I wrote about Beto O’Rourke’s grandstanding pledge at the CNN “town hall” that President O’Rourke would punish religious institutions that opposed gay marriage by ending lose their tax-exempt status.“ “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, and so as President, we are going to make that a priority, and we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the human rights of our fellow Americans,” Beto preened. Naturally, CNN’s left-wing, Bill of Rights averse audience cheered.
The devil is in the details, however. I assume Beto knows—or someone told him— that absent a leftist dictatorship, Americans cannot be punished for what they believe. Thus the rock star Presidential candidate had to face reality on the Sunday talk shows over the weekend when he explained what he meant by “denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us.” See, he didn’t mean “denies” literally.
“To be clear, you are free to believe anything that you want to in this country. To associate with whom you please, to practice your faith as you best see fit,” O’Rourke told MSNBC. “But you are not allowed to discriminate against people in this country, to violate their civil rights or their human rights. To be specific, the way that you practice your religion or your faith within that mosque or that temple or synagogue or church, that is your business, and not the government’s business. But when you are providing services in the public sphere, say, higher education, or health care, or adoption services, and you discriminate or deny equal treatment under the law based on someone’s skin color or ethnicity or gender or sexual orientation, then we have a problem.”
Well, good for Beto. He’s condemning, among others, colleges that engage in affirmative action, historically black colleges, Mosques, women’s sports and other progressive sacred cows, as well as churches that don’t want to perform same sex marriages. At least he’s not applying a double standard as he takes the politically suicidal position that gay marriage trumps everything, in opposition to most of his party, which maintains that race trumps everything.
Beto has integrity, and a vital ethical value it is. The fact that his integrity causes him to oppose the Bill of Rights in several respects is unfortunate, and indicates that he comprehends neither political realities nor the core principles at the foundation of the government he aspires to lead, but never mind. Give him credit for having the courage to hold Muslims to the same standards he would impose on Christians, and opposing discrimination on the basis of race even when it benefits Democratic Party constituency groups.
This assumes that Beto actually means what he says and understands the implications of his words. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt, which may be rash, since he shows every indication of having the intellectual acumen of a sea-sponge,