Presidential candidate promises draconian crackdown on religious liberty

At CNN’s “Equality Town Hall,” Beto O’Rourke was asked if churches and other religious institutions should lose tax-exempt status for opposing same-sex marriage. Beto says in no uncertain terms that Christian churches should in fact lose their tax-exempt status unless they endorse gay marriage. This draconian assault on the first amendment is now the mainstream view within the Democratic party.

This is draconian because it could bankrupt many churches and religious institutions by dissuading contributions. Many churches would lose their property as a result of being unable to pay property taxes–especially in big cities. This is truly draconian and unconstitutional.

It means that we have an entire political party that is directly arrayed against Christian churches that remain faithful to Christ… for now. I do not foreclose the possibility that the other party could eventually go the same route.

For now, though, we are dealing with one political party’s mainstreaming of this opposition to churches who remain faithful to Christ’s teaching about marriage and sexuality.

My hope is that cooler heads will prevail and that the American electorate will turn away from this attempt to punish churches for their beliefs. I certainly hope and pray that Christians will press their democratic privileges to oppose this kind of injustice.

Beto also was asked about making “conversion therapy” illegal. His answer is below:

This too is as radical as it gets. It would make it illegal for Christians to attempt to convert certain kinds of sinners to Christ. Why? Because these laws don’t just ban conversion therapy. They ban any attempt to help same-sex attracted people follow Christ. They want to treat any such attempts as “torture.”

To put this in practical terms: If your pastor counsels a teenager in your church to repent of homosexual sin and to follow Christ, Beto wants to treat that as “torture” because it’s indistinguishable from what he calls “conversion therapy.” The irony is that Beto treats attempts to convert sinners to Christ as “torture,” but he treats blocking hormones and destructive surgeries as noble and good.

Christians, we need to be ready for a new reality. We are likely to face fines and other penalties for staying faithful to Christ’s teaching. Our churches may eventually lose tax exempt status. Any number of negative outcomes are possible in the approaching conflagration.

But Jesus prepared us for this. He told us that it would be this way, and it was always wrong to assume that such a thing could never happen to us here. Jesus’ warning has always been relevant, especially now.

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you… But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.” -John 15:18-21

We need to be ready to love our neighbors and our enemies and to bear witness in a culture that is increasingly hostile toward us. Ours will likely be a costly love and a costly witness.

But this is precisely the kind of discipleship that Jesus has called all of us to, and it will be worth it in the end.

“For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. ” -Matthew 16:25

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