- As Americans gather together this week and pause to give thanks to God for our many blessings as individuals, families and a nation, prayer seems to be held in lower and lower esteem, but Pastor Timothy Keller's new book says instinctively humbling ourselves before God is critical in our relationship with the Lord and in making our society as strong as possible.
Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. His latest book is "Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God." Long after starting his church, Keller confesses he still struggled to have a consistent prayer life. Around the time the 9/11 terrorist attacks struck his city, he and his family were going through other crises, including a cancer diagnosis for him. Keller says his wife challenged him to be much more diligent about prayer and drove the point home in an unforgettable way.
"I was never disciplined enough about prayer until my wife gave me an illustration. She says, 'Imagine that the doctor told you that you had a fatal disease or it would be fatal if you didn't take a medicine. What if he said to you that every night at 11:00, you have to take a pill. If you forget or you don't take that pill, you'll be dead by morning.' She said, 'Would you ever forget that pill? Would you ever say oh, I was too busy or I just didn't remember it? No, you would never forget and you would never miss because you knew you had to," said Keller.
He says the light went on about the critical importance of prayer at that moment.
"The reason we're constantly saying, 'Oh, I got too tired' is because we really don't believe we have to pray. We really don't believe it. If we believed we had to pray. If we believed it was absolutely as necessary for us to make it in life and to have a relationship with God and to be what God wants us to be, if we see that it's absolutely necessary, we're going to do it every night. And you know what, the penny dropped for me," said Keller.
According to Keller, there exists a tension in the approach to prayer of many people. One the one hand, he says, humanity is hard-wired to know there is a God who is infinitely more powerful than they are.
"Most people have an instinct that there's something bigger out there and also that we are dependent on it. And in times of insufficiency, when we feel we don't have the wisdom, we don't have the ability, we don't have the strength to do something, when we feel insufficient we just instinctively reach out to that greater, higher power," said Keller.
But if the instinct is there, why is it so difficult for even many devout believers to maintain a disciplined prayer life? Keller chalks it up to another human nature.
"I think the instinct of prayer is there. At the same time, the practice of prayer on the other end is very, very difficult because we don't like being insufficient. That's the answer," said Keller.
"When you're feeling insufficient, it leads you to pray, but nobody likes to stay in that condition. Because we want to be self-sufficient, we feel like we should be self-sufficient so we don't find prayer, in another sense, very comforting or satisfying. So it's instinctive but difficult because we are insufficient but we don't like not feeling self-sufficient," said Keller.
Whose prayers does God actually hear? Keller says the Bible provides some interesting case studies on this question. He points to a Psalm that states, 'If I cherish iniquity in my heart, He will not hear me.' However, a passage in the book of Jonah shows unbelieving people in Ninevah crying out to God and being heard. In another account, God even answers prayer from the evil Israeli King Ahab. Keller says the truth on this issue is somewhat layered.
"If you're not praying in Jesus' name, God is under no obligation to hear your prayer. If you don't have faith in Christ, if you're not praying in Jesus' name, He has no obligation to hear. But sometimes, just out of His Mercy and in His wisdom, He does," said Keller.
The Bible is full of many different kinds of prayer. Prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of praise to God, prayers for God to act in a certain way and even prayers for the destruction of enemies can be found among others. There are different approaches to prayer throughout Christianity. Some believers insist on spontaneous prayer, others prefer heartfelt recitations of written prayers while still others follow a consistent structure of prayer without anything on paper. Which approach does Keller endorse?
"Yep!" he quipped, clearly approving of all of the above.
"Seriously, I mean that. Running through an acronym like adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication (ACTS), so it's a discipline. Just pouring your heart out. Just saying here's what's on my heart. Written prayers, where you actually take a prayer out of some prayer book. Spontaneous prayers. You really do need to do all those things. There needs to be a balance of that," said Keller.
Keller's book also comes at a time of intense political division and a culture that appears to be coarsening by the day. Keller says prayer absolutely has a place in the solution but there's a bigger immediate challenge.
"Our public culture now doesn't even respect religion much. They see it as a problem. At the very, very least, there needs to be respect for people of faith or we're really going to be going in a very, very bad direction," said Keller.
