Friday, October 11, 2019

Beto O'Rourke is well intentioned but disappointing

This blog vociferously rails against the religious right every single day. That doesn't mean that every pro-LGBTQ initiative is a good idea.
Beto O'Rourke
Beto O'Rourke at the CNN Town Hall
screen cap via Washington Post
Last night, at a CNN candidate forum on gay rights, CNN's Don Lemon asked Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke whether religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose marriage equality?

O'Rourke answered “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.”
Would I like to see Family Research Council lose its tax-exempt status? Sure but it is a terrible idea for the Internal Revenue Service to make judgments based on viewpoint. Who would make that decision? A committee?

It's a door we dare not open. Some day the committee could decide that the Human Rights Campaign is hateful to religion? Perhaps GLAAD is hateful to straight/cisgender people. Yes, that is a dreadful slippery slope argument but it is not a logical fallacy.

As far-fetched as that might sound, Donald Trump provides evidence that no belief is too loony to be dismissed. That idiot told Zelensky that the DNC mail server is in Ukraine because Deranged Donald is wed to a conspiracy theory based on an anonymous post to 4Chan.

O'Rourke is also feeding the anti-SPLC crowd by relating a group's status to its beliefs about same-sex marriage. Hate groups like to say that they are listed as a hate group because they oppose same-sex marriage. That is entirely false. Hate groups “have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”

Elizabeth Warren had the better answer. Assuming that the questioner was posing a man whose religious beliefs confined marriage to One-Man-And-One-Woman™, Warren stated that the man should only marry a woman. Problem solved.

O'Rourke impresses me as an honest man. I do not think that he was pandering to the LGBTQ community. If you are interested in the legal issues, Eugene Volokh has a well-written post addressing this matter. He explains why the Bob Jones revocation was different.

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