Trump condemns Beto O’Rourke’s plan to tax churches opposing same-sex marriage

Donald Trump has eloquently dismissed Beto O’Rourke’s proposal to end the tax-exempt status of anti-LGBT+ churches as “wacko”.

At the CNN Equality Town Hall debate on October 11, O’Rourke was asked: “Do you think religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities – should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?”

O’Rourke replied without hesitation, “Yes,” drawing applause from the audience.

“There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone, or any institution, any organisation in America that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us,” he said.

“So as president we’re going to make that a priority and we are going to stop those who are infringing on the rights of our fellow Americans.”

As expected, this idea didn’t appeal to religious conservatives.

Trump addressed the proposal at a summit hosted by the Family Research Council, which has been officially classified as an anti-LGBT+ hate group.

“As you know, just a few days ago, a Democrat running for president proposed revoking the tax-exempt status of many churches and religious groups.

“And you why. And you know it is. He’s a wacko,” Trump said, his words making little grammatical sense.

Trump’s top pastor, Franklin Graham, added to the criticism of O’Rourke on Facebook: “I will not bow down at the altar of the LGBTQ agenda nor worship their rainbow pride flag. I’m going to stand with the Word of God, the Holy Bible, which is truth from cover to cover.”

The suggestion sent Ben Shapiro into a spin, too. He declared: “Beto O’Rourke does not get to raise my child. And if he tries, I will meet him at the door with a gun.”

In the conservative backlash that followed Beto O’Rourke’s remarks, a campaign spokesperson told the Washington Blade that his views had been misrepresented.

“To clarify, Beto was referring to religious institutions who take discriminatory action,” they said. “The extreme right is distorting this for their own agenda.”