Beto O’Rourke Wants Anti-Gay Churches to Lose Their Tax Exemptions. He’s Wrong.

Posted By on October 17, 2019

On Thursday night, during a CNN Town Hall
focused on LGBTQ issues, Democratic presidential
candidate Beto O’Rourke was asked whether churches
should lose their tax-exempt status if they opposed
same-sex marriage. His response was
a blunt “Yes.” This is from your
LGBTQ plan and here’s what you write.
This is a quote. Freedom of religion is a fundamental right
but it should not be used to discriminate. Do you think
religious institutions like colleges, churches,
charities, should they lose their tax-exempt status
if they oppose same-sex marriage? 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 are going to make that a priority and we are
going to stop those who are infringing upon the human
rights of our fellow Americans. I was shocked to hear that from a
presidential candidate, for a number
of reasons. But I get why he said it.
I mean, he’s at an LGBTQ forum. He’s not doing well
in polling. He’s gotten a lot of well-deserved praise
for being strong and vocal about
his opposition to guns, even compared to
other Democrats. So the idea
that churches should not
be rewarded if they’re anti-gay seems like
a slam dunk. I mean, no wonder the
audience applauded like it did. But I have
to tell you: He got this
one wrong. What he said was pure catnip for the Religious Right. They’ll be able to fundraise off
of his answer for years to come. And they would
have a point. This wasn’t a tough question
but he should have said no. Churches can believe
whatever they want. If they want to say
the Earth is flat, and evolution is a hoax, and God
created Adam and Eve for a reason, they should be allowed
to do all of that without being punished
by the government. And taking away a tax exemption
that all non-profits receive by default, based solely on something
awful that they think, would be
a punishment. I think it would be far
better for churches to be held to the
same standards as other non-profits. And that’s
not what’s happening right now. They should have to file the
same paperwork as other charities. They should be open and transparent
about where their donations go and what their
pastors get paid. They should not be telling their
congregations how to vote. Violate those rules,
lose your tax exemption. Simple. I saw some people online argue
that no churches should be
tax exempt, period. I disagree with that premise
for a bunch of reasons I might
go into in another video, but I think it would be fine for
them to keep the exemptions as long as they
play by the rules. If they did,
as they should, we’d be in business. But right now, religious institutions
get away with everything. They don’t have to file the same
paperwork as secular non-profits. They don’t have to explain
where the money goes. Even when pastors
do endorse candidates, the IRS doesn’t do
anything about it. We need to fix that. But O’Rourke said opposing
same-sex marriage was violation enough. He’s wrong. A pastor should have the right
to refuse to bless or perform a
same-sex ceremony in the church without it interfering with
the church’s non-profit status. Look, I think those pastors
are ethically wrong. I think they’re bigots. But I don’t want the government
telling any church what they can
and can’t believe if they want
certain perks. Look: a Christian judge
who works at a courthouse should not get that leeway if a
same-sex couple wants to get married. Someone like that Kentucky
county clerk Kim Davis shouldn’t be allowed to NOT sign
same-sex marriage licenses because she personally believes
homosexuality is a sin. A Christian
business owner should not be allowed to refuse
to sell goods to gay customers. But pastors and
government workers work under
different rules. What matters to me
is civil marriage and how the government treats
same-sex couples. I don’t give a damn
if a bigot pastor remains a bigot
within his bubble. The second he tries injecting those
harmful ideas beyond the bubble — by writing legislation against
LGBTQ people, for example, — by all means, let’s condemn
him until our throats are hoarse. That’s what we should do
in response to Christian bigotry, not say, your tax exemption depends
on you agreeing with the government. I want this debate to be about
why they’re morally wrong. The bigger issue concerning
this topic, though, isn’t evangelical pastors preaching
ignorance to their followers. That’s not new. It’s Republicans writing laws
based on right-wing theology and a conservative Supreme Court
and federal bench upholding them. O’Rourke’s answer makes it sound
like he wants to punish thought, not action. By his logic, we should also revoke the tax
exemptions of non-profit anti-abortion groups since they want to
abolish women’s rights. But that’s a slippery slope we don’t want
to go down since it could easily be turned
against progressives if the wrong people
were in power. Let’s not give the Religious Right
easy talking points. O’Rourke overstepped the line of
separation between church and state. What he said,
if implemented, would be unconstitutional. I think, if he just said that
in the heat of the moment, he should admit the mistake
and move on. But my point is that
it was a mistake.

