On his "Pray In Jesus Name" program recently, Colorado Republican state Rep. Gordon Kilngenschmitt offered up a scientific test that can prove the existence of God once and for all.
Responding to a recent interview in which atheist Richard Dawkins said that he would change his mind about the existence of God as soon as someone shows him some evidence, Klingenschmitt eagerly took up the challenge.
"You want evidence of God?," he asked. "I can give you evidence of God. In fact, I'll show you God; all you've got to do is repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and invite him to come into your heart. Now this is a scientific method. I'm giving you step A: you repent; step B: you believe; step C: you invite Jesus Christ to come into your heart as Lord and Savior. Follow that scientific method and I guarantee you will see Jesus Christ."
Those who refuse to follow this "scientific method," Klingenschmitt explained, will never discover the proof of God's existence because they have have not "followed the method that works."
"You want evidence? I'll give you evidence," he said, "but you've got to do what Christ commands."
Last month, Republican Rep. Randy Forbes preached at his home church in Chesapeake, Virginia, where he warned that there is a massive and terrifying conspiracy at work to completely eliminate religion from public life.
Forbes was preaching as part of an effort known as Pray USA, which is an initiative of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation that seeks to encourage government officials to lead congregations in prayer and then urge churchgoers to add their names to its "Prayer for America Proclamation."
During his sermon, Forbes told the congregation that the government has grown increasingly hostile to religion in America in an effort to systematically expunge it from the "marketplace of ideas" and that this development has not come about by accident or naturally; rather, it has all been orchestrated by a vast, well-funded conspiracy.
"Let me just tell you one of the myths that's out there," he said. "It's easy for us to somehow just think that all of this just evolved because people on the internet, they're reading more and they're getting more intellectual and somehow or the other, it's like they've discovered the world isn't flat anymore and therefore we don't believe in God and we don't believe in faith."
"If I had the time, which I don't have," he continued, "I could put up on this screen or on this screen or on both of them the proof that would show you this isn't some natural evolution, this is artificially driven. I can show you organization after organization after organization to a network that would frighten you because it would be vast that you couldn't get it on that screen, of organizations that are funded and paid with a systematic approach to killing and destroying faith in America today."
"Most people don't even realize it," Forbes said, "and let me tell you, the dollars going into that organization is nine times the dollars going into the organizations trying to defend and protect faith in America."
David Barton, one of the Religious Right's most relentless promoters of dishonest and misleading information, appeared on Glenn Beck's television program last night, where the two discussed the importance of teaching people not "what to think," but rather "how to think." Teaching people "how to think," Barton said, would pay huge dividends for America by giving conservatives confidence to speak up on the issues of the day.
"Self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals in nearly every state," Barton said, claiming that conservatives are reluctant to speak up on current events because they are afraid that they do not have enough knowledge or information, whereas liberals simply don't care that they are clueless and are just willing to lie.
"Why is it that conservatives are convinced that they are in the minority?" Barton asked. "In reality, we're not, but we think we are ... According to statistics, when you look at the groups of liberals, and moderates and conservatives, conservatives are by far the most silent of those three groups. They're least likely to speak up, and why is that? It's because conservatives don't want to speak until they feel like they've mastered the facts about whatever the subject is that is under discussion. Now, liberals or moderates, they're happy to give you their opinion and tell you what they think, regardless of whether they know the facts. But conservatives don't like doing that, they want to know the facts before they answer what are often wild and baseless claims made by liberals and moderates."
UPDATE BELOW: McDurmon insists that he no longer believes in the views he espoused in this video.
Yesterday we reported that GOP presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal are all scheduled to speak at an upcoming "National Religious Liberties Conference" in Iowa next week that has been organized by far-right pastor Kevin Swanson, who has openly and repeatedly defended laws that impose the capital punishment on gay people.
Given that the chief organizer of this event holds such views, it should comes as no surprise to discover that several of the other scheduled speakers share similar views, in particular Phil Kayser, pastor of Dominion Covenant Church, and Joel McDurmon, president of the Christian Reconstructionist organization American Vision, which espouses the Christian Reconstructionist view that "men must choose in their civil affairs to be governed by God’s law" as explicitly set out in the Old Testament.
