Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro’s passionate defense of religious freedom during his podcast Friday has gone viral after Media Matters and other left-wing critics framed the comments as Shapiro threatening violence in response to a Democratic presidential candidate’s call to strip schools and churches of their tax-exempt status if they “oppose same-sex marriage.”
During a CNN-hosted town hall on LGBTQ rights on Thursday, Beto O’Rourke defended his campaign platform mandating the loss of tax exemption for entities that oppose gay marriage. “Freedom of religion is a fundamental right,” O’Rourke’s LGBTQ plan reads, “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?” asked moderator Don Lemon.
“Yes,” said O’Rourke, a response met with raucous applause and cheers from the Democratic crowd. “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 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 O’Rourke on religious institutions losing tax-exempt status for opposing same-sex marriage: “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” #EqualityTownHall pic.twitter.com/tjwVGqv5h0
— CNN (@CNN) October 11, 2019
Shapiro responded on his podcast Friday by saying O’Rourke’s call for federally imposing a policy that infringes on people’s deeply held religious beliefs runs exactly counter to “the fundamental rights that the Constitution was created in order to protect.”
Shapiro asserted that if O’Rourke’s plan to impose such “indoctrination” is taken to the extreme — stripping parents of their rights to choose where their children attend school or church — it would make this country “come apart at the seams,” forcing people to either leave or “pick up a gun” to keep the government from taking their kids.
“Your mere existence is an infringement, according to Beto O’Rourke,” Shapiro said, referencing people of faith whose religious beliefs do not accept same-sex marriage. “The institutional existence 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 damn 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,” said Shapiro. “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?” Shapiro continued. “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.”
In a tweet that has since made the rounds online, Media Matters’ researcher Jason Campbell posted a video clip of Shapiro’s comments, writing, “Ben Shapiro warns that if politicians try to mandate LGBTQ ‘indoctrination’ at all schools, then he will ‘pick up a gun.’ Further adding ‘Beto O’Rourke does not get to raise my child. And if he tries, I will meet him at the door with a gun.’”
Ben Shapiro warns that if politicians try to mandate LGBTQ ‘indoctrination’ at all schools, then he will “pick up a gun.” Further adding “Beto O’Rourke does not get to raise my child. And if he tries, I will meet him at the door with a gun” pic.twitter.com/Hq7SyF7FeI
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) October 11, 2019
Others on the Left have taken Media Matters post and portrayed the comments in even more extreme and disingenuous ways, suggesting that Shapiro was calling for violence.
Amid the left-wing hysteria, conservatives have noted that all Shapiro said was what Americans have been saying since its founding.
“Yes. It is very normal in Amearica to say you will defend your most fundamental freedom – religious freedom – with force if required,” tweeted Shapiro’s “Backstage” co-host Jeremy Boreing. “Every generation of Americans from the founding to today has said the same.”
Yes. It is very normal in America to say you will defend your most fundamental freedom – religious freedom – with force if required. Every generation of Americans from the founding to today has said the same. https://t.co/xxp2wk2smw
— Jeremy Boreing (@JeremyDBoreing) October 11, 2019