New York's Satanic Temple wants to put its own Satanic monument on the grounds of Oklahoma's capitol building in Oklahoma City, and they're using legal channels to do so. Enough people think this is a good idea that the Satanists raised $30,000 in a crowd-funding campaign to build their statue.
— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) May 1, 2014
That's a mock-up for a bronze statue of Baphomet — a pagan figure dating back to the 1300s, more recently embraced by Satanists — next to children. ("We want kids to see that Satanism is where the fun is," temple spokesman Lucien Greaves told CNN in December.) After the Oklahoma-bound statue is cast, the Satanic Temple will retain the mold to "pop these things out like evil, terribly expensive action figures whenever they need a new one," as Smith puts it.
The temple's crusade to conquer Oklahoma is a reaction to the installation of a privately financed monument to the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Oklahoma capitol by State Rep. Mike Ritze (R) in 2012. The Satanists argue that the First Amendment doesn't allow Oklahoma to implicitly endorse Christianity (and Judaism) without letting the worshippers of the dark lord put up their own statue, too.
And they have a pretty strong legal case, actually — assuming a judge recognizes the Satanic Temple as a religion (unlike the Church of Satan, the Temple of Satan is, by Greaves' admission, more a group of activists/provocateurs who view Satan as a "literary construct"). Right now Oklahoma is avoiding the constitutional showdown on a technicality. Its Capitol Preservation Commission, which handles approvals of all monuments for the capitol grounds, isn't accepting any new applications until the state settles a lawsuit from the ACLU over the Ten Commandments monument.
But it doesn't matter what the federal courts rule, really. Oklahoma legislators will come up with a reason to exclude the monument to Baphomet — this is a state that precipitated a constitutional crisis so it could execute two convicted murderers — and they will have popular support to do so. Oklahoma is overwhelmingly Christian; according to Pew data from 2008, the state is 53 percent evangelical Protestant, 16 percent mainline Protestant, 13 percent Catholic, 12 percent unaffiliated, and 6 percent "other."
As a last resort — and I doubt it will come to this — Oklahoma will remove the Ten Commandments monument rather than allow Satanic statues on state property. And that's probably the point of mocking up Baphomet. Next stop: Texas? Peter Weber
Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) hasn't really succeeded yet in standing out in a large pool of Republican presidential hopefuls. His polling numbers are no great shakes, and they even caused him to miss out on one recent primetime debate.
Chris Christie is a solid, pro-life conservative who has managed to govern in liberal New Jersey, face down the big public unions, and win a second term. Gov. Christie can work across the aisle, but he won't get rolled by the bureaucrats. We don't need as President some well-meaning person from the private sector who has no public experience.
Gov. Christie is right for these dangerous times. He has prosecuted terrorists and dealt admirably with major disasters. But the one reason he may be best-suited to lead during these times is because he tells it like it is and isn't shy about it. [Union Leader]
— Chris Christie (@ChrisChristie) November 29, 2015
Philip Williams, a 69-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, said he returned to West Hempstead, New York, in August after recovering from a knee replacement and ensuing complications to find that his home had been demolished.
— IndyStar (@indystar) November 29, 2015
Williams has filed a notice of claim, the first step in filing a lawsuit against the town, The Associated Press reported Saturday. The veteran is seeking reimbursement for the house itself and for his belongings, which include his clothing, photos of his children, and his late wife's engagement ring. He has also asked police for a criminal inquiry.
"I'm angry and I'm upset. It's just wrong on so many levels," Williams told AP. "My mortgage was up to date, my property taxes were up to date...everything was current and fine."
Town officials said they held a public hearing before demolishing the house, which they considered a "dilapidated dwelling," after looking into neighbors' complaints. They also said they made attempts to notify Williams of the decision while he was recovering in Florida, a claim the veteran has disputed.
