Last week, Beto O’Rourke did to the First Amendment what he’d already done to the Second Amendment, crossing the line so far over anything remotely constitutional that even some of his fellow contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination denounced his radical position.
At last week’s CNN LGBT Townhall event, O’Rourke told host Don Lemon that, if elected president, he will see to it that churches and other religious organizations lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage.
CNN’s Don Lemon: "Do you think religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities, should they lose their tax exempt status if they oppose same sex marriage?"
2020 hopeful Beto O’Rourke: “Yes.”pic.twitter.com/m0Br91Vap0
— Alex Salvi (@alexsalvinews) October 11, 2019
The outrageous declaration was made during an exchange with moderator Don Lemon, captured in a partial transcript from Real Clear Politics
LEMON: Congressman, I want to ask you a question. This is from your LGBTQ plan, and here’s what you write. This is a quote. Freedom of religion is a fundamental right but it should not be used to discriminate. Do you think religious institutions, like colleges, churches, charities, should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?
O’ROURKE: There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone or any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us. And so as president, we’re going to make that a priority and we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the human rights of our fellow Americans.
This is exactly the kind of spiritual tyranny that the Founding Fathers sought to thwart with the First Amendment, just as O’Rouke’s declaration that “hell yes” he is going to take our guns is exactly what the Second Amendment was meant to prevent from happening.
Kelly Shackelford, president of First Liberty Institute, said in a statement to Todd Starnes that her organization stands ready to defend any church, ministry, or other faith-based institution that comes under such a grievous attack.
“O’Rourke threatened that he would strip churches of their tax-exempt status for simply following thousands of years of religious teaching doctrine,” Shackelford said. “O’Rourke’s threat is a direct affront to the constitutional guarantee of religious liberty. Should he, or any future President, attempt to violate the Constitution in such a way, First Liberty will once again be first in the fight to defend religious freedom.”
President Trump wholeheartedly denounced O’Rourke’s declaration, telling supporters at last weekend’s Value Voters Summit that O’Rourke is a “wacko,” and that his administration would “never allow the federal government to be used to target, harass, or punish communities of faith.”
Trump and assorted conservative organizations weren’t alone in denouncing O’Rourke’s extreme agenda.
Openly homosexual candidate and South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg and otherwise rabidly pro-LGBT Sen. Elizabeth Warren both took surprisingly pro-liberty stances in opposition to O’Rourke’s.
“Religious institutions in America have long been free to determine their own beliefs and practices, and she does not think we should require them to conduct same-sex marriages in order to maintain their tax-exempt status,” said Saloni Sharma, a campaign spokesperson for Sen. Elizabeth Warren in a Monday statement to the Associated Press.
“I agree that anti-discrimination law ought to be applied to all institutions,” Buttigieg said in an interview with Jake Tapper on State of the Union, according to The Daily Wire. “But the idea you are going to strip churches of their tax-exempt status if they have not found their way toward blessing same-sex marriage, I’m not sure he understands the implications of what he’s saying.”
However, seeming to talk out of both sides of his mouth, Buttigieg made some of his own fairly fascistic statements at the same town hall event about where he believes freedom of religion ends, according to Raw Story:
“Without telling others how to worship, the Christian tradition that I belong to instructs me to identify with the marginalized and to recognize that the greatest thing that any of us has to offer is love,” Buttigieg said. “Religious liberty is an important principle in this country, and we honor that. It’s also the case that any freedom that we honor in this country has limits when it comes to harming other people.”
“We say that the right to free speech does not include the right to yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.”
“A famous justice once said, ‘My right to swing my fist ends where somebody else’s nose begins.’ And the right to religious freedom ends where religion is being used as an excuse to harm other people,” Buttigieg said strongly, to great applause.
“When religion is used in that way, to me, it makes God smaller,” the South Bend mayor added.
He went on to say that using religion to harm or discriminate against LGBTQ people is “an insult, not only to us as LGBTQ people, but I think it’s an insult to faith, to believe that it could be used to hurt people in that way.”
A definition of “harm” from Buttigieg would sure be helpful, considering leftists like to label virtually any opposition, no matter how kind or well-intentioned, as “harm” or “violence,” but none was offered.
After the swift backlash Beto received from both his leftist comrades and conservative opponents, the failed Texas state senate candidate appeared to walk back his comments in a tweet, stating that only organizations who “provide public services” would be compelled to serve LGBT people:
This from a man who’s used his office to stoke hate, fear, and discrimination. Who tried to ban Muslims.
Anyone can believe what they want —but organizations that discriminate when they provide public services should not be tax-exempt.https://t.co/9S9E5n0CiU
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) October 13, 2019
O’Rourke’s campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, echoed the candidate’s statement, saying that “if a religious organization discriminates based on sexual orientation or gender identity when delivering public services, they shouldn’t be tax-exempt. But if a religious organization simply does not ‘believe’ in same-sex marriage, Beto won’t challenge their tax-exempt status.”
“So, for example, an adoption agency run by a religious organization that denies the adoption application of a same-sex couple solely because they oppose gay marriage, would lose their tax-exempt status,” she continued. “A church that declines to marry a same sex couple would not.”
If a religious organization discriminates based on sexual orientation or gender identity when delivering public services, they shouldn't be tax-exempt. But if a religious organization simply does not “believe” in same-sex marriage, Beto won't challenge their tax-exempt status. https://t.co/1II13F51hY
— Jen O'Malley Dillon (@jomalleydillon) October 13, 2019
Folks, in the span of less than five years, we have seen the LGBT rights movement become the LGBT supremacy movement. Before the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, they ever-so-meekly asked that they merely be granted the right to legally marry whomever they choose. Now, they are seeking retribution against anyone who doesn’t celebrate their perverse lifestyle.
How much longer can America’s churches remain passive and silent? How much longer until they don’t just come for our tax statuses? How much longer until they take a page out of communist China’s book and ban unauthorized church teachings?
Just wait and see.
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