He says there is no doubt a nation turned towards God and engaged in prayer would witness vast improvement.
"The more people who turn to God in prayer, the more people that seek to follow His will, we're salt and light. There will never be a completely godly society. There couldn't be. There never has been. But the more people who are seeking Him, the more salt and light and the healthier society will be," said Keller.
- Americans frustrated with the the relationship between law enforcement and black communities have legitimate concerns, but a prominent conservative black attorney says the violent reaction to the grad jury decision in Missouri Monday set back efforts to improve the justice system and President Obama's comments and track record only make matters worse.
On Monday, St. Louis County, Missouri, District Attorney Robert McCulloch announced the grand jury considering five separate charges against Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson determined the evidence did not warrant any indictments against Wilson in the August shooting death of Michael Brown. While city, state and national leaders pleaded for calm regardless of the decision, protests quickly turned violent and dozens of Ferguson businesses were looted or burned. However, no injuries were reported.
Attorney Shelby Emmett is a member of the national advisory council for the Project 21 Black Leadership Network. She says there is deep-seeded mistrust of law enforcement in many heavily black communities, but she says nothing on Monday night helped to address them.
"I think it's utterly shameful," said Emmett, who says she has her own painful experiences with law enforcement that help her identify with some of the exasperation in Ferguson.
Nonetheless, she says there's a right way and a wrong way to express that frustration and far too many Ferguson protesters chose the wrong way.
"Rioting and destroying your own communities has never, ever solved anything. I think the best way to approach this in a new era is for us as black people to become more involved in our communities, to join these police forces to start changing and having a positive impact instead of us always reacting," said Emmett.
She believes Monday's nights violence and property destruction only made the racial challenges in the country greater.
"I think how people acted last night just set us back in terms of a people and as a movement of supposedly wanting justice under the law and equal treatment. Too many of us are looking at this emotionally and not trying to look at this based off the law. And that's both sides. A lot of people were quick to defend the officer. A lot of people were quick to condemn him, based off simply nothing more than experience or personal resentments or attitudes," said Emmett.
Attorneys for the Brown family, and others who thought an indictment of Wilson was appropriate, accuse McCulloch and his team of not being nearly tough enough on Wilson in his appearance before the grand jury. They also say prosecutors approached the process all wrong. Many times, prosecutors will present their strongest evidence of guilt in order to secure an indictment and then the entirety of the evidence comes into play at trial. McCulloch is under fire for bringing all of the evidence forward to the grand jury, but Emmett thinks it was the right thing to do.
"What I would surmise that he was probably doing was, 'Look, we know that we're going to have these potential problems. There might be protests or there might be this. I'm going to give the jury every little teeny, tiny thing that we have, so nobody can say that we didn't show x or if we would have put x,y and z together instead of just x and y, they would have got an indictment.' I think he just wanted to put everything out there," said Emmett.
Regardless of the decision, Emmett says the grand jury deserves credit for going about its work under extreme public scrutiny.
"They had a lot to deal with. It wasn't just the case they were dealing with but also the social issues going on around it, the fears of protests, the threats. For them to still take this very seriously, which they did, instead of caving in to fear or being concerned with what could be the consequence, it's obvious that they took their job very seriously," said Emmett.
Shortly after McCulloch finished his presentation of the grand jury's decision, President Obama made a statement from the White House. Obama sis the decision should be respected because it was the grand jury's to make. He also implored the protesters to remain peaceful, noting that Brown's parents had made the same plea.
Other parts of the statement, however, highlighted the distrust he says many black Americans have toward police and the judicial system.
"The situation in Ferguson speaks to broader challenges that we still face as a nation, The fact is, in too many parts of this country, a deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of color. Some of this is the result of the legacy of racial discrimination in this country," said Obama, who elaborated further on this point.
"We have made enormous progress in race relations over the course of the past several decades. But what is also true is that there are still problems and communities of color aren't just making these problems up," he said.
Emmett agrees that these are sensitive issues that need to be addressed and resolved to advance as a nation, but she blasted Obama's "horrible timing" with protesters already on edge. She further slammed Obama for squandering a unique opportunity to make progress on racial issues.
