In the Supreme Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby, the Court held for the first time ever that a for-profit corporation counts as a “person” under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and that a “closely held” corporation basically shares the religious exercise rights of its owners. This leads American law into a treacherous minefield, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg made clear in her dissent.
It’s worth pointing out, as Justice Ginsberg also noted, “’Closely held’ is not synonymous with ‘small.’” Hobby Lobby is a massive corporation employing some 13,000 people, but there are other closely held companies that are much larger. In a footnote, Ginsberg mentions family-owned Mars, Inc. and closely held Cargill, which are both among the largest five private companies in the country. Guess which is number two? Koch industries, with $115 billion in revenue and 60,000 employees. Brothers David and Charles Koch reportedly own 84 percent. Rounding out the top five private companies are Dell and Bechtel. Those five companies employ more than 436,000 people. What religious claims might their owners find useful to make in undermining laws that protect their workers?
While preaching at his MorningStar Fellowship Church last week, Rick Joyner revealed that he spends hours every week studying science, which has led him to conclude that science has proven that God created the universe at the Big Bang when He said "let there be light."
"The Big Bang Theory did confirm," Joyner explained, "there was a point of creation. There was a nanosecond where nothing existed in the physical universe and a nanosecond later, all of the matter and all of the energy in the universe now was there instantly. And this has been pretty much a theory confirmed that everything came in one burst, at one time, and it was when God said 'let there be light'":
WASHINGTON — In response to today’s 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in Harris v. Quinn, People For the American Way Foundation President Michael Keegan released the following statement:
“In yet another 5-4 decision that runs roughshod over the rights of working people, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority today put at risk the ability of many unions to have a strong voice for all workers.
“But working people have faced attacks before and will face them again. For many years the corporate and Religious Right has tried to undermine the progressive movement by attacking public sector unions. We stand with our friends in the labor movement as they continue to fight for fair treatment and better conditions for all working Americans.”
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast, Mat Staver and Matt Barber cited recent remarks made by Pope Francis about how "the Devil wants to destroy" the family in order to declare that gay marriage is "the brainchild" of Satan himself.
"Marriage is the cornerstone institution of any healthy society," Barber asserted, "and so clearly the Father of Lies, the Enemy of the World hates marriage, wants to destroy marriage and so this concept of counterfeit marriage, of same-sex marriage, that is the brainchild, Mat, of none other than the Father of Lies himself."
Staver was in complete agreement, saying that gay marriage is an effort to "abolish all truth" as part of Satan's "attack on God."
"Ultimately, at the end of the day," Staver said, "it is a spiritual attack ... This is the bidding of the Devil. This is a spiritual assault on all of us who are made in the image of God":
WASHINGTON — In response to today’s 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., People For the American Way Foundation President Michael Keegan released the following statement:
“Arguing that ‘closely held’ for-profit corporations have religious rights and can use those ‘rights’ to deny needed health care to employees is absurd. Threatening to prevent millions of women from accessing birth control doesn’t protect anyone’s religious liberty — it is a distortion of the very idea of religious liberty.
“Unfortunately, this decision is not surprising coming from a Court that ruled only four years ago that corporations have the political rights of real people. Hobby Lobby is one more step in the Supreme Court majority’s ongoing attack on the rights of everyday Americans, handing corporations even greater power over our lives. What rights will corporations be given next? This decision opens up a minefield, potentially paving the way for all kinds of harmful claims in the name of corporate religious rights.”
Earlier this year, People For the American Way Foundation Senior Fellow Jamie Raskin authored a report on the case titled, “The Gospel of Citizens United: In Hobby Lobby, Corporations Pray for the Right to Deny Workers Contraception.”
Yesterday, "respected prophet" Cindy Jacobs issued a prophetic warning after God informed her that "another attack on the scale of 9/11 [is] being planned" and America must "close the gates" and pray in order to be protected:
A few months ago The Lord had me issue a warning called 'Shields Up' to pray for the protection of our nation. Tonight, while reading my Bible, the following passage leapt off the page:
"And He has confirmed His words which He spoke us and against our judges, and judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster, for under the whole heaven such has never been done as was done in Jerusalem" (Dan. 9:12).
It does not take a prophet to realize that America is in trouble! We know there are many radical extremists who hate us—this is not new. However, as I read the verse this evening I was shaken by it. This is what I am hearing: "There is an another attack on the scale of 9/11 being planned!"
As I prayed to pinpoint how to intercede, I immediately heard these words: "Close the gates! All borders must be closed to terrorists and those who would aid them."
This includes all airport customs checkpoints as well as border crossings. We must pray for our customs and border agents to have eagle eyes to "see" any potential persons trying to make their way into the United States. We must also pray for all points of public transport.
The good news is that prayer works! This is a call upon every praying person everywhere to stand in the gap and pray for the protection of the nation.
