Why is today’s Senate hearing so crucial?

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Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford are set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Last night, Judiciary Committee Republicans revealed that they have interviewed a man “who believes he, not Dr. Kavanaugh, had the encounter with Dr. Ford in 1982.” However, Dr. Ford plans to testify today that she knew Kavanaugh in high school and will clearly identify him as her attacker.

One reason Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination is so critical is that it could change the ideological balance of the Court. For many years, there have essentially been four liberal justices, four conservatives, and a swing vote (Anthony Kennedy). If Judge Kavanaugh replaces Justice Kennedy, the resulting five-to-four conservative majority could control the Court for fifteen years or more.

The status of abortion rights, religious liberty, and a host of other issues could be affected.

The America I remember

I’m old enough to remember an America that looked much more like I wish we looked today.

I was born in 1958. In that year, according to Gallup, 92 percent of Americans identified as Christians; only 2 percent said they had no religion. Last year, 59 percent of Americans identified as Christians; 20 percent said they had no religion.

Fifty-nine percent of Baby Boomers like me (born 1946-64) say religion is “very important” in our lives; only 38 percent of Younger Millennials (born 1990-96) agree.

I grew up with no church commitment at all. That made me a distinct minority in my community, where nearly everyone went to church on Sunday. Many of us remember a day like that.

However, 1958 was a bad year for civil rights. On June 29, Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, was bombed by Ku Klux Klan members, killing four girls. Virginia’s governor threatened to shut down any school if forced to integrate. And thirteen African-Americans were arrested for sitting in front of a bus in Birmingham.

In 1958, women made 63 cents for every dollar…

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