"President Obama had a real chance to have a dialogue with everybody, just kind of put it out there, hold blacks accountable for us, hold everybody accountable for their own actions and have a real discussion. Instead he does the opposite. He waits for either a specific racial issue to happen or he allows it to become more of a racial issue than it should have been," said Emmett.
She believes the nation is far more divided on demographic lines after six years of Obama as president and she says he deserves a good part of the blame.
"The president is more so using people, using groups, be it illegal aliens, women, African-Americans. I think he uses these groups to push an agenda or distract. I don't think any of this is genuine on his part and actually wanting to address these issues that actually real, substantive and genuine.
Emmett has a two-step approach that she believes would go a long way towards lowering tensions and fostering an honest national discussion. First, she says, is to get rid of some familiar faces.
"First and foremost, we've got to rid of this idea that black people as a whole have some 'leader'. These fake leaders, your Al Sharpton and your Jesse Jackson, are so far removed from what their original purpose and worthwhileness was that they just need to go away. That's the first thing," said Emmett.
She believes that first step would set the stage for a more productive national dialogue.
"We all do need to have a real conversation about this. I grew up in a mixed household myself, so I understand how some people may be uncomfortable with it or you're taught that the polite thing to do is not address it. We just need to be honest and up front, but that conversation has to come from everybody coming from a basic understanding of is it going to start where we are today or are we going to keep looking back on the past," said Emmett.
- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is on his way out and retired U.S. Navy Captain Chuck Nash says it had to happen as Obama's inner circle kept Hagel away from the president and Hagel then went public with numerous frustrations.
Nash says it's just the latest development in a disjointed foreign policy that has not responded effectively to numerous international crises and seems determined to chart a dangerous course by doggedly pursuing a nuclear deal with Iran that does not make the U.S. or any of our allies any safer.
The New York Times broke the story of Hagel's resignation Monday morning, but the paper made it clear the Obama administration was forcing him out the door. Unnamed White House personnel suggested Hagel "was not up to the job".
Nash says Hagel was an odd choice from the start and believes Obama simply wanted a Republican leader at the Pentagon as cover for major spending cuts conducted through sequestration. Ultimately, however, Nash says Monday's news was inevitable as a growing frustration between Hagel and the White House became clear.
"Somebody's got to go. The wheels are coming off all over the world. Things are in big trouble. Between the White House not having faith in Sec. Hagel and the discontent in the Pentagon, it's time for somebody new, no matter how much your heart is in the job," said Nash, noting that the nation is not well-served by a defense secretary kept at arm's length.
"A lot of the senior (military) folks, they need a secretary who has the president's ear, so that when they want to do stuff, they can talk to the secretary and hash it out and have their views forcefully represented over in the White House. That's not what happened. President Obama surrounds himself with people he knows and trusts. That inner circle has his ear, and no one else," said Nash.
The last straw, Nash believes, was a private disagreement between Hagel and National Security Adviser Susan Rice that quickly went public.
"He sent a memo to Susan Rice two weeks before the midterms, saying, 'Hey, you're micromanaging us over here, nitpicking. We need to knock that stuff off,'" he said.
Hagel then went on to give numerous interviews about national security policies that needed to change. While Hagel was not mentioned as the source in the stories, he was quickly discovered to be responsible and his days on the job were numbered.
A handful names are already being suggested as possible replacements for Hagel, most of them experts from an academic perspective rather than military veterans. Nash says the nominee won't matter much unless the White House changes it's approach to the Pentagon.
"Will there really be any policy changes coming out of the Defense Department when President Obama is not taking the advice and counsel but really driving things from the inner circle," said Nash
The policy of great immediate concern to Nash and many other national security experts is the Obama administration's determination to strike a nuclear deal with Iran. A deadline for a long-term deal has come and gone with the Iranians rejecting most American overtures. Nash says it's clear the wrong side has leverage right now.
"The Iranians are going to do what they're going to do. They realize that the administration is desperate for a deal. They're just going to keep playing this out. In the meantime, the clock is ticking. They're not even talking about getting together again for awhile," said Nash. "You've got Secretary Kerry running around and everybody's looking for a legacy. Right now, the legacy is that the world is burning up. They want to do something, get something, that they can stack up in the positive column."
