that the president signs and that Congress approves in its advise and consent responsibilities are then treated as equal in legal strength as a US statute passed by Congress and signed by the president. Further, treaties that’ve been signed by the president, then ratified by Congress, can’t be repealed by executive order. Just like repealing statutes, Congress has to pass a bill calling for repeal of the law.

The repeal isn’t complete until the president signs the bill calling for withdrawing from the treaty.

Greenfield finishes by saying “Maybe the professional conservatives running around shrieking their heads off can calm down now long enough to have a rational conversation on the subject.” I’d prefer Mr. Greenfield taking a closer look at the laws that apply to banning people based on their religious beliefs. The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights says signatories can’t deny people rights based on their religious beliefs. It doesn’t say that the US can’t ban people from specific nations, presumably because of the United States’ right to defend itself.

Chris Murphy is a Democratic senator from Connecticut and, as near as I can tell, a staunch advocate for censorship and a hater of religion. He can afford to be. He’s from Connecticut, which isn’t known for its deep religious roots.

Peggy Noonan is a former speechwriter for the greatest president of my lifetime, Ronald Reagan. She’s a gifted wordsmith and a lady of stature and dignity. Even when I disagree with her, which is occasionally, I still have immense respect for her. That’s because, at heart, she’s constantly cheering to see America at its best. She isn’t an ideologue. Instead, she’s a patriot. That’s why I couldn’t resist reading Ms. Noonan’s column about the fragile state of the First Amendment.

She noted that Sen. Murphy injected invective into the conversation about San Bernardino while it was happening, saying “Your ‘thoughts’ should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your ‘prayers’ should be for forgiveness if you do nothing—again.” Then Ms. Noonan made the observation that there’s “a real censorship movement backed by an ideology that is hostile to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

Twenty years ago, that statement would’ve been laughed at. Today, thoughtful people furrow their brow and worry that Ms. Noonan is right. Then Ms. Noonan offered this insight into winning debates:

If you really are for some new gun-control measure, if you are serious about it, you just might wait a while, until the blood has cooled, for instance, and then try to win people over to see it your way. You might offer information, argument, points of persuasion. Successful politics involves pulling people together. You don’t use a tragedy to shame and silence those who don’t see it your way; that only hardens sides.

I won’t assume that Sen. Murphy is interested in winning a debate. (Ms. Noonan didn’t either.) It’s quite possible that Sen. Murphy only wants to speak up and be heard.

Now that the blood has started cooling, it’d be easy to criticize Sen. Murphy. I won’t do that, though. I’ll just add some information and, hopefully, a little insight into this nightmare. First, the information flooding in is that this wasn’t a criminal action as much as it was a terrorist attack. Though President Obama and the FBI have tap-danced around that possibility, the truth is that that proverbial train left the station when the FBI found literally thousands of rounds of ammunition, a bomb-making factory in the Farooks’ apartment and an assortment of pipe bombs and IED in the Farooks’ SUV.

The insight I have for Sen. Murphy is to start talking about how President Obama, the FBI and our other intelligence agencies can connect the terrorist network dots faster. They clearly were caught flat-footed on San Bernardino. Couple that with their unwillingness to call it what it obviously is and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

This post is meant as a bit of a thank you to Ms. Noonan for writing something insightful on the subject of winning debate. Here’s hoping for more sanity to break out shortly.

Pope Francis’ political agenda is finally meeting with substantial resistance. Cardinal Raymond Burke issued a warning to Pope Francis, saying “The pope does not have the power to change teaching [or] doctrine.”

Since becoming pope, Francis has embarked on a liberal political agenda that isn’t well thought out. I wrote about a pair of his disasters in this post. Pope Francis’ closest advisor “castigated conservative climate change skeptics in the United States Tuesday, blaming capitalism for their views.” The other heresy propagated by Pope Francis was the Vatican “officially [recognizing] the state of Palestine in a new treaty finalized Wednesday.”

Based on what we’ve seen thus far, Pope Francis isn’t a man of faith. Instead, he’s apparently a man with deeply held political beliefs.

A staunch conservative and Vatican bureaucrat, Burke had been demoted by the pope a few months earlier, but it did not take the fight out of him. Francis had been backing a more inclusive era, giving space to progressive voices on divorced Catholics as well as gays and lesbians. In front of the camera, Burke said he would “resist” liberal changes — and seemed to caution Francis about the limits of his authority. “One must be very attentive regarding the power of the pope,” Burke told the French news crew.

It’s understandable that a pope would want to sound inclusive. It’s also wrong when it contradicts the teachings of the Bible. It’s one thing to offer forgiveness to repentant sinners. That’s the true nature of forgiveness. It’s another to provide political cover for unrepentant sinners. That’s known as appeasement. HINT: There’s nothing virtuous about appeasement.

Based on this article, Hillary’s attempt to capitalize politically on the Charleston Massacre is failing. Check this out:

Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered on Saturday her boldest remarks yet on race and gun violence, topics that have quickly become some of the most prominent and divisive in the presidential campaign, particularly after Wednesday’s mass shooting in Charleston, S.C.

“It’s tempting to dismiss a tragedy like this as an isolated incident, to believe that in today’s America bigotry is largely behind us, that institutionalized racism no longer exists,” Mrs. Clinton said in a speech in San Francisco. “But despite our best efforts and our highest hopes, America’s long struggle with race is far from finished.”

