By Jonathon Van Maren
Last week, the Democratic presidential candidates showed up at CNN’s LGBTQ Town Hall and bet the farm. As I noted in my column at the time, they finally dropped the pretence that their position was all about “tolerance” and revealed they were all in for the LGBTQ alphabet soup crowd’s entire agenda—transgender children, federally-funded sex changes, third gender options on federal identification, the speedy passage of the Equality Act—and, to top it off, Beto O’Rourke promised that any religious institutions or churches that continued to oppose marrying same-sex couples would lose their tax-exempt status. This, of course, would financially cripple many churches and religious institutions overnight.
It was the first time that a Democratic presidential candidate has actually said that out loud, but I’m willing to bet that you would get the exact same answer from every other Democrat running. That’s precisely why liberal commentators at Slate.com, The Atlantic, and the The Huffington Post were so upset with Beto for opening his big mouth—because they know that this policy, for the moment, will lose them votes in Rust Belt states that they need to win back from Trump, and it will also shore up evangelical support and increase GOP voter intensity. They all agree privately that this needs to happen someday soon, but they’d like to win back the reigns of power before they start saying this publicly.
Progressive media figures promptly found a way to distract from the fact that the Democratic Party just confirmed their desire to nuke traditional religious institutions: They spent the weekend claiming that conservative pundit Ben Shapiro had threatened violence against Beto O’Rourke in response to O’Rourke’s impromptu policy announcement. During his Friday podcast, Shapiro clearly laid out precisely what the policy promises made at the LGBTQ Town Hall meant for America and for the future of the culture wars—and his blunt and shrewd observations appear to have made the Left very, very nervous.
O’Rourke’s proposal, Shapiro pointed out, runs counter to “the fundamental rights that the Constitution was created in order to protect”—and even more worrisome, it would inevitably result in parents being stripped of their right to choose in regard to where their children attend school. Shapiro went on, laying out for those who hold to traditional beliefs on life, marriage, and family what Beto’s assertion means for the United States:
Your mere existence is an infringement, according to Beto O’Rourke. The institutional existence [of traditional religious organizations] is an infringement on liberty, according to Beto O’Rourke, and you must be shut down. You want a culture war in this country? You d*** well have it, Beto O’Rourke. You want a culture war in this country? You want this country to come apart at the seams? This is how you do it.
Because, I promise you, if you come to tell me that you’re going to indoctrinate my kids into a particular policy and that I can’t pull my kid out of the school and send my kid to a school I want to send them to — that I can’t go to the church or synagogue that I want to go to–and if you make that national policy — not just California policy, where I can move, but national policy, people are not going to stand for that. They’re not going to stand for that. And if you send a truant officer to remove my child, I have two choices at that point, right? If I have no place to move because you have now made this national, federal policy, I now have two choices: One is to leave the country utterly. Two is to pick up a gun. Those are the only choices you have left me.
And now people on the Left [will say] how can you say stuff like that? How you can be so extreme? It’s not extreme to defend the fundamental rights that the Constitution was created in order to protect. These rights pre-exist government. My right to raise my child in my faith is my right. That is a First Amendment right. There is only one reason the government exists: to protect those rights, not to invade those rights. It is my right to raise my child with the moral precepts that I find to be beneficial for my child. Beto O’Rourke does not to get to raise my child — and if he tries, I will meet him at the door with my gun. That is insane.
Eager to distract from Beto’s big mouth, progressives promptly blew up Twitter with selective clips of a nearly hour-long podcast claiming that Ben Shapiro had actually threatened Beto O’Rourke, and that he was very obviously attempting to trigger a mass shooting (for mysterious reasons they didn’t bother to articulate.) Anyone who understands English and actually bothered to listen to what Shapiro was saying, of course, can tell that he was very obviously not saying anything of the sort, but that is besides the point. The Left wanted to change the channel from a discussion about how the Democratic presidential candidates plan to target American evangelicals and other people of faith to a discussion about one commentator’s alleged over-reaction to that plan.
The truth is that many, many religious people have been quietly discussing precisely what Ben Shapiro laid out last Friday: If progressives were to come after our freedom to educate and raise our children as we see fit, what would we do? Where would we go? Christians can live with virtually any level of discrimination—with the sole exception of laws that target our ability to raise our children in our own traditions and beliefs. If the progressives come for that—and I have no doubt that they plan to—the discussion begins centre around a handful of radical and previously unthinkable options. Ben Shapiro responded to Beto O’Rourke’s revelation of what Democrats believe privately by stating out loud what many Christians and other people of faith have been saying privately.
So it appears that everyone’s cards are on the table.
Watch Shapiro’s words–in their actual context–for yourself: