The close friendship between Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on the left, and Justice Antonin Scalia, on the right, was because they were reasoned even in their differences. They would apply logic, law and constitutionality in a more objective manner than the politicians who see differences as a basis for conflict.
This ability to reason together was evident in their discussions of legal briefs and opinions where they arrived at different conclusions. They would actually share their written opinions before publishing them – enabling them to point out weaknesses or other facts. In an odd sort of way, they would make each other’s written opinions stronger. They would engage in a game of judicial chess – looking to best each other while admiring the other’s abilities.
Ginsburg’s objectivity was seen in the debates over abortion. There can be no doubt of Ginsburg’s commitment to abortion as a fundamental right of a woman. But she could also see the constitutional weakness and vulnerability of Roe v. Wade. She was concerned that it could be overturned – not on her belief in the rights of a woman, but on the nature of the 1973 Supreme Court decision. Her judicial integrity trumped her political affiliation when she stated that Roe v. Wade was “poorly reasoned” and “too sweeping.”
Ginsburg’s concern was that the weakness of the decision could – and would – form the basis for overturning the decision on technical deficiencies unrelated to the moral issue of abortion, itself. She believed that it would take congressional action to strengthen the legal and constitutional case for abortion on demand.
Much is being reported on Ginsburg’s dying wish that it be the President inaugurated on January 20 who would nominate her replacement. Her personal wish, however, runs contrary to her belief that the power to nominate and confirm rests with the incumbent President and Senate. She specifically underscored in the past that there is nothing in the Constitution to prevent such action in an election year. She most recently expressed that opinion in conjunction with President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland.
In the outrage over the possibility of President Trump picking a third justice of the Supreme Court, Democrats have resurrected their back-burner threat to increase the number of justices on the high court by as many as 6 to 8 new seats. Ginsburg has been consistent and staunch in her opposition to any such plan.
While it is true that the number of justices varied before 1869, there is a reason why the number has remained at nine for more than 150 years. Prior to 1869 Supreme Court justices traveled circuits. As the population increased, there needed to be more circuits – hence more judges. When justices no longer traveled the circuits – remaining in Washington full time — there was no further need to impanel more justices – and it would be prudent for Congress to send a constitutional amendment to the states locking that number in the Constitution.
In May of 2020 – just four months before her death – Ginsburg authored an opinion that aligned with conservative criticism of the activist and uber liberal Ninth District federal courts. She harshly criticized the Ninth District Appellate Court for violating “party representation” – a principle that requires the parties to any case to present the arguments. Not the court, itself.
In her Opinion, Ginsburg wrote that “… we rely on the parties to frame the issues for decision and assign to courts the role of neutral arbiter of matters the parties present. That principle forecloses the controlling role the Ninth Circuit took on in this case.”
She further noted that “the Ninth Circuit’s radical transformation of this case goes well beyond the pale.”
In a number of public appearances, her good friend Justice Scalia often noted that he and Ginsburg agreed much more often then they disagreed – although the disagreements were generally the higher profile cases.
While it is true that Ginsburg – as a liberal Democrat – had a personal desire to have a Democrat President select her successor, her legal opinion of the right of a President to nominate – and the Senate confirm – is not restricted by arguments regarding election years. And she would strongly oppose increasing the number of justices for any reason – especially political retaliation.
It would seem that for political reasons, Democrats and Trump-haters are mourning a woman of their own making – and not the lady who sat on the Supreme Court for 27 years.
So, there ‘tis.
The global economy can seem like an abstract concept, yet, as Visual Capitalist’s Iman Ghosh notes, it influences our everyday lives in both obvious and subtle ways. Nowhere is this clearer than in the current economic state amid the throes of the pandemic.
Editor’s note: Annual data on economic output is a lagging indicator, and is released the following year by organizations such as the World Bank. The figures in this diagram provide a snapshot of the global economy in 2019, but do not necessarily represent the impact of recent developments such as COVID-19.
Top 10 Countries by GDP (2019)
In the one-year period since the last release of official data in 2018, the global economy grew approximately $2 trillion in size—or about 2.3%.
The United States continues to have the top GDP, accounting for nearly one-quarter of the world economy. China also continued to grow its share of global GDP, going from 15.9% to 16.3%.
In recent years, the Indian economy has continued to have an upward trajectory—now pulling ahead of both the UK and France—to become one of the world’s top five economies.
In aggregate, these top 10 countries combine for over two-thirds of total global GDP.
2020 Economic Contractions
So far this year, multiple countries have experienced temporary economic contractions, including many of the top 10 countries listed above.
The following interactive chart from Our World in Data helps to give us some perspective on this turbulence, comparing Q2 economic figures against those from the same quarter last year.
One of the hardest hit economies has been Peru. The Latin American country, which is about the 50th largest in terms of GDP globally, saw its economy contract by 30.2% in Q2 despite efforts to curb the virus early.
Spain and the UK are also feeling the impact, posting quarterly GDP numbers that are 22.1% and 21.7% smaller respectively.
Meanwhile, Taiwan and South Korea are two countries that may have done the best at weathering the COVID-19 storm. Both saw minuscule contractions in a quarter where the global economy seemed to grind to a halt.
Projections Going Forward
According to the World Bank, the global economy could ultimately shrink 5.2% in 2020 – the deepest cut since WWII.
See below for World Bank projections on GDP in 2020 for when the dust settles, as well as the subsequent potential for recovery in 2021.
Source: World Bank Global Economic Prospects, released June 2020
Celebrating his victory over Tyron Woodley on Saturday, UFC fighter Colby Covington took an unexpected jab at LA Lakers player LeBron James:
“I want to dedicate this fight to all the first responders, all the military out there. You keep us safe. Not these ‘woke athletes.’ Not these spineless cowards like LeBron James.”
When a handful of NBA players confronted Covington over his criticism of LeBron, he responded with another insult on Twitter:
“LOL at the snowflakes that believe @KingJames could even last 10 seconds with me! If that coward had the balls or the ability to kick anyone’s ass, Delonte West would’ve lost his teeth long before his meth habit!”
(The insult refers to a rumor that West had an affair with LeBron’s mother.)
Unfazed by the attacks, LeBron made the following comment during an interview following the Lakers’ last-minute victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night:
“Anybody can talk from outside, but if they got into the ring or got into the arena, probably 10 times out of 10, they’d shit their pants.”
Colby Covington is a white Trump supporter. LeBron James is a black Trump critic who frequently speaks out about police brutality. This summer, he described Black Lives Matter as a lifestyle:
“A lot of people kind of use this analogy, talking about Black Lives Matter as a movement. It’s not a movement,” said LeBron after the Lakers defeated the Dallas Mavericks in July. “When you’re black, it’s not a movement. It’s a lifestyle… When you wake up and you’re black, that is what it is. It shouldn’t be a movement. It should be a lifestyle. This is who we are.”
Last month, LeBron said the NBA wouldn’t miss Trump after the president complained about players kneeling during the national anthem to protest systemic racism:
“You trying to make me laugh right now? I appreciate that,” said LeBron after the Lakers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder in August. “I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership, him viewing the game. And that’s all I got to say.”
Conversely, President Trump is a big fan of Covington and actually phoned the fighter after his recent victory over Woodley. “I’m a big fan and I’m proud of you,” said Trump. “You’re tough; you have the right spirit.”
Nate Trujillo sat on a windy ridge and watched California’s largest wildfire, the August Complex, work its way toward the cannabis-growing enclave of Post Mountain-Trinity Pines, where many of the locals are refusing to evacuate.
Law enforcement officers went door to door warning of the danger a few days ago, but “we couldn’t force people to leave,” said Trujillo, a narcotics deputy in the Trinity County Sheriff’s Department. “It’s mainly growers. And a lot of them, they don’t want to leave because that is their livelihood.”
It is a critical time of year in the Emerald Triangle, a three-county corner of Northern California that by some estimates is the nation’s largest cannabis-producing region.
Trinity Pines alone is home to up to 40 legal farms, with more than 10 times that number of illegal grows hidden off its dirt roads, according to people familiar with this part of the Trinity Alps, inland from Humboldt.
Each farm has crops worth half a million dollars or more, and many are within days or weeks of harvest, making growers wary of leaving vulnerable to either flames or thieves. Among the holdouts are numerous Hmong families, originally from Laos and other Southeast Asian countries, who have moved to the area in recent years, along with Bulgarians and Russians and a smattering of neighbors drawn by the remote beauty of towering cedars and firs.
One estimate put the value of the legal crop alone at about $20 million.
“There [are] millions of dollars, millions and millions of dollars of marijuana out there,” Trujillo said. “Some of those plants are 16 feet tall and they are all in the budding stages of growth right now.”
