Dems threat to yank churches’ tax-exempt status if they wont support same-sex marriage sends chill up collective spines

Sen. Rick Scott and other conservatives slammed Beto O’Rourke and Democratic presidential candidates who threatened the tax-exempt status of churches that don’t support same-sex marriage.

The Florida Republican was one of many voices condemning Democrats who “don’t care about religious liberty” following CNN’s LGBTQ town hall on Thursday.

(Video: Fox News)

“This isn’t about gay marriage. This is about a complete disregard for the freedoms guaranteed in our constitution,” Scott tweeted Friday, jabbing O’Rourke as “the most honest Democrat running for President” since he openly admitted his disregard of the Constitution.

O’Rourke sparked a backlash after his response to a question by CNN anchor Don Lemon about whether religious institutions such as “colleges, churches, charities” should lose their tax-exempt status if they do not support gay marriage.

“Yes,” the former Texas congressman immediately responded, to audience applause. “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.”

“Freedom of religion is a fundamental right, but it should not be used to discriminate,” the 2020 hopeful states in his “Plan to Pursue Equality for LGBTQ+ People and Ensure They Can Live Openly Without Fear of Discrimination or Violence.”

O’Rourke wasn’t the only candidate to reveal his views on stripping religious institutions of their status, as Julián Castro declared that “people can have their own individual religious beliefs but we’re not going to discriminate against people just because of who they are.”

Sen. Cory Booker avoided giving a direct answer to the same question.

“I’m not saying, because I know this is a long legal battle. I’m not dodging your question. I’m saying I believe fundamentally that discrimination is discrimination,” Booker said. “And if you are using your position to try to discriminate against others, there must be consequences to that. And I will make sure to hold them accountable using the DOJ or whatever investigatory. You cannot discriminate.”

CNN political commentator Matt Lewis noted that Democrats were providing plenty of ammunition against themselves to people of faith and middle America.

Fox News contributor and Townhall editor Guy Benson slammed O’Rourke’s stand which he said was a clear violation of the Constitution.

Benson told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum on “The Story” Friday that while he is fully in support of same-sex marriage as he just got married to his husband a few weeks ago, he is not “on board” with Democrats’ attempts to legislate “punitive action by the government.”

“We’re talking about churches here, mosques. It’s really quite extreme,” he said.

Democrats are effectively saying that “now it’s time for punishment from the government if you don’t get in line with this new secular orthodoxy” would alienate many people including those who currently support gay marriage, Benson argued.

“I think probably when Beto was giving this answer and it got a big round of applause from this very left-wing audience, a bunch of white progressives, I think, are probably on board for this because they have in mind as the bogeyman here, white evangelical Christians who support Donald Trump,” he added, wondering if the candidate would be willing to take the same view on the campaign trail to the heartland of America or to cities with Muslim populations attending mosques.

President Trump’s son also slammed O’Rourke’s statement, tweeting that the “left and their agenda… only believe in religious liberty if it’s on their heavily dictated terms.”

Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain had a question for his Twitter followers.

“This extreme intolerance is un-American,” Sen. Ben Sasse said in a statement.

“The whole point of the First Amendment is that no matter who you love and where you worship, everyone is created with dignity and we don’t use government power to decide which religious beliefs are legitimate and which aren’t,” the Nebraska Republican added.

Franklin Graham called out the “threat” posed by Democrats and vowed he “will not bow down at the altar of the LGBTQ agenda nor worship their rainbow pride flag.”

The move to strip religious institutions of their tax-exempt status over the gay marriage issue is “blatantly unconstitutional,” according to Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at the religious liberty law firm, Becket.

“It’s also foolish because those groups provide billions of dollars in essential social services to their communities,” he added. “Churches and ministries should be allowed to hold centuries-old beliefs without fear of government retribution.”

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Frieda Powers

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