Religious Liberty, Nondiscrimination, and the Left – National Review

Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Beto ORourke takes part in a televised town hall on CNN dedicated to LGBTQ issues in Los Angeles, Calif., October 10, 2019. (REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Beto ORourkes position on religious liberty isnt uncommon.

During CNNs Equality Town Hall last week, Don Lemon asked ORourke, Do you think religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?

ORourke responded, 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 of every single one of us.

The following day his campaign clarified that ORourke meant no rewards, benefits, or tax breaks should be conferred on institutions that take discriminatory action related to same-sex marriage (as opposed to holding discriminatory beliefs regarding the same).

Much of the ensuing commentary characterized ORourkes position as unrepresentative of the progressive view of the intersection of religious belief and nondiscrimination. But, in fact, ORourkes comments are unremarkable on the Left, which generally elevates nondiscrimination over religious liberty.

The increasing tension between principles of nondiscrimination and religious liberty is a complicated issue. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held an expansive hearing on the matter a few years ago titled, Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties.

The Lefts forthright hostility toward religious freedom was noteworthy. There was little peaceful coexistence and even less of an effort to balance the interests of religious freedom with nondiscrimination. The progressive-dominated commission held that in almost every instance in which the two principles intersect, religious freedom must yield to nondiscrimination.

The Lefts view of religious liberty perhaps was best captured by then- Chairman Martin Castros claim that [t]he phrases religious liberty and religious freedom will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy, or any form of intolerance.

Unfortunately, many on the Left view tolerance only as a one-way street.

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Religious Liberty, Nondiscrimination, and the Left - National Review

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