Nash says the past few weeks have shown an alarming lack of shrewdness at the bargaining table.
"If you're doing a negotiation, what you don't do is say, 'OK, so here's the line in the sand. Here's the red line. OK, now we're going to extend it.' You just play right into their hands," said Nash.
Another point of frustration for critics of the Obama administration's approach to Iran, is the critical concession that the U.S. and our allies are allowing ongoing enrichment, just not at levels Iran wants to pursue. Previous administrations have insisted on no enrichment whatsoever.
"That's already a done deal. So now they have enrichment. Once you have that, then all you have to do, depending on the number of centrifuges equals time. The more centrifuges you have, the less time it takes to get the quantity of nuclear material that you need at the right percentage. That is a threshold you can break through very quickly," said Nash.
While not certain of all the diplomatic twists and turns to come in the next few months, Nash believes the U.S. is headed down a familiar and troubling road when it comes to Iranian nuclear ambitions.
"We're going to figure out that the Iranians have the capability when they set off a test device. Just like how we figured out the Indians had one, and how the Pakistanis had one and how the North Koreans had one. We talk and talk and talk and talk until they set one off. Then we go, 'Whoa. Now there are nukes. Now we have to treat them differently. Why? Because they're a nuclear power ," said Nash.
- As President Obama announces the details of his executive action to grant legal status to millions of people in the United States illegally, acclaimed documentary filmmaker Dennis Michael Lynch says this is the one Obama policy that will permanently damage America, and he says the only way to save the country is through steps no Republicans seem willing to take.
Lynch is the creator of the border documentaries "They Come to America" and "They Come to America II". In response to reports that Obama will grant legal status to some five to six million illegal immigrants (and possibly many more), Lynch says he's devastated that this day has come but not at all surprised.
"It's one of those things where you always knew it was coming. You just never thought it would arrive. It's sort of disheartening knowing that it's here. It's disheartening because I know that the impact of this is going to be far greater than any sound bite can explain," said Lynch.
Nonetheless, Lynch tried to put into words what Obama's actions will mean for the U.S. in the near and long term.
"Americans are screwed. I mean we are screwed with what's going on right now," he said, suggesting the implementation of what he considers amnesty has a far different impact than even Obama's signature legislative accomplishment.
"Obamacare can be repealed. You're watching it break down. I knew this would happen a year ago that it wouldnever last. It was just a house of cards waiting for a big gust of wind and the wind is coming. But you cannot repeal 30 million people. You can't repeal 20 million people. You can deport them...You can't repeal them. You can't give them amnesty and then take the amnesty away. It's literally impossible and that's what fundamentally transforms a country," said Lynch.
Lynch also believes this priority dwarfs all others from Obama's perspective.
"This is the one thing that stains America and you can't get the stain out. To him, this puts his face on Mount Rushmore, so he's going to fight to the death for this. This is his baby," said Lynch. "He doesn't give a damn what happened in the election two weeks ago. You think he gives a damn? He doesn't give a damn at all. He doesn't care if this hurts Hillary in 2016. He doesn't care about anybody but himself."
For Lynch, the permanent damage to the country comes in two major ways, far worse job opportunities for Americans and much weaker national security. He says an already sluggish job market for American citizens will get far more depressing.
"If that (illegal immigrant) was hanging sheet rock illegally and now they've got a work permit, they could start going for the jobs they otherwise were not able to get last time, ones that need a driver's license, one where you have to be on a payroll correctly. They're going to start applying for jobs like UPS and the postal service and security guards and at the TSA. You name it, they're going to start going for those jobs, and they're going to get them," said Lynch, who says that trend will only lead to many more American citizens relying on government assistance because they cannot find work.
As for his national security concerns, Lynch says he is stunned at how soon the lessons of 9/11 have been forgotten.
"This is devastating. It totally ignores everything written in the 9/11 Commission report. It's as if the president took a match to it and just lit up the 9/11 Commission report as if there was no report and as if there was no 9/11. We're going to be giving legal documentation to illegal aliens in this country. And it's not going to be five million by the way. It's going to be far more than that," said Lynch.
