Conservative Black pastor unnerves Trump supporters by inviting Beto O'Rourke to his megachurch
Former U.S. Congressman Beto O'Rourke speaking with attendees at the 2019 National Forum on Wages and Working People hosted by the Center for the American Progress Action Fund and the SEIU at the Enclave in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

The Texas press didn't seem to notice when Beto O'Rourke, Democratic candidate for governor, got a surprising but welcome invitation to Sunday worship at Potters House, the 8,000-member Dallas megachurch pastored by conservative Black evangelical Bishop T.D. Jakes, who mentored former Pres. Donald Trump's spiritual adviser, Paula White.

Jakes is a very popular author whose books on marriage, parenting, and spiritual fulfillment frequently hit the New York Times bestseller list. Yet the Texas press seems to have missed this event.

However, two influential white evangelical Trump allies with enormous followings noticed. And they seem enraged by what they see as a glitch in the alliance Trump's GOP is trying to forge with evangelicals.

O'Rourke tweeted once this week about visiting Potters House. He did not imply any endorsement from Jakes, but simply said: "It was an honor to be welcomed into The Potter’s House by Bishop T.D. Jakes. Thank you for having me at this morning’s service in Dallas."

There was a photo of O'Rourke shaking hands with Jakes and a couple of photos of O'Rourke chatting with a couple of congregants individually before services began.

"I will never understand these churches giving a political platform to woke politicians who love abortion and hate religious liberty," anti-mask advocate, Christian music maker, ex-GOP Congressional candidate Sean Feucht wrote to his 69,300 Twitter followers when he retweeted O'Rourke's brief thank you and photo.

In fact, O'Rourke's stance on revoking tax-exempt status from houses of worship that endorse candidates and use worship services to urge congregations to take positions on political issues like gun background checks is consistent with IRS rules and a reflection of the Founding Father's Constitutional separation of Church and State.

Constitutional scholars find O'Rourke's view that houses of worship and religious schools should lose tax-exempt status for opposing LGBT rights more complicated since it poses the question of how the Constitution should respond if religious belief results in discrimination against one group.

Turning Point USA is a nonprofit 501c3 dedicated to recruiting and training students to lead the fight for limited government and free markets, according to its website. Arizona-based founder Charlie Kirk. retweeted O'Rourke's post to Kirk's 1.7 million followers saying, "Let it be known to all in Christianity that T.D. Jakes proudly hosts the most radical abortion candidate imaginable in a place of worship. Heretic and fool.(sic)"

O'Rourke supports a woman's right to choose an abortion and Jakes has said repeatedly in interviews that he does not. Raw Story was unable to reach Jakes by deadline. But Jakes has also expressed concern for the mother if her life was in danger if she carried her pregnancy to full term. The minister has weathered blowback before when he posted a photo of vice president Kamala Harris after Election Day 2020. He wrote, "History. Never tell yourself the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon.' Dozens of comments attacked him for posting a photo of a pro-choice Democrat. But his influence and popularity seem intact.

Feucht may be best known to non-conservatives for hosting thousands of attendees at outdoor "Let Us Worship" events during the pandemic. The audiences often carried signs protesting COVID restrictions. He recently released a movie called "SuperSpreader" about the gatherings.

“People like T.D. Jakes say that they’re not politically engaged, politically condoning, or endorsing specific candidates but yet he has a repeated history of inviting, welcoming, and promoting very left-leaning politicians,” Feucht told ChurchLeaders, the religious news organization that broke the news about O'Rourke's visit. “The issue with Beto is that he supports abortion up until the moment of birth. In addition, he wants to revoke 501(c)(3) statuses for churches and organizations that agree with biblical marriage—anyone who stands for biblical marriage between a man and a woman, O’Rourke wants to take away the organization’s 501(c)(3) status.”

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