Invoking President Obama at times, Mrs. Clinton called for a “common sense” approach to gun laws, pledging to take swift action if elected. She did not, however, make clear how she would navigate the divide in Congress that has undercut Mr. Obama’s own efforts to pass gun laws. “The president is right. The politics on this issue have been poisoned,” Mrs. Clinton said. “But we can’t give up. The stakes are too high. The costs are too dear. And I am not and will not be afraid to keep fighting for common sense reforms.”

Mrs. Clinton, it’s easy talking about “common sense reforms” without explaining the details. Who isn’t for common sense reforms of whatever the subject is? The thing about “common sense reforms” without including the reforms’ details is that it sounds like a cheap politician repeating a focus group-tested message. That isn’t a solution. One thing that’s apparent is that Mrs. Clinton isn’t interested in leading.

Will Mrs. Clinton propose a ban on assault weapons like her husband passed? Or will she propose closing the non-existent gun show loophole? Will she propose things like they passed in Colorado and New York? Will Mrs. Clinton propose something entirely different? Proposing gun control legislation will fire up Hillary’s supporters. It won’t solve problems.

The important question that Ed Henry or other journalists with integrity should ask Sec. Clinton is how gun control would’ve made a difference at that church in Charleston last week. If she can’t answer that, then the next question should be why Hillary’s pushing gun control when it wouldn’t have solved anything.

It’s time reporters put Hillary on the spot. Let Hillary know that we’ll reject her if she isn’t offering solutions. Send Hillary the message that we won’t tolerate her chatting about checking off items from her ideological wish list.

This video is one of the most intense, emotional and unforgettable videos I’ve ever seen. I won’t be surprised if I never forget it:

Representatives for the 9 victims of the Charleston church shooting were given the option of making a statement to the confessed gunman. While some representatives chose not to make a statement, the representatives who spoke through their pain and forgave the shooter despite their intense pain. Here’s a sampling of their statements:

“You have killed some of the most beautifulest people that I know,” Felecia Sanders, mother of victim Tywanza Sanders, told Dylann Roof, speaking from the courtroom. “Every fiber in my body hurts … May God have mercy on you.”

The daughter of Ethel Lance, another of the nine victims in the Wednesday night attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, had a similar message for the 21-year-old alleged killer, who police believe attended a Bible study meeting at the church, where he was embraced by strangers only to open fire on them for no apparent reason. “You hurt a lot of people,” she said, “But I forgive you.”

“Repent. Confess. Give your life to the one who matters the most, Christ, so He can change your ways no matter what happens to you and you’ll be OK,” said Anthony Thompson, who represented the family of victim Myra Thompson.

Thursday, the nation heard too often from politicians pandering to their political supporters during a time of grief. It’s understatement to say that they disgraced themselves. Hillary Clinton and President Obama were particularly offensive in that respect.

Friday, America heard from the victims’ families. Through their grief, they still managed to live out the things Pastor Clementa Pinckney taught them at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. With their statements, they taught our ‘leaders’ how to lead. Citizens showed us how to unite our nation. Hillary and President Obama failed miserably at uniting the nation.

To be fair, not all political leaders failed in striking a uniting tone. Ben Carson shined in his attempt to be a uniter:

CARSON: The heart of the matter is not guns. The heart of the matter is the heart, the heart and soul of people. This young man didn’t wake up yesterday and suddenly turn into a maniac. Clearly there have been things in his background, in his upbringing that led to the type of mentality that would allow him to do something like this. And one of the things that I think we really need to start concentrating on in this country is once again instilling the right kinds of values, particularly in our young people. We’re so busy giving away all of our values and principles for the sake of political correctness that we have people floating around out there with no solid foundation of beliefs.

Guns aren’t the problem. They’re inanimate objects, capable of inflicting incredible pain or stopping senseless violence. Guns are just the tool of choice used by evil people to destroy human life.

Thankfully, the people representing the victims of this senseless violence understand that. I’d rejoice if our ‘leaders’ figured that out instead of their grandstanding.

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Kirsten Powers’ latest column is, being charitable, misguided:

Pope Francis will release a teaching letter, known as an encyclical, on Thursday that’s thought to be the first in the church’s history to focus on the environment. A leaked version of the document endorses the notion that human activity contributes to climate change and that this menace disproportionately harms the poor.

Many U.S. conservatives are not pleased, believing that that the Vatican is blindly bending to elite opinion and stepping out of its lane. Leave the climate change issue to the politicians, they argue. Some conservative Catholics have expressed concern to me that Pope Francis is pulling a “reverse Galileo” by endorsing science that could turn out to be wrong, thus harming the credibility of the Catholic Church.

Perhaps there should be more concern in the alternative. If the science is correct, then how would the church’s silence in obeisance to conservative climate skepticism enhance its credibility? After all, the American Association for the Advancement of Science announced in 2014 that the scientific consensus that “climate change is happening, and human activity is the cause” is as airtight as the “science linking smoking to lung and cardiovascular diseases.”

Climate change isn’t science. It’s conjecture built on models that don’t use accurate temperature data. The process itself is flawed, too. They don’t use the double blind procedure. That’s the gold standard in scientific testing because it ensures that the person who does the data analysis doesn’t do the data collection or inputting the data.

As for this consensus, it’s overrated when the scientists are corrupt. This is the Hockey Stick graph used in the IPCC’s report:

Here’s the modified hockey stick graph used in a later release of the IPCC report after scientists objected to the first Hockey Stick graph:

Those graphs don’t look like each other. At all. So much for consensus and the airtight nature of the science.

The Catholic Church’s credibility won’t crumble because of Pope Francis’ encyclical. Pope Francis’ credibility, though, is already struggling. Thus far, he seems more like a far left activist than a pontiff.

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