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How Democrats' Opposition to Religious Liberty Will Impact 2020 Election

How Democrats' Opposition to Religious Liberty Will Impact 2020 Election
Democratic presidential candidate, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) speaks during a campaign rally on October 17, 2019, in Grand Prairie, Texas. (Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

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Friday, 01 November 2019 04:25 PM Current | Bio | Archive

To say Beto O’Rourke went too far in suggesting eliminating the tax exempt status of religious institutions is an understatement. He not only proposed the essential destruction of many community organizations, but he completely disregarded the meaning of religious freedom. Beto’s comments are an insult not only to religious Americans who hold genuine beliefs in their faith, but also to the LGBT community for which he is trying to advocate.

Last month, LGBT activists attended CNN’s “Equality” town hall debate, at which Democrats espoused their views on civil and religious rights. When asked whether the tax exempt status of religious institutions should be eliminated if these institutions oppose gay marriage, Beto responded “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.”

Clearly O’Rourke has little understanding of the meaning of a fundamental right. Freedom of religion does not mean only the freedom to believe what the government says is acceptable to believe. Americans should be tolerant of each other and respectful of each other’s views and choices, but this does not mean that they must affirm those choices and accept other ideologies as their own.

Beto’s comments make unfair assumptions about members of religious congregations and disregard the good that many religious organizations do for surrounding communities. Punishing religious institutions for fundamentally disagreeing with the moral facets of gay marriage assumes that people who do not believe in gay marriage also discriminate against LGBT individuals. It paints believers who love and respect their Lord and his teachings as bigots and perpetrators of hate crime.

This is simply not the case. Many among Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Americans who oppose gay marriage do so as an ancient, moral, and sacramental conviction. They do not oppose it because they are outright prejudiced towards LGBT individuals. In fact, many LGBT Americans are members of these same congregations. Democrats claim to be inclusive of Islam, but while some Christian and Jewish sects embrace gay marriage, barely any mosques do, and the law would be particularly restrictive on Muslims. His stance also assumes that everyone in religious congregations has the same views, which is a narrow-minded take on the complexities of many American’s faiths. People worship and believe in their own ways and have individual relationships with God — this freedom is what the Constitution seeks to protect.

Pete Buttgieg, another Democratic candidate present at the debate, stated that religion should not be used as an “excuse to harm other people.” Certainly this holds true in many situations — consider the practices of human sacrifice or genital mutilation. But the definition of “harm” has been overextended by Democrats, who have tried to block Americans from expressing their religious opinions in the most peaceful of ways. Respectful refusal to bake someone a cake, for example, should not be punished as a harmful act.

What would be undoubtedly harmful is stripping religious institutions of their tax exemptions. Such a move could cause churches and other places of worship to be unable to pay property taxes and lose their property, and could bankrupt religious organizations because it would dissuade contributions. Obliterating the tax exemption would also affect religious charities that help Americans across the country; the Catholic Church feeds more hungry people every day than any other institution, including the government. Such a change in the law could also be potentially harmful to the LGBT community. Gay rights activists do not want others to believe that they are so insecure that they support punishing those who disagree with them.

Beto’s comments speak to a greater issue in the Democratic Party: the inability to tell outlandish activists no, and the disturbing willingness to support anti-American positions. At the same town hall debate, Elizabeth Warren openly mocked old-fashioned religious beliefs, a theme that has not been uncommon among candidates on the left. This could prove to be detrimental for the Democrats, giving religious conservatives powerful ammo to use against them. There are also many Democratic voters that are members of religious institutions, a seemingly forgotten faction for many Democrats.

As the Democrats charge along their war path against President Trump, the party wants voters to believe that impeachment is right for the American people, and that it’s the president who embraces anti-American ethics. But voters should not be distracted by this smoke and mirrors show. If anyone doesn’t deserve to hold office, it’s any Democrat who is so willing to restrict Constitutional rights and constrain American freedoms.

Christopher Reid is an attorney out of Birmingham who owns his own general practice law firm, which handles Business, Family, and Probate Law and high-end litigation throughout the state of Alabama. Reid has held various policy positions, including working for the Alabama Policy Institute and the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C., where he also worked for House Republican Whip Roy Blunt. In law school, he clerked for the Alabama Attorney General Office, and, after graduation, he became Health and Judiciary Policy Analyst for Alabama’s governor. His charitable work includes serving on the board of Sav-A-Life. Chris is a frequent co-host on The Scott Beason Show in Birmingham, writes political and legal commentary for publications including The Hill, The Washington Examiner, and has been quoted in The New Yorker. He regularly provides on-air expertise and political commentary for TV news shows on Fox, NBC, and Newsmax with JD Hayworth. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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ChristopherReid
To say Beto O’Rourke went too far in suggesting eliminating the tax exempt status of religious institutions is an understatement.
democrats, beto, religious liberty, tax exempt
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2019-25-01
Friday, 01 November 2019 04:25 PM
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