Dems' Bigoted Attack on Tax-Exempt Churches
O'Rourke's comments should remind us why the First Amendment exists.
The freedom of religion is literally the first right enshrined by our Founding Fathers in the Constitution. Yet far too many Americans fail to understand that the Constitution does not grant these rights; it protects them. These rights are given to us as children of our Creator. They can only be infringed upon, but never taken away.
Yet today’s Democrats believe these rights are up for debate, with favored rights being protected and disfavored rights being restricted or denied altogether. They claim pornography is protected free speech, but political dissent (unless it is their own) is not. They relentlessly try to repeal the Second Amendment.
But maybe nowhere is leftist loathing of certain rights more evident than with the freedom of religion. From forcing nuns to pay for birth control, to banning Bibles and Christmas carols at VA hospitals, so-called “progressives” file lawsuits at every turn, opposing any display of religion in the public square. Not to mention the Rainbow Mafia’s inexorable efforts to destroy the reputation and livelihood of Christian business owners who decline to provide creative services for same-sex ceremonies.
The Left has long spun its anti-religious bigotry as tolerance for non-Christian religions and atheists. But at a CNN “LGBTQ town hall” event last week, Democrat presidential candidates enthusiastically took the opportunity to vilify people of faith in order to buttress their LGBTQ bona fides.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren decried the “hatefulness” of Christians who believe in the biblical definition of marriage. Openly homosexual South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who claims to be a Christian, lamented that such Bible-believers make “God smaller.” Sen. Cory Booker claimed people “use religion as a justification for discrimination.”
However, it was soon-to-be failed Democrat presidential candidate Robert Francis “Call me Beto” O'Rourke who pulled back the curtain and displayed the dirty truth — Democrats hate Christians.
Referencing his “LGBTQ Plan,” where O'Rourke says religious freedom is a fundamental right but should not be used to discriminate, CNN moderator 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?”
O'Rourke replied “Yes! … 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.”
In a follow-up tweet, O'Rourke partially walked back his bigotry, stating, “Anyone can believe what they want — but organizations that discriminate when they provide public services should not be tax-exempt.”
This is deeply disturbing.
First, it essentially reduces the freedom of religion from a constitutionally protected natural right to a grant of privilege by government, revocable if it offends politically favored citizens.
Second, it represents a fundamental misunderstanding of why churches are tax-exempt. Churches are tax-exempt because they provide a tremendous benefit for society. As the Washington Examiner editorial board explains, “Churches, like other charities, provide many public goods, educating, feeding, and providing healthcare for believers and nonbelievers alike. They also create community among citizens … particularly among the working class and the middle class.”
Churches also teach honesty, generosity, compassion, tolerance, and virtue, which benefits society as a whole.
Yet even more importantly than the churches’ social good is the Constitution’s prohibition against government intrusion into religion. The Left holds as inviolable the Constitution’s supposed “wall of separation of church and state” (which is not in the Constitution, but in a previously obscure letter from President Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut). Yet they have it exactly backwards.
The wall is meant to be one way; a wall prohibiting government interference in religion, but NOT from religious influence on government. President George Washington called religion and morality the “indispensable supports” of the republic and warned it is folly “to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
Few Democrats were quick to oppose O'Rourke’s bigotry. Buttigieg later offered a tepid rebuke, saying, “I agree that anti-discrimination law ought to be applied to all institutions, 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.”
In other words, Buttigieg is not opposed in principle, but enforcement would create political headaches.
The target of the Left’s ire is Christians and Jews, but such a prescription would unavoidably draw in Muslims, with which the Left has allied itself. It would be fascinating to see Democrats try to enforce such punitive measures on mosques that refuse to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies. People have been murdered for drawing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. We shudder to think of the reaction to the forced defilement of a mosque.
For Democrats, power lies in destroying the nuclear family and traditional social norms, creating a broken society that looks to the government as its savior. Conversely, a moral, religious, self-reliant people would be the death knell for the Democrat Party.
It’s no surprise that Democrats seek to vilify, suppress, and destroy religion. But to do so would mean the end of our experiment in self-government. Such efforts must be opposed and rejected at every turn.