If a terroist attack is carried out at some point in the future, Jacobs will undoubtedly cite it as proof of her prophetic gifts. Of course, if no such attack occurs, Jacobs will still cite it as proof of her prophetic gifts, since she claims to have prevented terrorist attacks through prayer and prophecy several times before.
On his "News With Views" program today, "Coach" Dave Daubenmire proclaimed that America has no hope of escaping God's judgment and rightly so, since "we deserve the wrath of God" for tolerating and celebrating the most vile and debaucherous sins.
"Look at the debauchery that we've codified into law in America," Daubenmire fumed. "Look at how we give standing ovations to the greatest sinners in America. They get the highest places at the White House, they get to go visit the President, the most debaucherous of all ... and we gave a standing ovation to those who practiced them."
As such, America - and in particular American Christians - are therefore wholly deserving of suffering the wrath of God "for having floundered and having spoiled and having squandered all the blessings of liberty that God gave to us":
Earlier this week, Vice President Joe Biden spoke out against anti-gay discrimination around the world, declaring that the fight for gay rights is the "civil rights issue of our day" and saying that no culture has an excuse to practice prejudice and intolerance.
Richard Land, not surprisingly, did not agree with Biden's remarks, telling Newsmax TV today that his comments were "simplistic" and "wrong-headed" because "deeply-held religious convictions" cannot be brushed off merely as social or cultural values.
"The Bible," Land said, "is quite clear that homosexual behavior and lesbian behavior is a rebellion against God's order and perhaps the ultimate rebellion against God's creation is transgenderism. You know, I was born this way but I don't want to be this way so I'm going to change my gender; I don't know how you can have a more ultimate rebellion against God's creation and God's order than that."
For Biden to put the government "on the side of lowering religious convictions to the level of cultural and social values," Land concluded, "is ignorant at best and malicious at worst":
Glenn Beck is still fuming over Chris McDaniel's loss to Thad Cochran in Mississippi's run-off election and is especially outraged that black voters turned out to vote for Cochran because they were supposedly mobilized by a campaign to paint McDaniel as a racist who would take away their stuff.
After reading from a New York Times article about black Democrats who were voting for Cochran because "people still need stuff," Beck says that Tea Party candidates like McDaniel are being smeared with "bogus race charges" akin to the rabidly anti-Semitic "Protocols of the Elders Of Zion."
If you can get black voters to support a candidate by promising them free stuff, Beck said, then you have to paint their opponent as a racist by saying "well, at least Thad Cochran isn't trying to drink to blood of African Americans and is quite honestly making matzah balls out of the little Christian children over here too."
"It's the Protocols of the Elders of Zion," Beck said. "That's really what we're turning into. What a surprise, 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion,' oh, that's right, that was a Marxist-Communist thing. I forgot all about that. How interesting it is that history always repeats itself":
During his radio program yesterday, Bryan Fischer and a caller commiserated over the fact that American society is so "twisted around" these days that people who, based on common sense and science, oppose gay rights are demonized and treated like pariahs.
"You and I are people that are living in the world of common sense," Fischer told the caller. "We're living in the world of reality, we're living in the illumination of the Word of God that says homosexuality is a sin ... We live in the world of science ... We live in that world, it's the world of reality, it's the world of truth, it's the world of research, it's the world of medicine, it's the world of health, it's the world of science. And you're exactly right, this is skewed thinking here where all of a sudden we're the ones that are demonized":
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Mat Staver and Matt Barber were discussing the topic of "How Does One's Worldview Affect One's View of Government" during which they tried to explain the difference between theistic and atheistic worldviews, with Staver asserting that a belief in God is "the critical question" that must be addressed when discussing the issue of worldview.
Barber agreed, laying out a rather circular explanation as to why the Christian worldview is the correct one, explaining that since Jesus and the Bible are the standards of truth, therefore believing in them means that one's worldview is "closer to the truth":
Everybody has a worldview, as you said, and they can't all be right. And no one person's worldview is a hundred percent right except for one person who walked the earth and that's Jesus Christ himself. He had the perfect worldview. He is the way, the truth, and the life and, going toward what you're talking about here, the worldview that says there is a god versus the worldview that says there isn't a god, clearly the worldview that says there is a god is closer to truth because Christ is god. He is the way, the truth, and the life.
So the worldview, the theistic worldview, is closer to god. We can get closer and closer and closer to the truth, which is the Word of Truth, which is scripture, the Bible. So the closer your worldview aligns with scripture, the closer your worldview is to truth.
Barber does not seem to realize that the existence of God is at the center of the division between the theistic and atheistic worldviews and so simply declaring that the theistic worldview is the correct one because God exists is begging the very question that is at issue.
In another win for equality, today U.S. District Judge Richard Young struck down Indiana’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. Because the judge did not stay the ruling, the Indianapolis Star reports that couples can begin getting married right away.
Not a single state marriage ban has been able to withstand a challenge in federal court in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in United States v. Windsor, which struck down part of DOMA.
