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Royalty in a manger:

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.

The Lord of lords and the King of kings was born in a manger. He wasn’t born in a palace befitting His stature. He chose to live among us. That’s why He’s called Emmanuel, aka God with us. (Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.) He stepped out of Heaven and lived amongst those who had betrayed His teachings. (We’re known as sinners and everyone’s a member of that ‘fellowship’.)

Among the many commands He gave us is to pray for our leaders. That’s why I was left speechless after seeing this picture:

Merry Christmas, everyone, and may God bless you with the very best of new years.

When I wrote this post, I hadn’t heard of Hannah Scherlacher. When I finish writing this post, Sen. Franken will wish he’d never heard of Hannah. In my post, I wrote about Sen. Franken’s reliance on ratings from the Southern Poverty Law Center, aka the SPLC, during Amy Coney-Barrett’s confirmation hearing. To hear Sen. Franken tell it, SPLC is a neutral arbiter of who is qualified to be a federal judge. The truth is that SPLC is a bunch of bottom-feeding low-lifes who have stockpiled tons of cash in accounts in the Caribbean.

Sen. Franken, what part of that sounds legitimate? But I digress.

Hannah’s op-ed questions SPLC’s integrity from a personal standpoint. In her op-ed, Hannah wrote “It’s an understatement to say that I was dumbfounded as to how I ended up on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) LGBTQ hate-list — I have never said or done anything to indicate hate for the LGBTQ community. When I called to inquire, SPLC informed me that I am guilty because I did a radio interview with Family Research Council Radio (FRC). I am a program coordinator for The Leadership Institute’s Campus Reform. org. The segment was about socialism, but because FRC holds traditional family values, I was labeled an LGBT-hater just for being a guest on the show. No LGBT topics even came-up.”

Sen. Franken, have you no shame?

What US senator would rely on sloppily-gathered information from a bunch of bottom-feeders like the SPLC? Ms. Scherlacher’s sin was to do an interview with the Family Research Council, an organization whose mission statement states that their “mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a Christian worldview” and whose vision “is a culture in which all human life is valued, families flourish, and religious liberty thrives.”

The FRC’s vision and mission earned it a spot on SPLC’s hate map. That’s significant because that map has helped cause physical pain:

Reckless and irresponsible hate-labeling not only stifles free speech and expression, it empowers and emboldens vicious groups and individuals to violently attack people. Consider the 2012 Family Research Council shooting, when a man walked into the organization’s office in Washington, D.C., with 100 rounds of ammunition and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches. He planned to kill as many staff members as possible and smear the sandwiches in their faces. He said he chose his target based on SPLC’s Hate Map.

This is more than ironic:

Nowhere is the danger more real than on our college campuses where Antifa, By Any Means Necessary, and other domestic terror groups (which are not found on any SPLC hate list) now feel emboldened to attack conservative students and shut down events under the guise of, ironically, fighting fascism, hate and white supremacism.

Some of the organizations found on the SPLC’s Hate Map are legitimate hate groups. It’s indisputable that the KKK, Holocaust deniers and the Skinheads deserve to be on that map. Being a traditional values Christian shouldn’t land a person on SPLC’s hate map, though.

I’ll close this post with Hannah’s closing argument:

Groups like the SPLC threaten our constitutional rights and the very fabric that makes this nation great. We need to start pushing back. If this trend of bullying and ostracizing anyone with a different opinion continues, we can only expect a chilling, mob-rule effect and the suppression of speech and ideas in this country.

I am calling on SPLC to remove me from this list and stop engaging in the game of identity fear politics. I urge all Americans who have been bullied, silenced, and pushed into a corner by radical groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center to push back too.

Amen, Hannah.

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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.

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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.

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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:” 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.

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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.

Last week, I wrote this post about this St. Cloud Times editorial.

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.

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