"You see people who went through a tornado or a flood and they say they lost everything, but that's not preventable," Williams said. "This was preventable." Julie Kliegman
Not only is baby Princess Charlotte fourth in line for the British throne, but she also continues to be unfairly cute. Kensington Palace tweeted out two new photos of the 6-month-old Sunday that were captured by her mother Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. Brace yourself for the adorableness of the baby and her stuffed animal below:
The Duke and Duchess hope everyone enjoys these new photos of Princess Charlotte as much as they do. pic.twitter.com/ylZ7VvOuIY
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) November 29, 2015
"The Duke and Duchess continue to receive warm messages about Princess Charlotte from all around the world and they hope that everyone enjoys these lovely photos as much as they do," USA Today reports the palace said in a statement. Julie Kliegman
Republican presidential hopefuls including Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, and Carly Fiorina have condemned Friday's fatal shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, while denying a link between the attack and pro-life rhetoric.
Authorities have identified Robert Lewis Dear, 57, as the suspected gunman. He reportedly expressed his pro-life sentiments to law enforcement officials when they took him into custody Friday. Trump dismissed the gunman as a "maniac," on NBC's Meet the Press, and defended the edited video footage that pro-life advocates have used to question how Planned Parenthood handles fetal tissue donations.
Huckabee also sought to separate the pro-life movement from Dear's alleged actions.
"Regardless of why he did it, what he did is domestic terrorism," Huckabee said on CNN's State of the Union. "And what he is did is absolutely abominable, especially to those of us in the pro-life movement, because there's nothing about any of us that would condone or in any way look the other way at something like this."
On Fox News Sunday, Fiorina criticized liberals for their response to the shooting, which has included a defense of Planned Parenthood's women's health services.
"This is so typical of the left, to immediately begin demonizing a messenger because they don't agree with the message," she said. Julie Kliegman
French police officers used tear gas to disperse a crowd of hundreds of demonstrators at the Place de la République on Sunday. They also detained about 100 people who had projectiles or other suspicious objects, The Associated Press reports.
The demonstrators were protesting to call on world leaders for a global commitment to curbing climate change, one day before the start of a landmark summit in Paris.
The Paris police chief said the demonstrators violated the ban on protests being enforced under France's ongoing state of emergency, which authorities put in place after the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks.
Watch AP video footage of police officers breaking up the protest below. Julie Kliegman
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty released 326 enhanced images Saturday showing a frame-by-frame analysis of the November 2014 fatal shooting by Cleveland police officers of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy carrying a toy gun.
The images, enhanced by the Washington-based Forensic Video Solutions, seemingly back up reports released by the prosecutor suggesting Timothy Loehmann, the officer who shot Rice, may have believed Rice was armed with a real gun, The Plain Dealer reports.
The Rice family's attorneys are challenging that notion, USA Today reports, and asking the prosecutor to let their own use-of-force experts testify before the grand jury, which is hearing evidence to decide if Loehmann and the other officer involved in the shooting should be criminally indicted.
"The frames contain editorial comments that attempt to make excuses for the officers," Rice family attorney Subodh Chandra wrote in a statement. "Tamir, for example, may be lifting his arm in shocked reaction to being shot. The effort to characterize the evidence is hardly fair play and is one of many reasons the Rice family and clergy throughout Cleveland lack confidence in the prosecutor's fairness in this matter."
The retired neurosurgeon called the refugees he met in the Azraq camp "very hard working, determined people, which should only enhance the overall economic health of the neighboring Arab countries that accept and integrate them into the general population." Carson said the American people, as opposed to the government, should collect billions of dollars to improve the conditions of refugee camps in the Middle East.
Many Republican presidential candidates, governors, and legislators have called on the White House to modify its plan to accept up to 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year, citing security concerns in the wake of the Nov. 13 Paris terrorist attacks carried out by the Islamic State. In response, President Obama and other White House officials have said that the current U.S. process for vetting refugees is already thorough. Julie Kliegman