Posted by Lewis Heart

This article has 71 comments

  1. This is a nuance that hasn't just been forgotten in the public perception, but murdered in the public perception over the last few decades. 🙁

  2. Wow I think I completely agree with you! They could totally play on people for not being able to do so.
    But I don’t think that’s going to happen

  3. You are completely wrong on PRIVATE BUSINESS! WE reserve the right to refuse ANYONE SERVICE FOR ANY FUCKING REASON
    With your reasoning, as a Bar/ restaurant owner I would have to serve a busload of out of town racist skinheads who came to town to rally !?

  4. I think that all churches should pay their taxes. There are too many "churches" that are only founded to avoid taxation.
    Social work may reduce the amount of taxes.

  5. Hey Beto if you don't like what a church is preaching don't are entitled to your beliefs and guess what they are too

  6. You surprise me, Hemant with your response to what was said in reply to the question of tax exemption for churches. I understand that such exemptions were granted by the civil authority and not by any religious deity. Therefore such exemptions can be revoked by the same civil authority should the church leadership and congregation behave in a manner that contradicts civic standards. It is not a matter of interfering in religious doctrine, but more that of protecting human rights. You, yourself, mentioned the examples of the registrar and the bakers using their churches’ teachings to discriminate against those they dislike. Hiding behind tax exemptions whilst berating others for not paying their dues to society is hypocritical in the extreme. Weren’t we told to ‘Render unto Caesar that which is his, and that which is to God also’?

  7. They shouldn't have tax exempt status from the beginning. End of story. I dont see how you would disagree when the whole process of tax exempt status in churches are inept and actually allow government to determine which religion deserves it i.e by "sincerely held beliefs"( as if you can prove this) thus making the government an arbiter of which religion is valid and which isn't. Beliefs dont deserve tax exempt. Actions do.

    Also, being anti gay is a political message and marriage is a government institution so YES they should NOT be given a tax exempt status. Disagree with you here

  8. All churches should lose their tax-exempt status. When they were granted tax-exempt status, the megachurch didn't exist. Now churches are big businesses like any other, they have regular income, their product was made centuries ago and is sold verbally through thin air therefore they have very little overhead. They're cash cows peddling spiritual snake oil. Tax them.

  9. "And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh" THE LORD JESUS CHIRST, MATTHEW 19:5

  10. I'm not very knowledgeable about politics to begin with, so bear with me…but how is it that churches getting TAX EXEMPT STATUS is NOT a violation of separation of church and state?

  11. It’s such a contentious issue, but I think the solution is so simple.

    Marriage is a legal bond and (for some people) a religious one. Religious institutions should be allowed to continue conducting religious marriages, but if they’re not open to marrying everyone who is legally allowed to be married, then they should not have license to perform marriages that are legally bonding.

    It’s a no brainier. Freedom of religion is OK, but if you disagree with marriage laws then you should have no business and no authority concerning legal marriages. People who want a religious wedding with a denomination who refuse to marry gay couples can do that, but they’ll have to swing by the courthouse after they’ve completed the ceremony at their church.

  12. Churches should not be tax exempt. If they promote racism or anti-gay they should be investigated for terrorism and closed if they promote any action against blacks or gays. Terrorism should not enjoy protection of free speech. Hemant, you're wrong so often, my next step is to unsubscribe.

  13. Hemant, it seems to me that you're answering a totally different question than was asked. I understand what you're getting at, but I agree with Beto in essence.