While Lynch is thoroughly exasperated with Obama, he also has little patience for most Republicans. He believes the full-throated opposition of the GOP to Obama's executive orders is an example of "too little, too late".
"They're half the problem. They were closing their eyes for years and years and years as they were taking campaign donations from big lobbyists who were supporting big businesses. They too were in it for the cheap labor. They're just as guilty as anybody else," said Lynch.
The filmmaker is livid with both mainstream Republicans and staunch conservatives. Lynch savaged Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for appearing on the Fox News Channel Wednesday night and vowing to use every constitutional tool available to stop Obama actions. While Cruz voted against the 2013 Gang of Eight bill in the Senate, Lynch says the senator offered an amendment that would have increased the number of hi-tech work visas by 500 percent.
Lynch says there are only two things Republicans can do to slow the impact of the executive orders, but he admits even those would have limited impact. The first is the much-discussed strategy to defund government effort's to enforce the new orders.
"They will have to fight him through the purse and even that is not going to completely do it because Obama has already planned for this. He knows what steps they're going to take and he obviously has his counter plan to that. You don't go on national television. You don't make this sort of move like he's making if you don't have a full script written out," he said.
The most effective tool, he says, would be electing a president fully committed to uprooting these executive orders upon taking office. Still, he says that won't erase all the damage.
"The next president would have to override his amnesty. Even then, if you override his amnesty, you're still never going to be able to put all the sand back in the bottle," said Lynch.
He also says this approach requires a Republican nominee who understands the severity of the issue.
"It's such a Herculean effort that it would take an amazing, amazing human being to stay the course and be able to do that," he said. "None of the guys in the GOP have the guts to do it. Half the guys in the GOP want to give amnesty. You think Jeb Bush, if he gets in, he's going to say, 'Yeah, I'm going to reverse the amnesty?' He's going to say, 'It's an act of love. Let's give out more work permits,'" said Lynch.
Lynch himself has publicly stated he's considering a presidential bid in 2016, mentioning the idea just weeks ago to Fox News Channel host Megyn Kelly. Does this new scenario push him into the race?
"After today, I'm almost ready to call up Megyn Kelly and say I'm doing it," he said.
Lynch believes his candidacy would be a long shot due to the GOP and the media being disinterested in him. He says a massive grassroots army would be needed to make such a bid worthwhile.
- Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz is unloading on President Obama's "moral equivalence" in the wake of Tuesday's shocking terrorist attacks at a Jerusalem synagogue that left five people dead, three of whom were Americans.
The acclaimed defense attorney also accuses Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of inciting the bloodshed.
On Tuesday, terrorists stormed the synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood in West Jerusalem. Using axes, knives and guns, the terrorists savagely interrupted morning prayers, killing three rabbis, another worshiper and a police officer. Police eventually killed the two terrorists.
In his statement, President Obama condemned the attacks and said the deaths of three Americans meant shared grief between the U.S. and Israel. However, he was quick to urge all sides to renounce violence.
"Tragically, this is not the first loss of life that we have seen in recent months. Too many Israelis have died. Too many Palestinians have died," said Obama, who urged both sides to work together to "lower tensions."
Dershowitz says that was exactly the wrong thing to say.
"It was moral equivalence. It was the wrong statement. It had all the wrong tone. It had all the wrong content. At this point in time, you unilaterally condemn only the Palestinian Authority and Hamas for incentivizing and inciting this kind of thing. You don't bring it together with how many Palestinians may have died because they were being used as human shields," he said, noting that the terrorist groups are fine the U.S. and others in the world equating their actions with those of Israel.
"Hamas is happy with moral equivalence. It gives them a kind of legitimacy that they don't deserve, the kind of legitimacy that Bishop (Desmond) Tutu and Jimmy Carter had given them but I would expect more of our president," said Dershowitz.
President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were quick to point to point out that Abbas condemned the attack. Dershowitz says that condemnation came after great pressure from the U.S. and that Abbas deserves the lion's share of the blame for the attacks themelves.
