(Tea Party 247) – Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke has doubled-down on his open desire to suppress the First Amendment of our nation’s churches by forcing them to perform gay weddings or lose their tax-exempt status with his own crazy interpretation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Earlier this month, the former Texas congressman was asked at an LGBT town hall if the tax-exempt status of any religious institution that “oppose[s] same sex-marriage,” should be revoked, he replied “yes.”
“There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone … that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us,” he declared.
Much like Beto’s emphatic “hell yes” to the question of whether or not guns should be confiscated in mass, this statement has been highlighted by conservatives and Republicans (the Trump campaign should run everything crazy Beto ever says in their campaign ads for a sure victory in 2020).
This prompted a Sunday appearance on MSNBC for O’Rourke to clarify exactly how opposed to the First Amendment he really is.
“The answer to the direct question that you just asked is no,” O’Rourke said. “I see tremendous value in what religious institutions do in this country, not just for congregants and parishioners, but what they do in our communities…of course they should be able to do that work. And of course any one of us should be able to worship as we please, believe what we like.”
“But the moment that any nonprofit organization in this country offers services in the public sphere — higher education is a great example, or a health care clinic or hospital — then they must follow the laws of this country, including the law that prohibits discrimination based on any difference of race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, which is the question that I was asked at that CNN town hall,” he continued. “That is a longstanding value, and certainly since 1964 and the Civil Rights Act a longstanding law in this country.”
This is a very broad and rather odd interpretation of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”
Whether or not “sex” can be interpreted to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” is currently being considered by the Supreme Court.
“The meaning of ‘sex’ depends on the term’s public meaning in 1964, the year Congress enacted Title VII,” Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) senior counsel John Bursch explains.“There is little dispute that, in 1964, the term ‘sex’ was publicly understood, as it is now, to mean biological sex: male and female. After all, the term ‘gender identity’ wasn’t even part of the American lexicon at the time. Its first use was at a European medical conference in 1963. And no semblance of it appeared in federal law until 1990.”
If O’Rourke’s interpretation were to be taken seriously, it goes without saying that this would pose a serious threat to the First Amendment.
Anyone who has an earnest conviction that homosexuality is a sin or that there are only two genders that cannot be swapped at will would no longer have the right to politely decline to participate in anything that affirms these practices or beliefs.
It goes without saying that this is a very, very dangerous precedent.