Dr. James Dobson, president and founder of the James Dobson Family Institute, issued a strong statement on Friday in response to the latest calls by Democrats for a cultural war on religious liberty.
“Last night, presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke pledged that, if elected, he would seek to strip 501(c)(3) tax exemptions from religious groups that hold to biblical views on human sexuality and marriage,” said Dobson on Friday in a statement shared with LifeZette about comments made on Thursday evening in Los Angeles.
“Unfortunately, he’s not the only one,” added Dobson, a noted evangelical leader.
“Where it was once reasonably expected for all government officials to embrace the First Amendment and defend the freedoms of expression and belief, we are now witnessing the steady deterioration of such bipartisan unity in regard to our most sacredly held freedoms,” Dobson added.
“Certain House Democrats are also boldly pledging their own cultural war on our religious liberties, in direct conflict to the Constitution they claim to serve.”
“This outright attack on religious freedom is disgraceful and should prompt an outcry from all advocates of true tolerance and diversity,” said the faith and family leader.
“The vast majority of Americans recognize and cherish the freedoms that fortify the foundation of this nation. We should expect and demand our elected officials do the same.”
Dobson is a psychologist and Christian leader. The focus of the James Dobson Family Institute is preserving the biblical institutions of marriage and family by “encouraging, inspiring, supporting, and leading” parents and children to build their lives around God’s Word.
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O’Rourke, a former lawmaker from Texas, vowed on Thursday night to strip churches of their tax-exempt status if they did not come out in support of same-sex marriage.
During a town hall, CNN anchor Don Lemon asked O’Rourke — who’s still hoping to make inroads as a presidential hopeful — if religious institutions such as “colleges, churches, charities” should be stripped of their tax-exempt status if they remain opposed to same-sex marriage.
O’Rourke replied immediately, “Yes.”
(For details of O’Rourke’s plan to “pursue equality for LGBTQ+ people and ensure they can live openly without fear of discrimination or violence,” click here.)
See the tweet and video just below for more information.
"Do you think religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities, should they lose their tax exempt status if they oppose same sex marriage?"
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) October 11, 2019
“There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone or any institution, any organization in America, that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us,” said O’Rourke during the CNN event.
“So as president, we’re going to make that a priority — and we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the human rights of our fellow Americans.”
Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at Becket, a religious liberty law firm, called O’Rourke’s stance “blatantly unconstitutional,” as Fox News reported. He said those comments are “also foolish because those groups provide billions of dollars in essential social services to their communities. Churches and ministries should be allowed to hold centuries-old beliefs without fear of government retribution.”
Evangelist Franklin Graham, a son of the late faith leader Billy Graham, had a strong reaction as well.
See this tweet, among others:
.@CNN's “Equality in America” town hall focused on LGBTQ issues w/ 2020 Democratic pres. candidates. @BetoORourke said churches, religious organizations, universities that don’t go along w/ same-sex marriage should lose their tax-exempt status. 1/3
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) October 11, 2019
See more reaction and information below.
And share your thoughts on all of this.
So a Democratic candidate for President is openly vowing to ignore the first two amendments from the constitution. @BetoORourke wants to forcefully take your guns, and promised to force your pastor, imam, or rabbi to perform same sex marriages or risk losing tax exempt status.
— The Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) October 11, 2019
I still can't believe Beto actually proposed this.
— Brad Polumbo (@brad_polumbo) October 11, 2019