Does Senator Bernie Sanders advocate a religious test that would block conservative Christians from serving in the government? Sanders’ recent comments seem to support that view when he voted to reject an administration nominee because of his historic Christian views on salvation. From the Atlantic:
Article VI of the U.S. Constitution states that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” On Wednesday, Senator Bernie Sanders flirted with the boundaries of this rule during a confirmation hearing for Russell Vought, President Trump’s nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. …
During the hearing, Sanders repeatedly quoted one passage that he found particularly objectionable:
Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.
“In my view, the statement made by Mr. Vought is indefensible, it is hateful, it is Islamophobic, and it is an insult to over a billion Muslims throughout the world,”
Sanders told the committee during his introductory remarks. …
Later, during the question-and-answer portion of the hearing, Sanders brought this up again.
“Do you believe that statement is Islamophobic?”
he asked Vought.
“Absolutely not, Senator,” Vought replied.
“I’m a Christian, and I believe in a Christian set of principles based on my faith.” …
Finally in his conclusion Sanders’ seems to reject the nominee based solely upon the ‘exclusivity’ of his religious beliefs:
“I would simply say, Mr. Chairman, that this nominee is really not someone who is what this country is supposed to be about,
I will vote no.”
Read also the following articles:
“In Christ Alone: Bernie Sanders Attacks Wheaton Grad’s Stance on Salvation”
“An Open Letter to Senator Bernie Sanders”
Response: Since the views under question by Bernie Sanders were historic Christian teachings and not just the understandings of a single individual, Sanders’ rejection of Russell Vought stands as a condemnation of all Christians that hold historic Biblical views on salvation. It is a religious test after all and an example of what the framers of the Constitution wanted to avoid.
I believe that in this case that Sanders did not fully understand what Vought was actually referring to in the quote that bothered him so much. The passage was part of an ongoing theological conversation between conservative Christians over whether Muslims actually worshipped the same God as Christians. It is not a question with an easy answer. In his writing, Vought tied his conclusions to the historic Christian understanding of salvation coming only to those who accept Jesus Christ.
Sanders is ignorant of historic Christian teaching on salvation and divine condemnation which is all about eternal destiny in the life to come and has nothing to do with personally condemning or mistreating those of another faith in this life. In fact the teaching of Jesus is clear that we are to love and treat all people as we would like to be treated.
Does ‘secular’ Bernie even believe in a ‘life to come’ when those condemnations would be applied? Surely he understands that by the Orthodox standards in his own Jewish background divine condemnation is prescribed for those who do not follow the Torah in this life.
Obviously Sanders is also ignorant of the very fact that the daily prayers of the Muslims he is trying to support are just as exclusive if not more so and condemn Christians and Jews and all those who are not Muslim believers.
It has become fashionable among progressives to attack conservative Christian beliefs when it comes to abortion, the sexual revolution, LGBTQ issues, and Islam. In this case Bernie was putting forth the view that the nominee was not qualified for office because of his historic views on eternal life and destiny. Yet he would not even consider blocking a Muslim with similar exclusive views on future divine condemnation and eternal destiny.
This will not be the last time that a religious test will be applied to conservative Christian nominees. It was rather blatant on this occasion but look for more subtle attacks in the future. I expect adherents of the new progressive/sexual/ LGBT belief system to call for all those who do not bow at the altar of the new ‘state religion’ (those who do not support same-sex marriage) to be disqualified for public service in the years to come. *Top