As of Thursday, authorities and locals estimated that as many as 1,000 people remained in Post Mountain and Trinity Pines, communities where gunfire is common. Not long ago, nightfall brought what locals dubbed the “roll call,” in which cannabis cultivators, one after another, shot rounds from pistols and automatic weapons as a warning that outsiders should beware, said Post Mountain volunteer Fire Chief Astrid Dobo, who also manages legal cannabis farms.
“It could be today,” Craft said. “It could be one in the next day or two. Yes, so we are very excited and I know that others are going to be following.
She added, “And what we don’t want to do is we don’t want to isolate anyone, but to bring everyone on board in hopes that this will allow the Iranian citizens to see that people really want peace in the Middle East and they are part of this peace.”
Last week, President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bahraini foreign minister Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani, and Emirati foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed signed a historic peace deal in the White House Rose Garden.
The deal not only opened diplomatic ties but also opened up countries to corresponding tourism and communication. Trump said that similar deals would follow and there’s been suspicion that it could be Oman or Sudan after the two countries sent delegations to the White House ceremony last week.
The first presidential debate is next Tuesday, and I don’t see Biden surviving. His campaign has been playing “hide the Crypt-Keeper” since spring, occasionally proving to the public that he’s still ticking by having him tussle with a teleprompter while “objective journalists” participate in make-believe interviews. Biden’s cognitive decline is now so steep that he begins reading pre-written answers to pre-written questions, forgets what he’s doing halfway through, and settles for stringing syllables together that sound English-y in a non–native speaker sort of way. He is a man forever in search of a thought but finding none, while the press corps propping up his campaign pretends otherwise. All I hear when Old Joe speaks is Grampa Simpson saying, “If I’m not back at the home by nine, they declare me legally dead and collect my insurance.” That might be his best excuse for getting out of the debate in Cleveland. If America sees the real “Sundown” Joe after dusk, this race is over.
Don’t do it, Joe! Getting murdered on national television is no way to end a 47-year career as a Washington welcome mat. It would be better to concede the contest right now than to endure the beating coming your way. Even if he plays nice, President Trump is going to smack you around so viciously that you’ll forget that China’s Xi is your real daddy. You’ll leave the debate stage looking more charred than a Kenosha business after a BLM “peaceful protest.” Better to get in the ring with UFC fighter Colby Covington and endure his beating than take what President Trump has on tap. Run, Joe, run! You don’t want what’s coming.
With only days remaining to find a good place to hide, though, Slow Joe sure does sound as though he’s gonna show. Isn’t that why his campaign has been airing him out lately and dragging him from one painted circle in desolate isolation to the next while he struggles through limited remarks before running away from handpicked reporters who ask only flattering “yes or no” questions? We haven’t seen this much energy from the Biden campaign since Jill chose Kamala to be her running mate. There’s been speculation for months that the basement-dwelling, hair-sniffing groper would never submit himself for examination next to President Trump where the nation could so easily judge the president’s vitality against Biden’s rigor mortis. Standing side by side, President Trump will appear to have sucked the life right from Biden’s Washington establishment corpse. But here we are only days away from Round One of Trump vs. Chump, and Team Grope still hasn’t thrown in the towel.
I can think of only three explanations.
(1) Hidin’ Biden is about to announce the mother of all dog-ate-my-homework excuses for not showing up. The smart money was always on some last-minute demand that Joe be surrounded by Candy Crowley–like “fact-checkers” to interrupt President Trump’s answers with Ministry of Truth real-time spin. (It’s amazing that having 99% of “journalists” actively working on their behalf still isn’t sufficient for the Democrats to win this election; in their minds, a fair debate requires President Trump to go up against his opponent, the moderator, and a team of Democrat political operatives posing as reporters all at once while he’s busy bringing peace to the Middle East.) But now the more likely subterfuge would take advantage of Justice Ginsburg’s passing. If the Biden campaign releases a statement in the next few days claiming that Joe refuses to debate unless President Trump agrees to hold off on nominating a new Supreme Court justice, the press will be absolutely giddy. How brave! And smart! What a real leader! The grifters at the Lincoln Project will be beside themselves. Ol’ Hidin’ can run away from the coming beating under the cover of Justice Ginsburg’s funerary procession, and Jake Tapper and Chris Wallace will applaud his cowardice. It will be just like when Obama prostrated himself before Iran and called it courage, so it would be nothing new for Joe.