"Abbas is largely responsible for this. He talked about Jews 'infecting' the Temple Mount. He called for Muslims to protect the Temple Mount. He basically incited this. Did he intend it? Probably not, but his words carry very great power," said Dershowitz.
While the denunciation of the attacks by Abbas may have been grudging, Dershowitz points out that Hamas and Palestinians in the street made it clear they enthusiastically support such barbarism.
"After this horrible, horrible massacre, immediately there was dancing in the streets in Gaza, in Ramallah, in Bethlehem and Nablus and celebration of these murders," he said.
"Although the great tragedy occurred in the synagogue, the most important events occurred before - the incitement - and after - the glee. How did the world respond? Spain unilaterally voted in parliament to recognize the Palestinian State without asking them even to stop terrorism," said Dershowitz.
However, he says the most common reaction worldwide was indifference.
"United Nations? Silence. Most of the Arab states? Silence. We're not seeing condemnation. We're not seeing outrage from many of the European leaders," he said.
Dershowitz praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for forcefully denouncing the attacks but also for imploring Israeli citizens not to seek vengeance on their own. The international response to the murders was so tepid that Netanyahu implored world leaders to speak out. Dershowitz says if the roles were reversed, it would be a much different story.
"Can you imagine if an Israeli soldier had walked into a mosque and had murdered four imams at prayer? The entire world would be aflame about this. We see very little condemnation (about Tuesday's terrorist attacks). You see the usual ritual, formalistic condemnation, but you don't see the kind of outrage that one would expect. And you don't see the kind of outrage that one gets when Israel builds an extra bathroom or living room somewhere on the West Bank," said Dershowitz.
The Middle East has long been viewed in the West as a problem that cannot be solved. Dershowitz says the Palestinians are undertaking a strategy to make sure it never does.
"The Palestinians are trying to turn this into a religious dispute, not a political dispute. Political disputes can be resolved by compromise, but if you think your god has told you not to allow Jews to have a nation-state of their own...it's very hard to compromise with that situation," he said.
Dershowitz says what's worse than grisly acts of terrorism is the fact that it's working to turn world opinion to the side of the Palestinians and others.
"Why are the Palestinians so popular today on academic campuses, at the UN and in European capitals? Because they have used terrorism over and over and over again. Nobody's heard of the Kurds because they haven't used terrorism to a great extent. The Kurds, there are much more of them and they are much more worthy of a state than the Palestinians and the Tibetans. But they're getting nowhere because terrorism works and it brings groups to the attention of the world. If we don't stop terrorism in the Middle East, it's coming to a theater near you because it's an effective tactic today, unfortunately," said Dershowitz.
World opinion has long tilted heavily against Israel, even when American presidents have vigorously defended it. Dershowitz admits the U.S. can only do so much to reverse that, but he says there's one thing the Obama administration can do in the coming days to prevent terrorists from scoring a major victory.
"They have to make a good deal with Iran or no deal. You can't make a bad deal with Iran. Iran is the greatest exporter of terrorism in the world. They're dancing in the streets too. If you think it's bad to have a few terrorists with axes and guns and knives walk into a synagogue, just wait until terrorists begin to have nuclear weapons. That will happen if Iran has a decent deal that will allow it to become a threshold nuclear state," said Dershowitz.
- Iowa Rep. Steve King says the unconstitutional granting of amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants is one promise President Obama actually intends to keep and he says the Republican Congress must be ready to do what it takes to stop it from happening.
The day after major Republican wins in the midterm elections, Obama reiterated his vow to act alone on immigration policy. While not detailing what his executive orders would entail at that time, subsequent reports indicate the centerpiece of Obama's initiative would grant legal status and issue work permits to the parents of U.S. citizens and children already legalized in some way. Estimates suggest that would legalize anywhere from 4.5 to six million illegal immigrants.
While immigration has been a divisive issue among Republicans over the past couple of years, King says GOP lawmakers are virtually unanimous in fighting what they see as an unconstitutional power grab. He's less certain Republicans are willing to to whatever it takes to win the fight.
"I think we're really solid. Those on the Republican side that would give the president a pass for usurping constitutional authority are very few. But how far are they willing to go to block this president?" asked King.