  14. So your saying the church has a right to refuse a gay couple getting married in a church but not making a cake for a gay couple that doesn't make sense to me

  15. Just a question: why did you decided to run a new channel starting from zero talking about the same things that you used to talk about in a 215.000 subscribers channel? I didn't get it…

  16. Speaking as a lesbian, the moment you say it's okay for pastors to be bigots even in their own bubble, you lose me, Hemant.

    Pastors have power in their communities. They have power over kids, neighborhoods, and small towns. Every single option reasonable available to us should be used to stop their bigotry from being promoted.

  17. Beto’s answer is the same logic republicans use against planned parenthood “they dont agree with us politically so they shouldn’t get tax breaks or tax dollars”.

  18. I think churches like Jehovah witnesses, the catholic church and mormon church that protect Pedophiles should lose their tax exempt status until they release those documents.

  19. I think my biggest concern is churches that encourage, refer, or enforce gay conversion therapy. Once a church is crossing the line from stating a belief to prescribing quackery like that, retribution is deserved. Maybe not revoking their tax exempt status, but fines and whatnot.

    It’d be nice if gay conversion therapy were outlawed entirely. I’ve seen the unfortunate effects in people I love.

  20. I don't think churches should have tax exemptions at all in the first place (having experienced the corruption of a wealthy church first-hand), but I would never discriminate in law against a particular belief like that.

  21. Inspiring hate and having different beliefs are two completely different things. While some anti-gay churches aren't very blunt about it, a lot more are telling others at protests and such that they are going to burn in hell and that god doesn't love them. That's why I agree with Beto on this one.

  22. Religious groups shouldn't have to marry non-hetero in their premises, but the minute these groups take it to the public square then all bets are off. That public square would also include the airwaves and social media as anyone can view what has been proposed. I once saw a study that said that if all religious institutions had to pay taxes then in one year the government would rake in over $600 billion. The Christians are supposed to give all their worldly goods away to follow Jesus but a lot of the churches are glorious temples to greed. I have nothing against helping the poor and downtrodden but when you worship in a palace then, as Frank Zappa said, "Tax the fuck out of the churches".

  23. A church is an association of like minded individuals. It is not a for profit business. However, some men do use a "church" as an opportunity to make money. The "church" should report financial results each year. Associations of people should have the ability to have goals, beliefs and practices that conflict with what government says people's goals, beliefs and practices should be. Unless they are promoting terrorism or warfare against people, diversity of thought and association should be allowed. People pooling their money to use for a nonprofit purpose should not result in taxation. Churches that do engage in "for profit activities" are subject to tax on that portion of their activities – which is considered a true business activity.

  24. Thanks Mr. Friendly neighborhood athiest ☺. Lol

    but i want to encourage you to seek Jesus Christ with all your heart mind soul strength, He Is God, and He was died buried amd resurrected for you. This is History. He is real, He wants to make you Holy And be your God. He is beautiful. Please, get to know Him, and you will be transformed, amd this starts from the day you humble yourself and call upon His name to save your soul.
    God bless, may you soom become mr. Friendly neighborhood Disciple of Jesus!

    -former pothead, drunkard, fornicator, criminal, prideful m miserable fool decieved by false freedom/happiness, feind for getting faded all the time, fiend for achieving orgasms and making other women orgasm, current son of God living righteous amd Holy, full of Joy, Peace, Rest, Life, only by the grace of God, by His precious Holy blood cleansing my unclean soul and His Spirit giving me Power, Life, and Liberty.

  25. Encouraging or dissuading a point of view is wholly different than dictating or banning a point of view. We should encourage more enlightened viewpoints and dissuade more regressive viewpoints. Ban viewpoints and you risk uprising. Dictate viewpoints, even generally good ones, and you risk tyranny.

  26. Apparently Beto doesn't understand the constitution and free speech. I think no church should be tax exempt but at the very least the Johnson Amendment should be enforced.

