At about the same time that President Donald Trump was bringing down the house in Minneapolis with his latest political rally, CNN was holding a televised town hall for the Democratic presidential candidates on LGBT issues. By all accounts, the Democrats should be grateful that most people were tuned in to the Trump rally.
The Federalist listed some of the highlights of the town hall, ranging from the moment that CNN talking head Chris Cuomo mistakenly pronounced himself female to the trans woman who accused another CNN personality of committing violence against her by mispronouncing her name.
Just as an aside, Bernie Sanders declined to attend, pleading his recent health crisis. Lucky him.
However, the most illuminating and outrageous episode of the town hall occurred when Beto O’Rourke was questioned about churches and other religious institutions that still adhere to traditional marriage, i.e. between one man and one woman, should keep their tax-exempt status.
“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,” O’Rourke said. “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.”
And the crowd at the town hall went wild.
While, according to Gallup, Americans support legal same-sex marriage by a two to one margin, most mainline Christian denominations hew to the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. Conservative and Orthodox Judaism and Islam also do not recognize same-sex marriage as being valid.
That Beto O’Rourke’s proposal is both a political and constitutional train wreck goes almost without question. Hot Air notes that churches and other religious institutions such as church-run schools are tax-exempt because the policy adheres to the separation of church and state and also because such organizations are considered charities. Churches follow the dictates of their faith by ministering to the poor and the sick, often far more effectively than government agencies. The government since the Founding has concluded that the public good should be better addressed if religious institutions keep their money to help the less fortunate.
Noting that Beto also wants to abrogate the 2nd Amendment by seizing peoples’ firearms, the Washington Examiner has dubbed him a “wannabe tyrant.” If a church preaches a point of view that he doesn’t like, then they will have to pay up in a very hypothetical O’Rourke Administration.
“O’Rourke’s suggestion is plainly unconstitutional. The government has no right to tell a religious organization what it can and cannot believe, just as it cannot tell a church or mosque or temple which rituals it can and cannot perform. This is the very first thing mentioned in our Bill of Rights.”
Several pundits posed the question, is Beto once again demonstrating his ungoverned id, shooting off his mouth without first engaging his brain? Or is he articulating what all Democratic politicians think, but are too cautious to articulate these beliefs, knowing what the voting public would think?
Hot Air suggested the latter when it noted that Corey Booker hummed and hawed when the same question was put to him. “Spartacus isn’t so brave when push comes to shove. He deflected a direct question and turned it into a lecture about discrimination in general. Brave, brave Spartacus.”
Hot Air also suggested that by pandering to the LGBT community, politicians such as Beto O’Rourke have thrown religious Americans under the bus. It is one thing to believe that same-sex marriage ought to be legal out of simple fairness and because marriages of all sorts tend to be a glue that helps to hold society together, It is quite another thing to believe that everyone should be forced to hold to that belief under the color of law. That attitude begets grinding, lengthy court cases over whether or not bakers and florists should be forced to cater to same-sex weddings regardless of their religious beliefs.
Beto is not likely to be president in the physical universe that we occupy. The polls, which place him in the low single digits, suggest that earnestness has not translated into votes. Some people might say that it is a good thing.