by Thaddeus G. McCotter
In an 1819 landmark Supreme Court ruling, McCulloch v. Maryland, Chief Justice John Marshall famously opined: “The power to tax involves the power to destroy.” What the esteemed Chief Justice couldn’t have foreseen was how the regressives would seek to use the power to tax to destroy revealed religions and subordinate them to the Left’s “civil religion.”
Per the font of the Left’s ideological cesspool, Jean Jacques Rousseau, the state’s dictated civil religion was supreme over any other belief. To enforce its primacy in matters of conscience, the state had the “duty” to ensure dissenters were “forced to be free”—compelled to renounce their “thought crimes” or face state mandated oppression, torture and death.
Speaking of torture, this week airport TV screens flashed a flailing Beto O’Rourke, whose presidential campaign’s comedic stylings attempted to evoke Jack Kerouac’s beatnik bible, On the Road, but have devolved more into the mash up, “Hope and Crosby on the Road to Perdition.” O’Rourke, who would never cop to it, is trying mightily to adapt then candidate Donald Trump’s unvarnished rhetorical style from the 2016 GOP primary, in the hopes it would catapult him, O’Rourke, to the 2020 Democratic Party’s nomination.
Indeed, O’Rourke has even added explicit public profanity into the mix in the hope of making a buzz; unfortunately, for all his perspirations and aspirations, the only Democrats buzzing about his campaign have prescriptions for “medical” marijuana.
To wit, this half-wit had already forcefully and profanely advocated gun confiscation, though he did mendaciously couch this unconstitutional brain shart as a mandatory “buy back.” Not content with openly extolling the virtues of eviscerating American citizens’ enumerated constitutional right to keep and bear arms on his slide to rock bottom in the polls O’Rourke now gropes about for another God-given right to extinguish. As vowing to infringe and/or abrogate constitutional rights is sheer gold in this Democratic presidential primary, making one’s mark by assailing freedom isn’t as easy as one might think. But O’Rourke’s nothing if not a gamer.
Thus, at CNN’s “LGBTQ Equality” town hall, an anchor (around real journalists’ necks), Don Lemon, lobbed a softball to O’Rourke:
Congressman, I want to ask you a question. This is from your LGBTQ plan, and here’s what you write. This is a quote. Freedom of religion is a fundamental right but it should not be used to discriminate. Do you think religious institutions, like colleges, churches, charities, should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?
To the Lefty crowd’s approbation, O’Rourke, a la Alex DeLarge in “A Clockwork Orange,” swung his white-knuckled cane and bashed his own brains out:
Yes… 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. And 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.
Approvingly, the Left and its collusion media minions officially scored it a double: not only would the power to tax be used to dictate which religions would be “granted” favored status by the government; this insidious proposition would also further the Left’s incessant efforts to control free speech, freedom of the press, free assembly, et al. In sum, O’Rourke is advocating using the tax code to impose a civil religion upon every American and subordinate their revealed religions to it.
I’m loath to be one to tell him and his fellow travelers, but there are a few wee problems here.
The United States Constitution remains the supreme law of the land—at least until the Left can pass enough freedom curtailing amendments to find it palatable and/or appoint enough Supreme Court justices who are judicial activists to rewrite and/or ignore it altogether (and they have come perilously close in the past). But, until that rueful day, O’Rourke’s proposal is an unconstitutional crock. For though he seeks to use the powers of the state to demand obeisance to non-enumerated constitutional rights of which he approves, marriage equality and abortion, the constitution bars O’Rourke and his ilk from destroying enumerated constitutional rights to do so.
Like it or not—and the Left doesn’t—our God given constitutionally protected rights are human rights, including free speech, freedom of association, the free exercise of religion, freedom of the press, and the right to keep and bear arms. After all, constitutional rights are possessed by people, not plants or animals. Therefore, applying O’Rourke’s formula, which one doubts he ever did, an embarrassingly practical problem arises for him: revoking the tax exempt status of “any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us” would encompass a host of Left-wing tax exempt organizations, including groups supporting O’Rourke’s own harebrained gun confiscation scheme that would infringe on the God-given, enumerated constitutional human right to keep and bear arms.
Of more importance and of deeper import to the sane among us, however, are the constitutional proscriptions against his last gasp for votes. At the poisonous root of O’Rourke’s proposal is the state determining which religion’s beliefs are worthy of state support. This is clearly an unconstitutional establishment of a state religion, one which would infringe upon the free exercise of religion, speech, association, and the press. The government cannot abolish the tax exempt status of religious organizations on a piecemeal basis determined by whether the tenets of said religious organizations conform to the state’s ideological dictates.
Tragically, neither civics nor math is O’Rourke’s forte. Vowing to end the tax exempt status of churches and mosques that do not support marriage equality but are tended to and attended by large swaths of Democratic primary voters is unlikely to cause the slightest blip in the flat lined poll numbers of the “give ’em hell, even though we’re secular and don’t believe in it” O’Rourke.
In fact, such feckless groveling to every regressive constituency however obscure, though crowd pleasing in other times, today will only decrease his slim chances. No, this is not because of a sudden awakening and embrace of the constitution by the Left. It is because, for 2020, the ultimate criteria for Democratic presidential primary voters is not who do they think can, but who do they think will beat Trump. (Let us set aside the question if such a candidate exists for the moment.) Hence regrettably for O’Rourke, letting the rat out of the Left’s bag of regressive policy tricks is not a recipe for winning a national election.
Little wonder the Left hankers for the days of candidate Barack Obama, who was shrewd enough to cloak the regressives’ contempt for the country they schemed to “fundamentally transform” beneath benign rhetoric—such as “our most cherished values”—that in their mouths and minds bears no relation to what they once were commonly understood to mean by the vast majority of Americans.
Rarely, did candidate Obama slip, but when he did it gave the game away: “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
No, John Marshall could not have foreseen the power to tax being abused to foist a civil religion upon Americans. But anyone who heard these words from candidate Obama could foresee how one day someone like O’Rourke would feel comfortable bleating out his nefarious proposition to put the clerics in the dock on a national cable news channel, albeit CNN. And in that crystalline moment, the clockwork Leftist O’Rourke reminded us what regressives are coming to take—
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The Hon. Thaddeus McCotter is the former chairman of the Republican House Policy Committee, current itinerant guitarist, American Greatness contributor, and Monday co-host of the “John Batchelor Show.”
Photo “Beto O’Rouke” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.