King has been a leading voice of opposition to granting legal status to people in the country illegally. He says he can remember where he was and the disappointment he felt when President Ronald Reagan signed the 1986 amnesty into law.
The congressman says Obama's agenda is infinitely worse and he fears the president is dead set on taking action on his own.
"The president has a very long string of broken promises but this, I think, is going to be the promise he actually keeps. He is poised to violate the Constitution and create his own immigration law out of thin air. He has no constitutional authority to do this," said King, who believes Obama's insistence on this issue boils down to one thing.
"He thinks a high percentage of them are just undocumented Democrats and the next phase would be to document them so that they can vote," he said.
How does King conclude the president's actions would be unconstitutional?
"Not only does Article I set aside all legislative power to the United States Congress, but also an enumerated power is to provide a uniform rule of naturalization. That's Congress' authority and there are multiple court cases that identify that Congress sets immigration policy," said King, who says Obama has already flagrantly violated his authority on other decisions on immigration policy.
"He didn't have legal authority to issue the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DREAMers) memo," said King. "And he didn't have the authority to do the Morton memos, which waive prosecution for those whom the president considers not to be a violent threat to society," said King.
Obama defenders accuse critics of the impending executive orders of employing selective outrage. They say many previous presidents have effectively removed the threat of deportation for some illegal immigrants. King admits there is some legal discretion granted to the president on immigration matters but Obama's apparent course of action takes things to a completely different level.
"The president has authority to manage asylum and to manage refugee status. That target of refugee status is something like 75,000 a year. (That's) nowhere near the five to six...million that we would end up with. I don't think there's any comparable precedent anywhere," he said.
King suggests out very system of government is at stake in this debate.
"What he's poised to do is step up in front of a press conference someday in the near future, take the Constitution, separate out Article I, the legislative authority (and) all the things that set up the United States Congress, look at us all and tear Article I out of the Constitution, fold it up, put it in his shirt pocket and say, 'I'm also the legislative branch of government.' That's what he's doing," said King.
"This is a constitutional crisis that is hanging over our heads like the Sword of Damocles. Congress must block this president. It is our duty to do so," he said.
"The president is holding a right hostage to an ultimatum. We have a right to secure borders, a right to expect an demand that our president enforce the law. But he's giving us an ultimatum. Congress can either pass amnesty or he's going to commit it by a constitutional violation," said King.
So what will the Republicans do to stop it? One thing House and Senate GOP leaders have ruled out is any sort of government funding showdown. That's a promise King wishes they hadn't made.
"We've had some leadership say there's not going to be a government shutdown. I don't know how they can declare that. It was the president that shut the government down a little over a year ago. So they can't make a promise that the president would be in charge of keeping," said King.
King isn't eager for another showdown over appropriations but he also isn't very impressed by some of the ideas floated by GOP leaders either. One is simply to extend current funding levels in all areas of government until the end of the fiscal year on September, 30, 2015.
"That would give all the funding to the president and would take away our tool to restrain him by cutting off the funding to implement or enforce his unconstitutional act," said King.
Another possibility is passing government funding at existing levels but revisit funding for immigration enforcement in the new Congress and take it out through a process known as recision.
"After money is appropriated, we can go in and claw it back so to speak. That proposal overlooked the idea that a recisions bill would have to have a presidential signature," said King.
King has already drafted a bill that would automatically cut out funding for unconstitutional immigration actions by the president, both past and future.
"It's a bill that self-enacts. If the president violates the Constitution or issues a policy that reduces immigration enforcement, it requires that he certify that it's constitutional and that it doesn't diminish enforcement. Otherwise, it automatically shuts off the funding, not only for his policy going forward, but retroactively to the DACA component and the Morton memos that are part of the beginning of this immigration constitutional crisis," said King.
Beyond that, King is ready for whatever it takes to win the political fight.
"That might be cutting off the funding. That could be effective. Another one that we might have to do is censure the president. That's happened once before in the history of this country. That doesn't take us down the full route that Bill Clinton experienced. That would be the last resort," said King.
The congressman stressed again the fight over executive authority vs. enumerated powers for the Congress will determine the fate of our form of government.