Kayser, who is scheduled to lead two workshops at the conference, was at the center of controversy back in 2011 when he endorsed Ron Paul for president and Paul's campaign proudly welcomed the endorsement only to try and cover it up once Kayser's extremist views on homosexuality became known, as Talking Points Memo reported at the time:
Paul's Iowa chair, Drew Ivers, recently touted the endorsement of Rev. Phillip G. Kayser, a pastor at the Dominion Covenant Church in Nebraska who also draws members from Iowa, putting out a press release praising "the enlightening statements he makes on how Ron Paul's approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs." But Kayser's views on homosexuality go way beyond the bounds of typical anti-gay evangelical politics and into the violent fringe: he recently authored a paper arguing for criminalizing homosexuality and even advocated imposing the death penalty against offenders based on his reading of Biblical law ... Reached by phone, Kayser confirmed to TPM that he believed in reinstating Biblical punishments for homosexuals -- including the death penalty -- even if he didn't see much hope for it happening anytime soon.
Also speaking at the event is McDurmon, who recently took over as president of American Vision, and who likewise believes that "God revealed that the homosexual act is a civil crime, and it just so happens that He revealed that the homosexual act as a civil crime deserves the death penalty."
In fact, McDurmon's views are so extreme that, back in 2009, he criticized Uganda for not going far enough with its draconian anti-gay legislation, saying that if the nation was "going to go to Old Testament law ... they should also make the death penalty for adultery" and other Old Testament crimes as well.
But as he explained the time, Uganda was absolutely right to seek to put gays to death because "it is perfectly normal [and] it definitely should be in place [that] homosexuality should receive the death penalty":
So let us reiterate once again that, in 2015, three Republican presidential hopefuls — including a sitting senator, a sitting governor, and one former governor — are all scheduled to speak at an event organized by and featuring several speakers who openly advocate putting gay people to death.
UPDATE: McDurmon has released a statement insisting that his position is that "the Bible does not criminalize 'homosexuality,' but only the homosexual act of sodomy" and therefore he does not believe "that homosexuality in general should receive the death penalty; but rather that the Bible teaches that the 'act' of sodomy should receive such."
We'll leave it up to readers to determine whether or not this clarification makes his position any less extreme.
UPDATE 6/16: McDurmon has contacted us to request that we note that he has written a new book in which he explains why he no longer holds the views he espoused in the above video:
While there are, as I said, tons of Theonomy books already, there have always been some outstanding questions that I felt have never really been addressed directly—at least not to my satisfaction. In conjunction with my studies for the Worldview Study Bible (still forthcoming), I’ve had to tackle the toughest passages head-on. The theological framework that has developed from that study have led me to answer some of the outstanding questions as well as revise a few of my previously held views. I’ll give you the bottom line here, and you can read the exegesis and explanations in the book (and I assure you that you will be blessed by doing so):
Contrary to what usually been merely assumed, I do not believe civil government has authority to punish First Table offenses under the New Testament administration. While I was not completely settled on these questions before, I am now. The book explains why.
Contrary to my own previous views on sodomy and adultery, I do not believe the death penalty continues for these under the New Testament administration. This applies also to certain other forms of incest and sexual perversion punishable under the Old Covenant. I do not believe the civil government has any jurisdiction here and should be out of the marriage business altogether. The book explains why.
But yes, God’s law still continues in many ways, still binds modern governments in many ways, and yes, it does so in a glorious way that creates the only standard for a society of liberty. For example, murderers, rapists, and kidnappers ought to be executed; but the modern prison-industrial complex ought to be abolished.
Why the title? Simple: Jesus, Paul, Peter, and others all teach that love fulfills the law, and that if you wish to love, you will follow the law. Love is the law fulfilled, and the law is love exemplified. Love is not an emotion, it is a way of life. God’s law explains to us in various situations what the loving thing to do is. Thus, the law gives us the boundaries of what is love and what is not. The book explains both sides of this: love and law.
Glenn Beck dedicated a portion of his television program last night to the remainder of his one-on-one interview with Sen. Ted Cruz, in which the GOP presidential hopeful declared that those who believe in climate change do not bother to cite facts in support of their position because, for them, it is a religion.
