Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, during CNN’s Equality Town Hall with democratic presidential candidates said that churches, colleges, and charities should lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage.

Other presidential candidates, such as U.S. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey danced around the issue when asked this question. O’Rourke did not waffle.

CNN’s Don Lemon asked, “Do you think religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities, should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?”

“Yes,” O’Rourke answered to loud applause.

“There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone or any institution in America that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us,” he added.

His curt answer question echoed what was communicated throughout the night: As far as LGBT persons are concerned there is no legitimate religious liberty claim.

I’m old enough to remember when same-sex marriage advocates told churches they had nothing to worry about.

By the way, this action dumps all over the First Amendment and would likely be found unconstitutional, but the fact Democrats are openly saying things like this (and being cheered for it) is remarkable.

8 comments
  1. As an LGBT person, this line is not accurate, “As far as LGBT persons are concerned there is no legitimate religious liberty claim.”

    In this instance, a church has a legal right to not perform marriages they deem unfit for their faith. Beto is wrong with his answer. However, if a church in a state which has banned conversion therapy (for example) supports and endorses this practice, then that is cause to remove the tax-exampt status.

    Churches also walk a fine line with political engagement anyway and should be at risk of that exempt status when they wade into politics.

    1. Wow, what a concession (sarcasm). You do realize that conversion therapy bans are 1. written far too broadly that they even include talk therapy, a common practice among counselors, and 2. violate the First Amendment because they impede on freedom of religion and freedom of speech. You are literally saying the state can tell a pastor or church counselor what he or she can or can’t say to a member of their congregation that they counseling. Did you ever stop to consider that people seeking out help from their church want to change?

    2. Richard, there a few flaws with your reasoning.

      First, you said this: “a church has a legal right to not perform marriages they deem unfit for their faith.” Actually, the correct reasoning according to law and legal precedent is… a religious establishment cannot be compelled to violate their genuinely held belief. Your reasoning gives religious establishments power over the government, which is not what the founding fathers had in mind. They designed church and state to be separate.

      Second, you said: “However, if a church in a state which has banned conversion therapy (for example) supports and endorses this practice, then that is cause to remove the tax-exempt status.” This reasoning is also incorrect, because there are people who legitimately seek out conversion therapy. The first and fourteenth amendments are violated by a total ban of conversion therapy. Unless some religious group is forcing conversion therapy– which is criminal– churches are not made tax-exempt for providing access to, and resources for, conversion therapy.

      Third, you said: “Churches also walk a fine line with political engagement anyway and should be at risk of that exempt status when they wade into politics.” This reasoning is also wrong. If you are referring to the organizational aspect of a church– as in, a religious establishment with considerable force in social and political matters– then you are right as this is what the founding fathers were trying so hard to stave off (remember that European governments of the 16th and 17th centuries had been overrun by blood-thirsty religious zealots). The contemporary Catholic and Lutheran churches might straddle that line but considering how both sects have calved over the LGBTQ movement, they hardly hold much countercultural sway anymore. Nevertheless, the freedoms of individuals to associate (in this case, associate with politicians, political ethics, and political beliefs) cannot be cut short because they are religious or a member of a religious organization (no matter how big). That is to say, anyone may attend a church and speak freely in church or outside of it about political matters, including expressing their opinion, debating, speaking insults, and all other expressions covered by the first amendment. The church itself may not have its tax exemption lifted merely because all or a majority of its members share a similar belief.

      My fear is that in this modern day, where massive social and political forces like the LGBTQ movement hold considerable, there has been a complete abandonment of a fundamental understanding of the US Constitution. It leads to uninformed reasoning, like yours, Richard. Where citizens forget, society falls apart.

  2. What about religious people’s rights? His statement throws the rights of people who believe in God and His Word! Their rights are being ripped out of there hands but that’s ok right? Beto Be NO crawl into the hole you came out of!

  3. This guy wants to take ALL our freedoms. First it’s guns, now religion. Guess he doesn’t understand the government has NO BUSINESS in church buildings.

  4. Would we tolerate discrimination by religious organizations against racial or ethnic groups? Of course not. Discrimination against GLBTQ+ bu religious organizations should also be banned!

  5. May GOD have mercy on us. I disagree with this. There should remain separation of State and Church laws. Without negatively impacting anyone. If you want same sex marriage, find a place that will do it. End of story leave churches to their right. Soon enough we will all have to answer for our own accounts. Meanwhile i will pray GOD finds his way in your hearts, forgives you, and shows you the way to a righteous path.

Comments are closed.

Get CT In Your Inbox!

Don't miss a single update.

You May Also Like

FBI Director Wray: China Is Nation’s Most Severe Counterintelligence Threat

FBI Director Christopher Wray: “(T)here is no country that poses a more severe counterintelligence threat to this country right now than China.”

Socialism Comes With a Price

John Hendrickson: President Roosevelt’s New Deal is a “dime store” compared to the radical and outlandish proposals being advocated by the plethora of Democrats running for president.

Ernst: House Democrats Need to Pass USMCA

327 days after President Trump signed USMCA, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst called on House Democrats to pass the trade deal with Canada and Mexico.

Grassley: The Green New Deal is a Fed Takeover of Our Economy

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley: A no vote on the Green New Deal is vote in favor of continuing an open and free economy that has made America the richest country in the world.