(2) Perhaps the Democrats don’t expect their Trojan horse candidate to survive the first debate, either. There’s no faster path toward swapping Kamala Harris for the Washington relic with a segregationist past than to push Old Joe’s body past its natural limits. Obama’s former sidekick can sacrifice himself on the altar of diversity by ensuring that Obama’s preferred candidate is crowned queen before voting has really begun. Kamala was always the candidate of the deep-pocketed money class, the Hollywood glams, and the “new guard” Obama loyalists running the DNC, but she failed so spectacularly during the campaign that she was forced to bow out of the race two months before the Iowa caucuses. Now the power behind the Democrat curtain can turn one of last year’s biggest losers into the official nominee just by riding Old Joe Biden to his grave. For the Democrats, everything’s for the “greater good,” right? From their point of view, what could possibly be better than juicing Ol’ Sundown with one of “Dr. Feelgood’s” magic concoctions of steroids and amphetamines that sends him up the debate stage in such euphoria that he hardly notices when his heart explodes? There’s a reason President Trump keeps bringing up the possibility of a drug test for Joe before next Tuesday. Joe Biden on speed doesn’t make his incoherence suddenly comprehensible. It pushes him right to death’s door and leaves Kamala Harris, a woman who has proven she will say and do anything for power, one ballot-harvested election away from the Oval Office.
(3) Hidin’ Biden and the Democrats may actually believe that Joe can beat President Trump mano a mano. That seems crazy, but then again, it seemed crazy six months ago when the Democrats decided to run for election by looting small businesses, beating up strangers, and burning American cities to the ground. Never underestimate the power of the Democrats’ “reality distortion field” to convince them that real, everyday Americans are behind their radical agenda to rip up the Constitution, topple the Washington Monument, and usher in a Marxist utopia that rules over the heartland for a thousand years. Every step of the way, the Democrats have underestimated Donald Trump. They expected Hillary to destroy him with ease. They expected the Mueller-Weissmann special counsel inquisition to save Washington from the voters’ reckoning. They expected President Trump to cower from their use of the CIA and FBI to remove him from office. They expected his use of tariffs against China and his realignment of power in Asia to backfire against him. They expected his push for Middle East peace to fail. They expected his moves to strengthen our relationship with Poland and other Central European countries to achieve nothing. They expected his pro-American economic growth policies, strong defense of America’s heritage, and bold support for the unborn to somehow turn off black and Hispanic Americans. Every step of the way, they’ve miscalculated.
So maybe they’re really about to send Joe Biden into his own bloodbath at the hands of President Trump this Tuesday, and they really are too stupid to know what’s about to happen. One way or another, come September 29, it’s lights out for Sundown Joe.
Hat tip to “Surfthewaves.”
The United States needs one billion people to keep pace with China’s expanding strategic power, according to Glenn Beck, owner of TheBlaze TV network.
“Having ONE BILLION AMERICANS is a goal worth striving for and crucial to keeping China from overtaking us as the top global power,” Beck tweeted after a conversation with progressive author Matt Yglesias, who has recently published a book urging the tripling of the U.S. population from 330 million to 1 billion.
Yglesias’ book, One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger, calls for roughly 670 million additional residents, including both immigrants and native-born.
In 2013 and 2014, Yglesias supported the “Gang of Eight” amnesty, which would have flooded the U.S. labor market with approximately 30 million in ten years, boosted investors over wage earners, and shifted political power towards the pro-diversity progressives who are increasingly allied with Wall Street.
Yglesias, a top editor at the progressive site Vox.com, told Beck:
We’re sort of the number one power in the world. We have been for a long time, 100 years or more. But that’s slipping, right? We are facing a sort of relative decline vis-à-vis China. Their economy is growing very rapidly. In a lot of ways, that’s a good thing; global poverty has gone down a lot. It’s good to see other people doing well. But when you have a country of 1.2 billion people, it’s four times our population. If they get to half of our per capita wealth, they become a much stronger economy than we are in the aggregate. Right. And so we should do something about that. Cracking down on Chinese video meme apps is not going to get the job done right. What we need to do is something bigger.