Pointing to a recent congressional hearing in which he grilled the president of the Sierra Club about the supposed lack of data and evidence for the existence of global warming, Cruz told Beck that "climate change is not science, it's religion."
"Look at the language where they call you a 'denier,'" he said. "Denier is not the language of science. Look, I'm the child of two scientists ... The essence of the scientific method is to start with a hypothesis, then look to the evidence to disprove the hypothesis; you're not trying to prove it, you're trying to disprove it. Any good scientist is a skeptic; if he's not, he or she should not be a scientist. But yet the language of the global warming alarmists, 'denier' is the language of religion, it's heretic, you are a blasphemer. The response from the Sierra Club, 'We have decreed this is the answer, you must accept it.' And so he didn't know his facts because he just knew his religion."
Peter LaBarbera spoke with Janet Mefferd today about the "Understanding Homosexuality: The Politically Incorrect Truth" event that took place the day before the World Congress of Families conference opened in Salt Lake City earlier this week.
LaBarbera, who runs Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, complained that the organizers of the WCF conference shunned any official association with the anti-gay event and the various anti-gay activists who spoke at it, forcing them to organize their own separate event the day before by refusing to allow them to participate in the official WCF conference. (Although at least one participant in the anti-gay conference, the Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg, was also scheduled to speak at the main WCF event.)
LaBarbera blamed this on the fact that the Mormon Church has supposedly begun to go soft on fighting the "gay agenda" by compromising on nondiscrimination legislation in Utah, which was problematic since several organizers of the WCF conference are members of the LDS church.
This sort of timidity, LaBarbera stated, is sadly rampant in the "pro-family" movement, which is why voices like his and Brian Camenker of MassResistance and even Mefferd herself are never invited to speak at the more "mainstream" Religious Right events such as the annual Values Voter Summit.
"People like Brian Camenker do not get invited to these family conferences," he said, "let's just be honest here. There is a political correctness within the pro-family movement and you talk about it, I talk about it, but most people don't. I love the Values Voter Conference and the Family Research Council; I went this year and had a great time, but Brian Camenker, or myself, or even you will never be invited to speak there because everybody is afraid of, 'Oh, it's too anti-gay.' The people who are telling the most truth about homosexual activists and the transgender agenda are usually, in a way, kind of, hands off and shunned a little bit because, 'Hey, we want to make sure we're not attacked as haters.' Well, the funny thing is, no matter what you do, if you take on the gay agenda at all,you will be called a hater."
"Of course," agreed Mefferd. "No matter how nice you are, you're just a nice hater, fooling us with your false claims of love."
If you are too anti-gay for the World Congress of Families, that's saying something.
Matt Barber appeared on Joe Miller's radio program yesterday to discuss the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling and Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis' refusal to allow her office to issue marriage licenses in its wake. Davis eventually wound up in jail as a result of her actions, which allowed her subordinates to issue licenses in her absence, at which point she was released on the condition that she no longer interfere with the issuing of such licenses in the future.
Davis has been back on the job for well over a month now and her office has continued to issue marriage licenses, yet somehow Barber and Miller claim that Davis emerged the victor in the showdown and forced the government to back down.
After complaining that America is now living under "homofascism," Barber called on Christians all over the nation to rise up in civil disobedience because "a revolution is at hand, not an armed revolution necessarily, as of yet" brought on by Davis, who has demonstrated that just one woman can stand up, declare "the tyranny is over" and get the government to back down.
"The beauty if this is that when people do stand up like Kim Davis did," Miller added, "the feds almost always back down. That's effectively what this judge did and it kind of reminded me of what happened at the Bundy ranch in Nevada. Cliven Bundy, he decided, right or wrong, he stood up to it with a lot of other people and the feds backed down."
Barber likewise proclaimed that Davis had forced the government to back down, claiming that Judge David Bunning "didn't just walk back his contempt of court ruling, he ran it back."
"He let her out of jail because of the Martin Luther King, Jr. comparison," Barber claimed, "because of the Rosa Parks comparison ... As with Rosa Parks, she shook a nation; Kim Davis has shaken a nation and it's amazing what one person again, who will stand firm on their principle and refuse to violate their conscience, what they can accomplish."
