BLOGA Call to End Tax Exemption for Churches and Non-profits

By Ryan Tucker Posted on: | October 15, 2019

Beto O’Rourke is waiting for you at the bottom of the slippery slope religious freedom opponents said never existed.

For many years, we were told that legalizing same-sex marriage was the live-and-let-live option. We were told that it wouldn’t have any effect on those who believe in marriage between one man and one woman.

Well, O’Rourke, a candidate for president and former Congressman from Texas, is here to prove these assurances wrong with the answer to one simple question.

On October 10, O’Rourke and several other presidential hopefuls participated in CNN’s LGBTQ Townhall. CNN anchor Don Lemon asked O’Rourke, “Do you think religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities – should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?”

O’Rourke’s reply was as quick as it was disturbing: “Yes.” But it gets worse. He added that “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.”

The message is clear: If an organization believes that marriage is between one man and one woman, it should be stripped of its tax-exempt status. Not only that, but O’Rourke says that he’s going to “stop” such churches and organizations from living out their religious convictions.

What does this mean? It could mean that O’Rourke knows that taxing churches and religious organizations threatens their ability to stay open. If so, his answer is an admission that “the power to tax is the power to destroy.”

O’Rourke implied that he and others are ready to crush dissenting views on marriage by ending the tax exemption for religious organizations. And he doesn’t recognize the devastating effect such an unconstitutional policy would have on charitable organizations that provide billions of dollars in goods and services each year.

But don’t think O’Rourke was alone in his desire to punish opposing views of marriage and sexuality at CNN’s forum.

Every other candidate on the stage joined him in voicing support for the Equality Act.

If passed, the Equality Act would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes in federal law. In many ways, the Equality Act is the endgame for those who want to impose “gender identity” ideology on all Americans and punish religious organizations and churches who believe that God created us in His image as male and female.

Politicians have definitely turned a corner with their rhetoric. O’Rourke’s comments were openly hostile toward traditional beliefs about marriage and the people who hold them. And if opponents of religious freedom get the opportunity, they’ve made it abundantly clear that they will use their power to replace their words with real punishment.

Such policies have no place in a pluralistic society like ours. Non-profits, schools, and especially churches shouldn’t be punished because they hold a differing viewpoint. After all, tolerance is a two-way street.

That’s why Christian churches and ministries are standing firm against these attacks on biblical truth by joining ADF Church Alliance and ADF Ministry Alliance. Together, these alliances are keeping the doors open for the Gospel so that it can be freely preached and lived.

To learn more about how these programs help your church or ministry—and the future of religious freedom—visit ADF Church Alliance or ADF Ministry Alliance websites.

Ryan Tucker

Senior Counsel, Director of the Center for Christian Ministries

Ryan Tucker serves as senior counsel and director of the Center for Christian Ministries with Alliance Defending Freedom.

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