The claim prompted much criticism on Twitter:
Beck agreed with Yglesias but argued that incomers should work hard, speak English, and accept the civic and constitutional principles of the United States:
This is a place where you have no argument with most of the conservatives that I know. … I’m looking to understand. I don’t know where you get the view that conservatives don’t want immigrants. Donald Trump is a symptom. He is not a cause. He’s a symptom. He’s a symptom of [the elite] not listening to people who love their country, are worried about the culture of the country, worried about the Constitution. … We’re worried about the loss of things. And so what happens with immigration is you have wild open borders, which after September 11, we all should know that’s just stupid. …. But you also have lost the idea of merit. I think every conservative that I know has no problem with people coming in if they are going to come in and work, and they want to better their lives, which is almost every immigrant I have seen from, you know, Mexico and Latin America. They work far harder than most Americans, especially American kids. It renews us. It’s good. But we can’t lose the culture — meaning we can’t say, “We’re two languages, and it doesn’t matter what you think of the United States.” If you came here and you know why you came here and you’re willing to work, you are going to be the best American.
“I’m glad to hear you say that,” Yglesias responded. “I wish that all conservatives thought the way you’re thinking about immigration.”
If you’re coming here to be able to say, “I want to be a part of this” without shedding who you are and what you brought, but melt into this, you’re still holding up the [civic and constitutional] principles, not [just] the flag … not that jingoistic crap; I hate that stuff because it obscures the principles, the principles that made us different. And if you hold up those principles, that’s, I think, what most people are worried about, the deep change.
Beck did not explain how the nation could accept almost two immigrants for every American, who would supercharge the progressive strategy of rule by chaotic diversity and exacerbate the existing cheap-labor trends that favor coastal stockholders and also preserve the nation’s civic and constitutional principles.
Yglesias’ population idea “is the most ludicrous manifestation of a pretty widespread view of immigration as a tool for America’s elite to compete with the rest of the world,” Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies, told Breitbart News on September 11.
“What he is proposing is a nation-breaking policy,” said Krikorian. Immigration policy should “serve the interests of individual Americans,” rather than the personal interests of globalist advocates, he said, adding:
For all his flaws, [President Donald] Trump understands that government policy, including the federal immigration program, should be designed to help Americans thrive and live better lives. It is not to play some kind of geopolitical chess game.
What should be more important for the U.S. government? The gas station attendant in Iowa or the state of geopolitics in Burundi? The gas station attendant is the one whom the American government is supposed to serve.
Krikorian added, “It is almost comical to hear from the left-wing editor of Vox that we need to be engaging in a geopolitical population race with China. … It is as if [Sen.] John McCain got reincarnated”:
DeGeneres: “I’m a pretty good actress. I don’t think that I’m that good that I could come out here every day for 17 years and fool you.”
In the opening of the season 18 premiere of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, DeGeneres addressed the controversy to her virtual audience.
“If you’re watching, because you love me, thank you,” DeGeneres says. “If you’re watching it because you don’t love me, welcome. How was everybody’s summer? Good. Yeah, mine was great. Terrific. I’m so happy to be back in the studio. There are a lot of things I want to talk about. I’ve been looking forward to addressing it all directly and unfortunately talking directly to people has been illegal for six months.”
“As you may have heard this summer, there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show,” she continued. “And then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously. And I want to say, I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power. I realized that with that comes responsibility and I take responsibility for what happens at my show. This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I am Ellen DeGeneres. My name is there. My name is there. My name is on underwear. We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace and what we want for the future. We have made the necessary changes. And today we are starting a new chapter.”
“There were also articles in the press and on social media that said that I am not who I appear to be on TV because I became known as the ‘Be Kind Lady,'” she continued. “And here’s how that happened. I started saying ‘be kind to one another’ after a young man named Tyler Clemente took his own life after being bullied for being gay. I thought the world needed more kindness. And it was a reminder that we all needed that. And I think we need it more than ever right now. Being known as the ‘Be Kind Lady’ is a tricky position to be in. So let me give you some advice out there. If anybody’s thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the ‘Be Kind Lady.'”
“The truth is I am that person that you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things. I sometimes I get sad. I get mad. I get anxious. I get frustrated. I get impatient. And I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress and I’m especially working on the impatience thing because, and it’s not going well because it’s not happening fast enough. I am a talk show host and you know that. But maybe some of you know I was an actress. I’ve played a straight woman in movies. So I’m a pretty good actress. I don’t think that I’m that good that I could come out here every day for 17 years and fool you. This is me. And my intention is to always be the best person I can be. And if I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that. If that’s ever the case, I have let myself down and I’ve hurt myself as well, because I always try to grow as a person. I look at everything that comes into my life as an opportunity to learn. I got into this business to make people laugh and feel good.”