Glenn Beck, as one would expect, is not very happy with Thad Cochran's run-off victory over Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel last night, fuming on his radio program this morning that Cochran's fellow Senators, especially Orrin Hatch, who rallied to Cochran's side are "out and out evil" and declaring that "Washington DC is not a place of representative democracy any more."
Saying that elected leaders like Cochran desperately cling to power because it is the only thing that keeps them alive, Beck ranted that Congress has now become an aristocracy while the citizens are treated like dispensable pawns in a chess match.
"Pawns mean nothing," Beck said. "They can be eaten and taken, it doesn't matter. They're there to block and that's it You can lose them all day long and you can still win the game. I got news for you gang: we've been played! We're pawns. Period. Period.":
People For the American Way Foundation conducts research, legal, and education work on behalf of First Amendment freedoms and democratic values; monitors, exposes, and challenges the Religious Right movement and its political allies; identifies, trains, and supports the next generation of progressive leaders through its Young Elected Officials Network and its Young People For youth leadership programs; and carries out nonpartisan civic participation activities.
The Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network is looking for an outstanding candidate for a summer and/or fall internship with our Washington, DC policy team. The YEO Network is a program that engages young progressive elected officials in all levels of government. Located in Tallahassee, FL and Washington DC, the YEO Network supports and equips members through policy and research assistance, skills and issue training, personal and professional development, and meaningful networking opportunities. The YEO Network is working to transform the political vision of our elected leaders into progressive action.
Internships with the YEO Network provide students with an opportunity to gain comprehensive insight into the political process by working to build coalitions, researching and supporting policy creation and exchange, and supporting the professional development of elected officials from all levels of office across the country. Internships are unpaid, but we are happy to work with students to arrange academic credit and other professionally enriching opportunities. We also offer a flexible and part time schedule.
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Rep. Louie Gohmert was the guest on the "WallBuilders Live" radio program today, where he was hailed by hosts David Barton and Rick Green as the voice of "common sense" in Washington, DC as he promoted his effort to repeal the policy prohibiting military members from carrying weapons while on base.
The repeal effort is difficult, Gohmert explained, because "we're battling an administration that is determined to keep out military from being able to defend themselves properly" and, as proof, he cited the fact that the number of US soldiers killed in Afghanistan has increased during President Obama's administration:
Look at the fact that even though this Commander in Chief has only been in command of the battle in Afghanistan for five and a quarter years where [George W.] Bush was about seven and a quarter, President Bush was commander when there was really quite a war and there were 625 precious American lives that were taken in that seven and a quarter years. President Obama comes in and he's trying to wind things up, wrap things up but people end up being killed in his five and a quarter years - going back, halfway through May - it was 1,628; so over a thousand more deaths under Commander Obama than there were under Commander Bush in Afghanistan. There are many times more seriously wounded military members under Obama than there were under Bush, so this is serious stuff.
Of course, the reason there were more casualties and injuries in Afghanistan under President Obama than there were under President Bush is because there were tens of thousands more soldiers in Afghanistan under Obama than under Bush:
By November, 2001 there were 1,300 troops in Afghanistan, a month later those numbers would double to 2,500. The footprint of U.S. forces would remain small for years, not rising above 10,000 until 2003 and not reaching 20,000 until 2006.
By then a resurgent Taliban brought requests from military commanders for additional forces. By late 2008 the Bush administration met some of those requests so that by the time that President Obama entered office in January, 2009 there were 34,400 U.S. military forces in Afghanistan.
But military commanders requested even more forces of the new Obama administration which had campaigned on a platform to end the war in Iraq and re-focus the military fight in Afghanistan.
By March, 2009 President Obama had ordered 21,000 additional forces to Afghanistan. Six months later months later he ordered an additional 33,000 surge forces to meet a request by Gen. Stanley McChrystal for more troops to focus on a counterinsurgency mission.
U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan eventually peaked at 100,000 in August 2010 and from March to May of 2011. Nearly ten times the number of forces there almost a decade before.
But President Obama had placed a timetable for the presence of the elevated surge numbers setting July, 2011 as the beginning of the draw-down of those forces. By the end of 2012 American troop levels had returned to pre-surge levels of 68,000.
In his State of the Union address in February, 2013 President Obama announced that in a year’s time the size of the U.S. force would be reduced by half.
Last week, it was announced that President Obama would be signing a executive order banning discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees by federal contractors and Gordon Klingenschmitt is predictably outraged, declaring on his "Pray In Jesus Name" program that these sorts of anti-discrimination bans are nothing more than tyrannical anti-Christian persecution.
"I think this is outright tyranny," he said. "And it's a demonic spirit of persecution, it's anti-Christian persecution ... We should have a First Amendment right to opt out and yet we're being denied access to twenty eight million jobs now being given favoritism to people because of the way they have perverted sex and they're being denied to Christians because they happen to believe the Bible":