"This constitutional republic cannot survive if we have a president who is going to defy the constitution and his own oath to it. Every member of Congress takes an oath to uphold the Constitution, House and Senate. We have a duty too. That duty is to defend the Constitution," said King.
- President Obama says Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber was "some adviser who never worked on our staff" and said the lengthy debate over the law proves there was compete transparency with the American people, but Georgia Rep. Tom Price calls the president's characterization of events as "fiction" and "deceitful."
A political firestorm erupted last week when a frustrated American citizen began posting videos of M.I.T economist and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber boldly explaining how the law was passed due to a lack of transparency on key issues. In the videos, Gruber said the administration deliberately hid the fact the individual mandate amounted to a tax and that young and healthy people would pay higher premiums to cover the cost of care for older, less healthy people. Most damaging was Gruber's assertion that the "stupidity of the American voters" allowed the sleight of hand to work.
This past weekend, President Obama addressed the controversy during a press conference at the G-20 Summit in Australia. In response to a question from Ed Henry of the Fox News Channel about whether his administration misled the American people, Obama quickly distanced himself from Gruber.
"The fact that some adviser, who never worked on our staff, expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters, is no reflection on the actual process that was run," said Obama.
Price says Obama is vigorously trying to rewrite history. He says Gruber was "instrumental" in the drafting and marketing of Obamacare.
"This wasn't a peripheral actor. I've shared the stage with Jonathan Gruber when we were debating this piece of legislation in 2009 and 2010," said Price, who asserts all key players at the time knew Gruber was at the forefront of the Obamacare effort.
"He was a principal adviser, paid over $400,000 by this administration. He wasn't on the White House staff but he was a contract employee to the administration for this piece of legislation. We would make these accusations that, 'You weren't being honest, weren't being truthful with the American people. You're trying to say the taxes won't be increased when we know that they will.' They were just being deceitful," he said.
Price says Obama's attempt to deny the obvious following Gruber's admissions is especially infuriating.
"The president then continues this fiction that he didn't know who this guy was. That's nonsense. Jonathan Gruber has been to the White House on over a dozen occasions over the past couple of years and the White House knows exactly who he is. He was their individual, who helped be the architect for Obamacare. It's just so sad that the president, again, believes that the American people are naive and aren't able to handle the truth," said Price.
In Australia, Obama insisted there was no way the health care debate, which lasted more than a year, was anything less then completely transparent.
"We had a yearlong debate," said Obama. "Go back and look at your stories. The one thing we can't say is that we did not have a lengthy debate."
Price says Obama is right about the drawn-out debate but not much else.
"Well, it was a long debate. The problem is that one side of it, his side, the president's side wasn't telling the truth," said Price.
"When one side isn't bound by the truth, they can say anything they want. That's exactly what the president did. That's exactly what his administration did, and that's why it was able to pass the House of Representatives. They were not transparent and the American people were hoodwinked and I believe many in Congress didn't know what they were voting on and should be held accountable," added Price.
Come January, Republicans will have a commanding majority in the House and either a six or eight-seat majority in the Senate. Price wants to see the whole law scrapped but says there are many things the Republicans will look to peel away from the law as long as Obama is in office, including the employer mandate and the medical device tax. He says he's an eternal optimist about Obama conceding to some changes in the bill ultimately isn't sure if Obama will show any cooperation on the issue.
As for the overall GOP strategy, some party leaders say a full repeal effort is a waste of time because they cannot muster the votes to override a presidential veto. Others, including Price, believe a vote on full repeal is essential towards keeping the promise of Republicans to repeal the law, in addition to efforts to remove individual components of the law.
"I think you've got to pass a full repeal piece of legislation though both the House and the Senate so the American people know who the good guys are on this issue and who's standing in the way of what the American people want. The American people want this law repealed," said Price.
The congressman is the leader of the effort to draft legislation designed to replace Obamacare when and if the current law is repealed.
"We call it the 'Empowering Patients First Act'. We're currently working on the next iteration of that, that we will introduce shortly after the first of the year. So there are ways to solve the challenges of health coverage, health costs, the insurance difficulties that people have and we can decrease the costs significantly in the health care arena. We can do all of that without putting Washington in charge of a doggone thing," he said.