“Now I am a boss of 270 people, 270 people who help make this show. I want is for every single one of them to be happy and to be proud to work here. This has been a horrible summer for people all around the world. People are losing their jobs. People are losing loved ones to a pandemic. People are losing their homes and lives in raging fires that are going on. There’s blatant racial injustice all around us. I watched the news and I feel like where, where do we even begin? So my hope is that we can still be a place of happiness and joy. I still want to be the one hour a day that people can go to escape and laugh. I want to continue to help all the people that we help every day. And I’m committed to making this the best season that we have ever had.”
DeGeneres also congratulated Stephen “tWitch” Bosson on his promotion to co-executive producer on the talk show and will be joined during Monday’s episode by comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish. The show’s season premiere week will also have appearances by Kerry Washington, Alec Baldwin, SuperM ,and Kris Jenner.
Over the course of just a few months, DeGeneres has gone from a daytime queen with the mantra “be kind” to a vilified figure on social media. A slew of employees and others have accused the trailblazing talk show host of fostering a toxic work environment, one that included allegations of sexual misconduct, racism, and a “culture of fear.” Studio Warner Bros. confirmed that executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman have left the show (and have denied any wrongdoing).
DeGeneres, meanwhile, repeatedly apologized to her staff. As previously reported by EW, DeGeneres spoke in a Zoom meeting with her staff on Aug. 17 about being introverted and having good days and bad days, which caused her to keep to herself at times, something she acknowledged could be misinterpreted as her not being nice. “Does that mean I’m perfect? No. I’m not,” she was heard saying. “I’m a multi-layered person, and I try to be the best person I can be and I try to learn from my mistakes.” The staff was also given a new perks package that included additional paid time off and an improved medical leave policy.
Something is happening in America, and it should sound the alarm for every confessing Christian. Simply put, hostile efforts in many cities now threaten to suppress the First Amendment rights of all people to exercise our faith freely. In unprecedented acts of government-authorized injustice, Christians are being told they cannot gather for worship, they cannot sing songs of praise, and they cannot observe church ordinances.
Just last week, politicians in Seattle installed temporary fencing and security guards around Gas Works Park to prevent us from holding a “Let Us Worship” public outdoor service. Similarly, at Cal Anderson Park, Antifa protesters shouted obscenities, intimidated worshipers, cursed out my wife and four children, and damaged our equipment.
While followers of Jesus are being told we cannot worship in public spaces, violent paid rioters are taking over our streets and being given license to occupy and destroy entire sections of our cities. Churches are being covered in graffiti and even burned while civic leaders call for defunding the police. Never did I dream that this would happen, and never have I been more determined to do something about it.
The Church Is Being Persecuted Here in America
For the past 20 years, I’ve taken my entire family all over the world in support of the persecuted church. These efforts have brought greater exposure for dictatorial regimes and their anti-Christian tyrants in places such as North Korea, Iran, China, and Islamic Africa. In some parts of the world, Christians routinely face prison and even torture for nothing more than simple acts of faith, such as reading their Bibles, praying, and peaceably gathering with other believers to worship.
Now in major cities across America, godless politicians are adopting tactics that more closely resemble those of jihadist ayatollahs than men and women who are sworn to uphold the rule of law. Earlier this year in Kentucky, an elected leader tried to “criminalize” the celebration of Easter and would have gotten away with it if not for a federal judge, appointed by President Donald Trump, who blocked him.
In Virginia, the governor tried to stop Christians from gathering to worship under penalty of arrest and imprisonment. In Minnesota, the attorney general enforced the governor’s executive order that banned churches from worshipping but allowed dog groomers and golf courses to remain open.
In my home state of California, Gov. Gavin Newsom and many large-city mayors have ramped up their fight against the freedom of religion. As I write this, elected officials in Sacramento and Los Angeles are wringing their hands in desperation as they try to figure out how to shut down church leaders such as Grace Community Church’s John MacArthur.
In Portland, one of our brothers was stalked by an armed “protester” and shot at point-blank range while bystanders looked on with their phones, recording the whole thing. The victim, 39-year-old Jay Danielson, had weeks before joined hundreds of Christians who came to Oregon’s largest city for one of our “Let Us Worship” gatherings.