Every since the Obama administration announced the creation of a new position within the Department of Justice that is to be focused on countering domestic terrorism, right-wing activists have been whipping up fears that the government is going to start persecuting Christians and conservatives.
On the American Family Radio's "Focal Point" program yesterday, guest host Janet Mefferd dedicated two segments to discussing this new supposed threat with John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute, who declared, without a hint of irony, that the creation of such a position is rooted in government "paranoia." That is, the paranoia that government officials supposedly have about conservatives.
When Mefferd demanded to know what authority the government has to "go after right-wing extremists as a pre-crime target ... This is a violation of the Constitution," Whitehead responded by chalking it all up to government paranoia and then proceeded to warn that the Department of Homeland Security is stockpiling millions of rounds of ammunition that it plans to use against American citizens.
"We're dealing with some paranoid people," he warned. "When you have the Department of Homeland Security, which we know now, several years ago, purchased 1.6 million hollow point bullets for their agents; they were not looking out toward ISIS."
Whitehead went on to claim that a local police chief he knows of has likewise been stockpiling military-style weapons and equipment in preparation for the possibility of having to put down an uprising of local citizens, prompting Whitehead to warn gun owners not to post anything on social media about owning weapons because SWAT teams are just itching to carry out violent raids against perceived threats, such as the names of eight million gun owners which he claims are being cataloged and stored in databases so the government knows who to "round up in times of emergency."
Last week, Russian lawmakers introduced legislation that would make it illegal for anyone to admit that they are gay, imposing jail time or fines on anyone who makes a "public confession of his non-traditional sexual orientation."
Predictably, radical anti-gay activist Theodore Shoebat is championing the effort, posting a video over the weekend declaring that "this is what needs to be done" and, once again, calling for gays to be put to death.
"It's the sublime words of Moses that tell us how to deal with this evil," he stated. "Those who have sex with animals, men who have sex with men, women who have lesbian intercourse with each other, they are to be arrested and they are to be executed."
Celebrating the fact that "the laws in Russia are increasingly becoming more and more intense against this evil," Shoebat predicted that eventually Russia will start putting gays to death because "the average Russian wants execution for this nonsense and absolutely, I completely agree."
Homosexuality is "straight up evil," Shoebat declared as he asserted that any Christian who does not support putting gays to death is nothing but a fraudulent liar and a heretic.
Glenn Beck dedicated his entire television program last night to a one-on-one interview with Sen. Ted Cruz in which the GOP presidential hopeful once again declared that mobilizing right-wing Christians is they key to solving this nation's problems, proclaiming that if his campaign can mobilize 10 million more Christians to vote in the 2016 election, he will win it in a landslide.
Beck noted that Rafael Cruz, Ted's father and chief surrogate, is out on the campaign trail on his behalf, working to motivate pastors to mobilize their congregations to vote because supposedly "54 million Christians didn't vote last time around" and so the key to a Cruz election victory lies in "waking the churches up."
"Absolutely yes," said Cruz. "Imagine in 2016, only 44 million Christians stay home. Now, if that happens, we have done a horrible job; I mean, what a miserable failure if 44 million stay home. But if an extra 10 million evangelical Christians show up on election day, we will not be up at two or three in the morning wondering what happened in Ohio or Florida; they'll call the election at 8:37 PM. That's the difference!"
the Texas Republican went on to assert that his father's efforts, coupled with David Barton's work to restore the "Black Robe Regiment," is paying dividends because he is "seeing more and more pastors waking up and being energized."
Cruz has been heavily courting Religious Right leaders, as Politico reported just today that he is now working with former Southern Baptist leader Paul Pressler and has been courting activists such as Tony Perkins and Bob Vander Plaats.
For more than a year, Cruz has aggressively courted social-conservative leaders such as Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, who has not endorsed yet but will appear next month with Cruz at a South Carolina rally for religious liberty. One critical movement convener, Paul Pressler, on whose ranch Christian leaders gathered in early 2012 to throw their support behind Rick Santorum, has already backed Cruz. And the Cruz campaign expects two other influential Iowa leaders — The Family Leader’s Bob Vander Plaats and Rep. Steve King, whose son is working for Cruz’s super PAC — to line up behind him. “I think it would be a stunner if they didn’t,” said a senior Cruz operative.
