Beto O’Rourke told attendees at Thursday night’s CNN LGBT town hall that he believes churches and other religious institutions should lose their tax-exempt status if they fail to support homosexual marriage—which runs contrary to the tenets of most Christian churches.
As the Washington Examiner reports O’Rourke was asked by moderator Don Lemon if he would lift the tax-exempt status for all religious-affiliated churches, colleges, and charities and he definitively answered, “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,” the Democrat continued per the Washington Examiner. “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.”
The Washington Examiner also reports:
Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey was asked a similar question earlier during the four-hour candidate forum but dodged the question.
O’Rourke has faced criticism from conservatives and more moderate members of his party for some of his other positions, including his support for government-mandated confiscation of AR-15s and AK-47s.
In an op-ed with the Washington Examiner, conservative writer Brad Polumbo said “Beto basically wants to bankrupt churches who don’t believe in gay marriage.”
“The candidate just spit in the face of the First Amendment. Whether you support gay marriage or not this amounts to a pernicious form of government viewpoint discrimination,” Polumbo continued. “O’Rourke wants to use the weight of the government to punish religious groups he disagrees with.”
He added: “It’s bizarre, immoral, and shameful.”
The conservative goes on to describe the importance of these exempt schools and churches to provide religious counseling and support to individuals seeking the freedom to express their faith and what losing this exemption may do.
“For many of these organizations and churches, losing tax-exempt status would amount to a financial death sentence. There’s little doubt 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,” he concluded.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) October 11, 2019
Conservative blogger Matt Walsh called the Town Hall a “disaster” and said “they put their weirdest and most extreme positions on display.”
“Every sane human is recoiling in disgust today,” he added.
The LGBT townhall was a disaster for the Democrats. By parading around "transgender" children, attacking faith, and calling for tax funding for genital mutilation, they put their weirdest and most extreme positions on display. Every sane human is recoiling in disgust today.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) October 11, 2019
Instead what I saw was a liberal TV host asking if it was a good idea, a Democratic presidential candidate saying yes, and a roomful of people applauding
— Halloween Name Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) October 11, 2019