Truly, the actions of militant, anti-Christian forces, who want to shut down our churches, silence our worship, and even shoot our fellow believers in the streets, have stirred the soul of the American church. Where we have stood in solidarity with Christians around the world whose hostile governments threaten their religious freedom, we now stand with each other on our native soil.
I keep telling myself and my fellow Christians from every walk of life that this isn’t what America was founded to be. This isn’t how we are supposed to live. I will not stand idly by and watch it happen.
America Needs Revival
The American experiment, now approaching its 250th year, has proved our ability for more than two centuries to withstand foreign attacks from rogue states that despise and reject the freedoms we hold dear. What we face now is not a new threat; it is just no longer a foreign threat. The present madness has arisen from our own soil, cultivated and encouraged by our own politicians.
All across America, however, Christians are rising up. In recent weeks, thousands upon thousands have gathered and marched to assert their God-given freedoms. I’ve stood before them, armed with only a copy of the Bible and a simple guitar. People have asked me why we are holding these “worship protests” across the country, and the answer is simple: God is moving, and our nation needs it now more than ever in my lifetime.
In Seattle, a self-proclaimed satanist came to protest our worship, met the glory of God, and gave his life to Jesus. He is not alone. Thousands of hurting people have encountered the love of Christ in dozens of America’s most troubled cities through the simple act of gathering together in worship.
The church I believe in ministers to the sick and hurting; it doesn’t hide in the darkness. Jesus touched contagious lepers, and our fellow Americans need His healing touch right now. They need the bold, warm embrace of God’s love.
We are just getting started, with worship gatherings planned in Madison, Minneapolis, Kenosha, Chicago, and many more — culminating in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 25. I refuse to seek permission from politicians to adhere to my calling, the church’s calling.
Let me be very clear: Our fists are not held up in defiance; our hands are lifted in praise. Our voices are not raised in shouts of hatred, but our songs of hope and prayers for revival are piercing the darkness around us. God is not finished with America yet.
With each passing day, it seems Americans are more and more at each other’s throats. Black Lives Matter mobs accost people sitting outside at restaurants. Pro-mask and anti-mask agitators accost one another in grocery stores, even wishing death on toddlers over debates about the coronavirus pandemic. Republicans and Democrats each fear the other side is trying to interfere with the sanctity of the vote in the 2020 election, and it seems the stakes have never been higher. Predictions of a protracted and uncertain election have sparked concerns about a potential civil war that seems to have started on the streets of Portland and Kenosha.
In the midst of this chaos and fury, it seems America is ripping apart at the seams. But there is perhaps no better time than the present to deliver a full-throated defense of the system that holds all these passions in check.
The United States of America was not designed to be a winner-take-all system where a 50-percent-plus-one majority calls all the shots and rolls over the rights of the minority. We cannot always get what we want — and that is a good and vitally important feature of the system built upon our magnificent Constitution.
The Founding Fathers drafted a genius system to give the majority the power it rightly demands while seeking to protect the rights of those with far less political heft. That system frustrates both the Left and the Right in different ways, but the system itself is vitally important — especially with tensions as high as they are.
Democrats, believing they have both the true majority of voters and the moral imperative to enforce their will on the country, openly plot about changing the rules of the game. When they took control of the House in 2019, they drafted legislation to abolish the Electoral College. When the Senate confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, some responded by demanding the abolition of the Senate. After President Donald Trump nominated originalist justices to reverse some of the liberal activist Supreme Court rulings of past decades, Democrats called for packing the Supreme Court.
The nefarious New York Times “1619 Project” provides more impetus for drastic attacks on the U.S. Constitution by insisting that America’s true founding came not on July 4, 1776 but in 1619, when the first black slaves arrived in Virginia. (In truth, slaves arrived in the future U.S. long before this date, but who says the project has to be historically accurate?) Redefining America as inherently racist is yet another attempt to undermine the Constitution.
Rejecting the Constitution would be a truly tragic mistake for either political party, and the Left’s rush to change the rules of the game is perhaps one of the strongest arguments against Democrats up and down the ballot. Americans should hold fast to the Constitution, and that means denying a future
Harris administration — oh, sorry, I meant “Biden administration” — from teaming up with Democrats in Congress and altering the terms of the deal.
Americans should know the basic structure of the Constitution, but Constitution Day calls for a brief refresher.
