Perhaps hoping to woo the pro-LGBT audience in front of him at the CNN town hall, Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke suggested the federal government should deny tax allowances to a house of worship if it opposes same-sex marriage, a biblical belief that presumably most churches embrace despite the current cultural norms.
“There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone,” O’Rourke declared, “that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us.”
According to National Review’s story about O’Rourke’s answer, Sen. Cory Booker was asked the same question but spoke more generally about “consequences” and did not elaborate.
“That was just pandering,” responds Ed Vitagliano, a longtime pastor who also serves as a vice president at the American Family Association. “I have no doubt Beto and the other Democrats would do that if they could, but it’s not going to happen so he was just pandering to the crowd.”
“Beto O’Rourke wants the government to punish anyone who has the wrong beliefs,” Washington Examiner columnist Brad Polumbo responded in a hastily written online op-ed.
Polumbo went on to state that he personally supports same-sex marriage but described a push to revoke tax exemption “viewpoint discrimination” that would amount to a “financial death sentence” for many churches.
“There’s little doubt,” he writes, “that if every church that followed biblical teachings on homosexuality lost tax-exempt status, thousands upon thousands of churches would likely have to shut their doors.”
If such a law was passed, says Vitagliano, churches would be forced to pay taxes on tithes and offerings that remain in the church’s bank account at year’s end.
What makes such a proposal so unlikely, the AFA spokesman adds, is that a federal law targeting religious non-profits but exempting secular ones would never become law. If it did, he says, it would be struck down as unconstitutional.
Although a liberal politician endorsing ending tax exemption may seem farfetched to many churchgoers, conservatives have warned the Church for some time the Left views the pews and the pulpit as an enemy of progressivism.
One example is Barack Obama replacing “freedom or religion” with “freedom of worship” during his term, which was recognized by some as moving 1st Amendment rights inside the church building and off the public square.
More recently, OneNewsNow reported on LGBT-friendly civil rights commissions in two states that expanded their demands beyond Christian-run businesses to include churches.
Their reasoning? A “public accommodation,” non-discrimination ordinance demands “equality” from not only the Christian baker and the Christian florist but the local Catholic, Southern Baptist, and United Methodist congregations, too.
“Beto and some Democrats have declared war on churches,” observes Texas Values leader Jonathan Saenz. “And to that we say, Come and take it.”
Saenz tells OneNewsNow that Texas state law includes the Pastor Protection Act, which protects pastors and churches in The Lone Star state from exactly what O’Rourke openly proposed Thursday night.
Copyright American Family News. Reprinted with permission.