Given that Barton believes there should literally be no limits on the Second Amendment and that individual citizens have the right to own a tank or even a fighter jet, it was not a surprise to hear him argue that Christians should not, in fact, support any sort of gun control efforts.
In fact, Barton said that the only sort of change needed in America is to return to the days when public schools taught riflery in P.E. class because, he insisted, back then there were no gun accidents or violent crime.
"In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s," he said, "in the P.E. books in school, we had a chapter on riflery and we should students all about how to use guns, how to unload guns, how to shoot guns, how to create indoor ranges. We talked about gun safety, gun responsibility; we had such an emphasis on that aspect of training and education that you'll find in the '50s and '60s, gun accidents nearly never existed and violent crime, outside of organized crime, was just almost nonexistent."
Newsmax host Ed Berliner asked the GOP presidential hopeful to comment on whether it was "reprehensible for Donald Trump to dredge up 9/11 and dredge up that day and try to use it for political gain." Fully expecting Rubio to agree that it was indeed reprehensible to use 9/11 for the purpose of launching a political attack, Berliner was probably surprised when Rubio responded by doing exactly that ... but shifting the blame onto President Bill Clinton.
Trump's attack on Bush was "wrong," Rubio said, because "the truth is that George W. Bush inherited all sorts of things from the Clinton administration, including intelligence agencies and others who were not doing a very good job and were siloing off and not sharing information across agencies, including a government under President Clinton that had not taken seriously al Qaeda and the threat that they posed, even after the USS Cole, even after the first Trade Center bombings, and all of the other challenges that we faced around world."
"President Bush was only in office nine months when this happened," Rubio continued, omitting the fact that the Bush administration ignored al Qaeda threats before the 9/11 attacks, "but that plot to conduct 9/11 and the steps that it took to bring it about, those began well before he was even sworn into office. It happened under the watch of President Clinton":
The guest on today's edition of the "WallBuilders Live" radio program was Carol Everett, who reportedly spent several years "selling abortions to other women" before renouncing legal abortion and opening an anti-abortion crisis pregnancy center in Texas.
Unsurprisingly, Everett did not have anything good to say about Planned Parenthood, especially since the organization supposedly promotes all sorts of "perverted things" like encouraging young men and women to have sex with multiple partners, which is "almost like rape."
"You and I know anytime you break down God's principles, you're going to get in trouble," Everett said, "but this is horrible. What they do to young women is lie to them about what this birth control pill will do, encourage them to have sex with multiple partners and, you know, they've also gotten into much more perverted things now."
"Everything they're doing is destructive," she said, which prompted host Rick Green to go off on a tangent about how Planned Parenthood now allegedly also promotes thing like polyamory and open relationships, which is destroying not only people's hearts and minds but entire communities.
"It's sick," Everett agreed. "It breaks down all those natural barriers that we're supposed to have. Think about this: one woman sleeping with a man and she knows this woman living here sleeps with him too, how does she feel about that woman? That is not a relationship that fosters anything kind. And how does she feel about him? That, in my mind, is almost like rape when you're just having sex with two or three different women. It's just, what are you doing? It is a sick thing and the only thing that can help us recover is Jesus."
Rick Joyner sent out a dire missive to his Oak Initiative email list today, declaring that America's "spiritual and moral deterioration" has become so great that we have now begun a "national meltdown into madness" that can only end with God's brutal judgment falling upon this nation.
Fuming that Planned Parenthood has not been shut down and its leader prosecuted for the organization's "heinous crimes," Joyner likened America to Nazi Germany:
Once you lose the core moral foundation of the value of life, evil will come pouring through the floodgates just as we saw happen in Germany in the 1930s.