The virtues of the Constitution
The U.S. federal government has limited powers, balanced by the Bill of Rights which reserves rights to the states and to the people. In the federal government, Congress makes the laws, the president and his administration enforce the laws, and the Supreme Court manages legal disputes.
Each of these “branches” of government must work within strict limits, and the other branches have the ability to restrain them. Congress consists of the House of Representatives (elected by popular vote to represent a congressional district) and the Senate (elected by popular vote to represent each state — in the Founders’ original version, the state legislatures elected senators). The Founders considered legislation the key power, and so they required both houses to agree for any bill to become law.
The president has the ability to veto any piece of legislation, at which point Congress can override the veto — pass the bill, anyway — with a two-thirds majority in both houses. The president can also appoint Supreme Court justices and federal judges, who must in turn be confirmed by the Senate. Congress can remove the president through impeachment, which requires a majority vote in the House and a two-thirds majority in the Senate.
The Supreme Court adjudicates disputes between the two other branches.
Over the past 100 years, the Progressive movement chipped away at parts of the Constitution. In the New Deal, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created a vast bureaucracy that effectively made law, usurping the legislative power from Congress. Congressional gridlock has made it more convenient for both parties to pass the buck on divisive issues to the administration or the Supreme Court.
Under the Constitution, issues like prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity — and the corresponding need to protect religious freedom — call for Congress to compromise and make law. But neither Democrats nor Republicans want to compromise, so the Trump administration has vocally defended religious freedom while the Supreme Court usurped its authority by redefining federal law and opening up a Pandora’s Box of thorny legal issues.
Even in this confused state, the different branches of the federal government have checked one another. On religious freedom in particular, Congress actually checked the Supreme Court. In Employment Division v. Smith (1990), the Supreme Court upheld the State of Oregon’s refusal to give unemployment benefits to two Native Americans fired from their jobs after testing positive for drugs they used in a religious ceremony. Both conservatives and liberals came together to advocate for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed.
The Constitution includes yet another check on federal power in the form of defending the rights of the states against the federal government. According to the Founders’ vision and the Christian principle of subsidiarity, government leaders make the best decisions for a community at the lowest level. A mayor will better reflect his constituents than a governor, for example, and a governor will better reflect his constituents than a president.
While many have faulted Trump for not doing more to fight the coronavirus pandemic, it would arguably have been illegal for the president to issue a nationwide lockdown, for example. Many of the lockdown restrictions that cities and states have put in place have arguably trampled on their constituents’ liberties, most notably religious freedom. Had Trump attempted any such thing, it would almost certainly have backfired badly, and if Joe Biden were to attempt any such thing as president (should he win in November), the national uproar will be deafening.
Stay the course
Americans often misremember the Civil War. It did not begin because the North wanted to impose the abolition of slavery on the South but because the South wanted to change the terms of the agreement after the South had long dominated the Union and used that control to expand slavery.
In the decade leading up to the Civil War, Southern Democrats fought to extend slavery north and west. The Founders had forged a grand bargain to allow the evil institution of slavery while restricting its spread. In 1820, Congress drew a line, saying that any state north of the line would enter the Union as free while states that entered below the line could have slavery. Yet Southerners started defending slavery as a positive good and arguing for “popular sovereignty,” the notion that white landowners in states north of the 1820 line would vote on whether the state would be slave or free. Abraham Lincoln grew to prominence by opposing this notion.
The South held tremendous sway in the federal government. In 1854, Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, opening up Kansas and Nebraska to “popular sovereignty.” Pro-slavery and anti-slavery settlers rushed into Kansas, seeking to tip the balance toward their side. The settlers fought and killed one another in a prelude to the Civil War known as “Bleeding Kansas.”
With the benefit of hindsight, Americans see “Bleeding Kansas” as a precursor to — if not the very first tremors of — the Civil War. In one sense, the Civil War had a “soft opening” in 1854, before the main event in 1861.
Like the Democrats before the Civil War, the far-left Democrats of today are trying to change the deal to force their increasingly radical agenda on the American people. Left-leaning journalists and politicians cover for looting and rioting, calling it “peaceful protest,” and suggesting the riots should continue — as if to blackmail America into electing Democrats.
Conservatives and Republicans should not respond in kind but rather embrace the principles of the Founding and the Constitution. America’s grand experiment as a democratic republic must continue — and Republicans are the champions of that experiment this November.