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Mike Franken is the Democrat challenging U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley. He has a background that could be used to paint him as a moderate option — serving in the military and hailing from conservative Northwest Iowa — but his rhetoric on the campaign trail has been quite extreme.

And what he said to Interfaith Alliance of Iowa should send chills down the spine of countless religious organizations in not just Iowa but the entire country.

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Listen to what he said about churches that believe a homosexual cannot be a Christian, and therefore homosexuals are not allowed to be members of said church.

“That was the official position of the church,” Franken said. “This is a belief system in America — if a church has those perspectives and it’s part of their acknowledged perspectives, to me, I would take away their tax exemptions and I would use that as a club to ensure that religious understanding, tolerance, etc. is based on basic human rights and not a distortion of the literature of your faith.”

Even Connie Ryan of Interfaith Alliance seemed a bit surprised, saying that these organizations can hold the beliefs they want to hold, but the rub is where they start infringing on other peoples’ rights.

Franken, though, continued.

“As a church, as an institution of religion — whatever it is…as a place of, if you have restrictions on your membership and restrictions even on gender on who can be in what office, uh restrictions placed upon, um, color of skin on whether you can be in a particular religion, that is a tax-exempt organization, I think that deserves inquiry from a federal perspective,” he said. “It’s stretching the issue, but you know, I have a broad perspective internationally and you just don’t see this in other religions.”

Author: Jacob Hall

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