Of course, the guilty protest any comparison to the Nazis, but if we do not learn where certain paths lead from historical examples, then we have learned nothing from that history and will go down the same path. The Nazis moved fast from abortion to the weak, retarded, and elderly who could no longer work, dubbing them “the useless eaters.” From there it was a small jump to political opponents, and ultimately, to condemning almost anyone for anything. The same paths lead to the same place ... America has now become a sick society. At the rate we are melting down, we will soon be one of the sickest and perverted of all time. This is a main reason Islamists call America “The Great Satan.” They believe we have become so perverse that there is no alternative but to destroy us in order to rid the earth of this evil. Over the last few decades we seem to be intent on proving this verdict.
After voicing his outrage that our "State Department has implemented a foreign policy of threatening nations to adopt the LGBT agenda if they want to continue getting aid from us," Joyner praised the "courageous leaders like those in Africa who told our leaders to keep their money and their perversion far away from them" and then demanded the impeachment of the Supreme Court justices who wrote the decision striking down state gay marriage bans, as well as the removal from office of any members of Congress who refuse to impeach them:
In general, Christians don’t expect non-believers to live according to biblical morals, and they want all American citizens to have their rights protected. There are some extremists in every group, but Christians do not want to impose their morals on others. However, neither do they want what they consider to be immorality imposed on them. The recent Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage did just that, even though its most serious violation of America was about much more. It was an unconstitutional decision, and if allowed to stand, brings into question whether we are still a Constitutional Republic, or a nation of laws.
The Constitution is clear that any authority not specifically given to the Federal Government is reserved to the states and the people. Nowhere is the Federal Government given authority to impose such a social agenda. Many Americans seem to assume that because the Federal Government is bigger, it has authority over the states. The opposite is actually true if we are still basing our government on the Constitution. The states have authority over the Federal Government in everything that is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution as being given to the Federal Government. Any other authority it takes does not have legal legitimacy.
Thomas Jefferson’s loudest and most vehement warnings were about “judicial tyranny,” which he warned would become exactly like what the Supreme Court, and many of the Federal Courts, are now imposing on America. These rulings are unlawful and unconstitutional. The justices that blatantly violated their oath to defend the Constitution by voting for something like this should be impeached.
California’s vote for Proposition Eight in 2008 was the constitutional way to handle such issues—by the states and by the people. A state does have the right to have same-sex marriage or not. The State of California, and the people, decided how they wanted this issue settled in their state. They voted not to have same-sex marriage. A single Federal Court judge, who was himself exposed as being a practicing homosexual at the time of his decision, overturned the will of millions of people and the State of California. That is what Jefferson called “judicial tyranny.” It is unlawful and unconstitutional.
This judge should have certainly been impeached for such a violation of the Constitution, but no one did a thing because we do not have leaders who keep their oath of office. Those who did nothing should be impeached as well for not obeying their oath to defend the Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic.
So should the President and his previous Attorney General be impeached for saying that they would not enforce laws they did not agree with because they took an oath to uphold the laws of the land? Absolutely. Their brazen contempt for the Constitution and the laws that were lawfully passed by Congress and signed by a President was a blatant violation of their oath of office, and so they should have been removed from office.
Not to defend the laws and the Constitution only releases further lawlessness in the land. So, those who did nothing in the face of this are just as guilty. If the President does not have to obey laws he does not agree with, why should anyone else?
So what can we do? It is up to the people, the ultimate authority, to impeach those who violate their oaths of office, to remove them from office, and indict those who have so betrayed their country.
With the same-sex marriage decision, our Supreme Court has released into the land that those who hold to what have been the moral standards accepted by every nation, religion, and civilization in history can be attacked as “haters.” We already have examples of those who have lost their livelihoods for refusing to violate their conscience by serving what they believe to be immoral. The next step will be to see them prosecuted for “hate crimes,” as is already happening in Europe.
The Supreme Court began its 2015-6 Term earlier in October. Even though it issued no decisions, the critical issues it considered and the stark divisions on the Court illustrate why Election Day 2016 will be Judgment Day for the Supreme Court and our rights and liberties, when America determines the president who will select Supreme Court nominees beginning in 2017.
Three cases in which the Court heard oral argument in October are good examples. As Supreme Court analyst Tony Mauro put it, the importance of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission v. Electric Power Supply Association is "hard to overestimate," since it could involve literally billions of dollars in electricity costs and determine whether the nation's power grid collapses in the case of a future blackout.