  27. As Jesus said, on Matthew 22:21 "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's." Romans 13:1 "Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God and those which exist are established by God." In my opinion, if a church is truly serving God, they will have no issue paying taxes. At the end, those churches are more concerned with doing God's will. If they believe strongly that God is against gay marriage. We shouldnt punish them for it. This is America, and we should have freedom. Not like other countries that even kill you for not having the same beliefs. Everyone has the right to share their faith or opinion without being punished for it. If you dont like a church because they dont agree with you, just let them be. What harm are they doing to you? "Oh they discriminate against me, you say." Well, in that case, you are doing the same by disagreeing with them as well. As far as the taxes, who cares? Im sure some will have no problem paying them. But it shouldnt be a punishment just because they believe in their heart they are serving God and abiding by His word.

  28. How about Planned Parrenthood "play by the rules"? They are not only 501c tax exempt, but they receive tax money. Then they publicly and financially support left wing candidates.
    Not looking for an argument but I honestly want to know how do you justify "playing by the rules" yet not hold other groups by the same rules?

  29. I’m glad he let the cat out of the bag. If I was a pastor I wouldn’t marry gay couples. Marriage will always be between a man and a woman and there is a reason for that.

  30. This is surely something he will lose votes over. In addition, the only religions he's interested in punishing are Christian churches. He's not willing to say a thing about Muslims. What does this make him? Tarnished character and all, he's willing to push politics into religion. In this, there is no freedom of religion.

  31. i think churches should pay taxes, and they should be held responsible when they act in a way that is detrimental to the society in which they exist.

  32. If you don’t mind my asking why make a new account when this one has a fraction the subscribers? If I had 100K subs you couldn’t pay me to make a new channel.

  33. Many people don’t understand the amount of charity work that church’s do. If you take their tax exempt status you have to take all charities

  34. No churches should be tax exempt. So far, beto is the only candidate i heard to make any recommendation even close to that. It is a backlash against christianity that allowed us to make any progress towards LGBTQ rights. The christian right has been in decline for the past decades. If we don't take this opportunity, they will become stronger than ever. Lgbtq rights and the christian left who supports them are the most effective bludgeon against them.

  35. I'm a Christian and I agree 110% with everything he said. All non profits should be treated the same bottom line! Its unconstitutional and if implemented will come back to haunt progressives and all those who hold various positions in the long run.

  36. Hament, I cannot disagree with you more!!!! Churches should be taxed, and be held to the same scrutiny as businesses and individuals by the IRS and state tax officials, only actual charity that really helps people in need should be tax exempt: Indoctrination and catering to peoples whimsical beliefs, is not charitable, quite the opposite!

  37. Gringoland… ahem… sorry… the USA is simply stuck in their wrongful belief in freedom. Yes you are allowed to believe whatever you want, but not to impose it on anyone, SPECIALLY if you are getting tax exemption. The USA, has to take away powers from the states and give it to the federal powers. Health (eg: Vaccination), education, among other, should be regulated strongly…

    PS- The church has been pampered enough…

  38. If the government can tax the churches, the government will ultimately be able to regulate them. This is unconstitutional and goes against separation of church and state. Churches can believe whatever they want, they do not pass laws however their parishioners are taxed by government and they vote. Church does not vote.

  39. To me I think it’s good cause they should know what not to say or do I’m tired of them treating everyone lesser then them I’m sick of it and I think that’s good for them to pay for their treatment of the lgbt they should learn it’s not of their business

  40. Hey you pussy ass bitch!Why not stop deleting my comments? You fucking liberal Censoring piece of shit…..Are youaffraid people might learn from it? You chicken shit pussy ass faggot. Don't be afraid of facts you little bitch

  41. Hey, I’m still under eighteen but I’ve seen a lot of your videos.I am a traditional Catholic male.I would like to make a request that you please talk to a priest of the Society of Saint Pius the tenth.

  42. The earth is flat oppresses no one. Evolution is a hoax oppresses no one. Adam and Eve were created for a reason oppresses no one. Being anti-LGTBQ oppresses people. I am frankly shocked at your stance on this. Churches contribute to political platforms. They're active in politics, they should not be tax exempt. And the 'slippery slope' argument is inherently flawed, I am surprised you used it.


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