A comment last week by candidate Beto O’Rourke that churches and faith-based institutions should lose their tax-exempt status if they don’t support same-sex marriage has brought criticism from two of his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination.
At least two other Democratic White House hopefuls have rejected the former Texas congressman’s proposal, arguing that houses of worship should retain their status regardless of their beliefs on the matter.
The question came up during O’Rourke’s appearance at last week’s LGBTQ candidates forum in Los Angeles. Asked by CNN host Don Lemon if houses of worship or faith-based groups should lose their tax-exempt status if they fail to support same-sex marriage, O’Rourke said yes.
“There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for any institution or organization in America that denies the full human rights and full civil rights of every single one of us,” he said on Thursday (Oct. 10).
On an appearance Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was the first to reject O’Rourke’s proposal publicly. Buttigieg said that while he supports anti-discrimination laws, he doesn’t support cutting the tax-exempt status of religious institutions.
“I’m not sure (O’Rourke) understood the implications of what he was saying,” said Buttigieg, an Episcopalian who is married to a man. “That (policy) means going to war not only with churches, but I would think, with mosques and a lot of organizations that may not have the same view of various religious principles that I do.
“So if we want to talk about anti-discrimination law for a school or an organization, absolutely they should not be able to discriminate. But going after the tax exemption of churches, Islamic centers or other religious facilities in this country, I think that’s just going to deepen the divisions that we’re already experiencing.”
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SOURCE: Charisma News