The question before the Court is the validity of a FERC rule that would have the economic effect of persuading large electricity users to cut back their demands at peak power usage times. Not surprisingly, conservative justices like Scalia and Roberts seemed to be clearly siding with big power companies, based on a narrow view of federal government authority, while moderates like Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor appeared to agree with the case for federal authority and the FERC rule.
With Justice Alito recusing himself from the case, the question is whether Justice Kennedy will side with the moderates and uphold the rule or vote with extreme conservatives and vote to affirm a lower court decision striking down the rule. A 4-4 tie would result in the lower court ruling being upheld without a controlling opinion. But if a similar issue arises in a year or so, and if Kennedy, Scalia, or Ginsburg have retired from the Court and are replaced by a nominee selected by the next president, the answer will likely depend on who nominates the new justice.
The Court was similarly divided during oral arguments in October in Montgomery v. Louisiana. That case concerns whether the Court's ruling in 2012, that it is unconstitutional to impose life sentences without possibility of parole on people convicted of murder when they were juveniles, applies to people like 70-year old Henry Montgomery, who was convicted for such a crime long before the Court's ruling and has already spent more than 50 years in prison.
Far right justices Scalia and Alito sounded clearly negative on Montgomery's claim, suggesting that the Court did not even have jurisdiction to hear it, while justices like Kagan and Breyer were far more receptive. As occurred in the 2012 ruling, this case is likely to produce a 5-4 decision with the outcome depending on Justice Kennedy. The fate of a thousand or more people convicted for life while juveniles like Henry Montgomery will hang in the balance.
On its last day of oral arguments in October, the Court heard Campbell-Ewald v. Gomez, one of several cases this Term that concern efforts by business to prevent consumers and others from using class actions to redress corporate wrongdoing. Conservatives on the Court have generally sided with business in such cases and have already severely limited the use of class actions, and Gomez may well be another example.
The issue in the case is whether a business can prevent a consumer like Jose Gomez from bringing a class action to get large amounts of damages and other relief for many injured consumers by offering to give him personally all the damages he can recover as an individual -- in this case, around $1,500 for violating a federal law on unsolicited telemarketing. This would be a good deal for the company, since as many as 100,000 consumers could be included in a class action because of similar violations.
As in previous class action cases, questions from moderates like Justices Kagan and Ginsburg suggested they are likely to agree with the consumer, while those from conservatives like Scalia and Roberts were in the corporation's favor, and Justice Kennedy is likely to be the deciding vote. Regardless of how this case is decided, other cases to be considered by the Court this Term -- as well as in future years -- are likely to have a significant impact on the ability of consumers and others to band together via class actions to obtain meaningful relief for wrongs committed by corporations.
It is always difficult to predict Court decisions and votes based on comments and questions at oral argument, and the Court may not even reach the merits of all the issues presented in these cases. But the importance of the issues at stake -- billions of dollars in electricity costs, the stability of the nation's power grid, the fate of more than a thousand people sentenced to life in prison for crimes committed as juveniles, and the ability of consumers to effectively seek justice for corporate wrongdoing -- demonstrates the importance of the Supreme Court to the rights and interests of all of us. And the close divisions on the Court on these and other issues, coupled with the fact that four will be over 80 in the next president's first term, show the importance of the 2016 election on the future of the Court -- and why November 8, 2016 truly will be Judgment Day.
If you need more convincing, stay tuned as the Court continues its 2015-16 Term -- the last term before the 2016 election.
On Friday, Ted Cruz's presidential campaign proudly announced that it had received the endorsement of Sandy Rios, a radio host and director of governmental affairs for the anti-gay hate group the American Family Association.
Along with endorsements from Lori Roma, the former executive director of the American Legislative Exchange Council, and Susan Carleson, the Chairman and CEO of the American Civil Rights Union, Cruz welcomed Rios' endorsement:
“I am thrilled to have the support of three of the conservative movement’s strongest voices for families, religious liberty and the unborn,” said Sen. Cruz. “We are running an aggressive grassroots campaign and their help engaging and motivating conservative voters gives our effort a great advantage.”
Sandy Rios is the Director of Governmental Affairs for the American Family Association, one of America’s largest, pro-family grassroots organizations, and host of “Sandy Rios in the Morning on AFR Talk” which can be heard on nearly 200 stations through the American Family Radio Network.
In her capacity as a radio host for the AFA, Rios has repeatedly attacked gays, Muslims and Jews while promoting conspiracy theories and issuing repeated warnings that God's judgment will soon fall upon this nation:
One year ago, many Americans were riddled with anxiety over a possible outbreak of the Ebola virus in this nation after a handful of healthcare workers contracted the disease while treating an infected traveler from Liberia.
Predictably, Glenn Beck was among those relentlessly whipping up such fears at the time, dedicting program after program over the course of several weeks to inducing panic among his audience, telling them not to listen to anything that the government said and eventually melting down in a screaming frenzy as he called upon listeners to descend on Washington, D.C., and demand that the government ban all travel from West African nations.
"Are you out of your minds? ... This is about you being so unbelievably incompetent, you are putting the lives of millions of people at stake," Beck shouted as he went completely off the rails:
Beck's nightmare scenario never came close to materializing and after the Ebola panic waned, Beck simply moved on and conveniently forgot all of the dire false warnings that he had issued in the midst of the crisis.
But we have not forgotten. In fact, we have been saving two videos from one year ago, when Beck's panic was at its peak, in which he warned that if the government did not completely ban travel from West African nations, infected individuals would continue to arrive in America and spread the disease throughout poor, black neighborhoods in large cities. In response to widespread outbreaks, Beck warned on October 3, 2014, officials would have to barricade off those areas and quarantine everyone living within them ... and "then the race riots start."
This was not a one-off prediction, as Beck issued a similar warning a week later, saying that once the quarantines are imposed, "then you've got another Ferguson on your hands."
Obviously, these predictions turned out to be totally wrong, but had anything even remotely like this actually occurred, Beck would have immediately claimed to have foreseen it and would continue to cite it for years to come as proof of his prophetic gift.
But since nothing of the sort ever came true, Beck simply ignores these demonstrably false warnings because nothing can undermine his belief that he is "an oracle" with an amazing ability to accurately predict the future.
Conservative columnist Diana West claimed in an interview with the Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney this week that feminism helps lead to sexual violence because it means that women are no longer "prized and defended."
Apparently referring to a horrific case in Rotherham, England, where authorities turned a blind eye for years to a sexual exploitation network run by five men of Pakistani heritage, West warned of "Muslim rape gangs in the United Kingdom" and immigrant "street crime" in rest of Europe, which she naturally blamed partly on feminism.
"If young girls, if young women are not prized and defended by a civilization, there is no civilization," she said. "And it’s one of those things that we can say has come under attrition through feminism, through all manner of desensitization, through pornification —"
"To say nothing of political correctness," Gaffney interjected.
"When Donald Trump talks about cherishing women, I think that’s a beautiful phrase," West added.
Gaffney, of course, blamed immigration for the whole thing, which he said is the "president’s determined hope here as well."
"The 700 Club" ran a story today about American Christians who are supposedly suffering persecution by being forced to violate their religious beliefs in order to maintain their jobs.
Citing figures like Kim Davis and Barronelle Stutzman, CBN insisted that Christians are being bullied, intimidated and persecuted by not being allowed to impose their beliefs on others or discriminate against gay customers while doing their jobs.
Pat Robertson was, of course, outraged by this "tyranny."
"Believers should not be forced to do something they don't believe in," he said. "It is tyrannical to force somebody to give money and pay taxes for something they abhor ... The homosexuals don't just want to be left alone, now they want to come out and stick it to the Christians. They have made it clear and it's an organized thrust throughout this nation to force conformity."
"This used to be considered perversion, it used to be considered an abomination," he continued. "The Bible says it's an abomination, the Bible says it's a sin and these people say, 'Not only do we want to practice our sinful ways like Sodom and Gomorrah, we're going to make you like it and we're going to make you participate whether you like it or not.'"
"That is absolute tyranny and it's high time we call it what it is and we stand up for freedom," Robertson concluded.