Will Christians Continue to Support Bernie Sanders After His Attack on Faith?
Question: what happens when a sitting U.S. Senator appears to give a “religious test” to a candidate for public office?
Surprisingly, even in this strange political climate we live in today, it causes an uproar, and outrage. And what is exactly what happened when Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders attacked the Christian faith of Russell Vought during his hearing to become the deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. Let me set the stage for you.
Vought is an evangelical Christian. As such he dares to hold the audacious view that Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven. Though this is the “enlightened” 21st century, Vought is so “narrow-minded” and “intolerant” as to believe what the Bible says about salvation and what 2000 years of Christians have continued to believe: Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven. He even made this mind-blowing statement:
“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.”
Can you believe this man would dare assert that Muslims refusing to acknowledge that Jesus is divine and a co-equal part of the Trinity are not, in fact, redeemed and currently stand condemned? Who does he think he is? He acts as if his “theology” is the truth and all others are wrong. He acts as if the Bible and the historic, evangelic Christian faith are truth and anyone not adhering to these doctrines are wrong, condemned even!
Sorry, I think my sarcastic nature came through a little bit there. While I would love to talk about why Muslims are worshipping a false God and do stand condemned, that’s not the focus of this article. Vought does a great job of explaining this point in his post (linked above).
What is more shocking than a Christian making an inherently Christian statement, is a U.S. Senator appearing to say that a Christian is not fit for duty in the federal government of the United States because he is a Christian. Here’s what Sanders said:
“I understand that you are a Christian! There are other people of different religions in this country and around the world. In your judgment, do you think that people who are not Christians are going to be condemned?”
The reason this is important isn’t so much because Sanders had a theological conversation with Vought. It’s important because Sanders had a theological conversation with Vought during his hearing (interview) for a position with the federal government. What purpose does Vought’s theological positions have for the performance of his duties? Whether Vought believes that Muslims stand condemned for their rejection of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of mankind has no bearing on his work in the Office of Management and Budget.
This is a very troubling occurrence. Sanders is doing nothing less than making it clear that Christians are not welcome in government service. Never mind that Christianity is the majority religion in the United States and such a litmus test would eliminate an enormous percentage of the population from serving. This is a blatantly unconstitutional line of questioning.
Thankfully both conservatives and liberals have come out against Sanders and his religious litmus test for Vought. Writing at The Atlantic, a liberal publication, Emma Green shares her disgust with Sanders’ questions:
“It’s one thing to take issue with bigotry. It’s another to try to exclude people from office based on their theological convictions. Sanders used the term ‘Islamophobia’ to suggest that Vought fears Muslims for who they are. But in his writing, Vought was contesting something different: He disagrees with what Muslims believe, and does not think their faith is satisfactory for salvation. Right or wrong, this is a conviction held by millions of Americans—and many Muslims might say the same thing about Christianity.”
She makes a great point. If Vought were a Muslim seeking this position, I wonder if Sanders would question his religious views and the fact that Muslims believe their religion is the only true religion and all others are condemned?
Would Sanders say, “Mr. Vought, as a Muslim do you really believe that all others, Christians and Jews, are condemned?” To which a faithfully practicing Muslim would say, “yes.” Would Sanders find this to be “indefensible” and “hateful” the way he called Vought’s Christian views? Would Sanders call this “Christian-ophobia”? Would Sanders say that those practicing Islam are not qualified for office, making the same insinuation that he made against Vought for being a Christian? Something tells me he would not.
Furthermore, I wonder if Sanders knows that his support for the homosexual and transgender lifestyles is an absolute offense to Muslims. He was quick to call Voughts Christians views “an insult to over a billion Muslims around the world.” But would he also call his own personal views supporting homosexuals and transgender people an insult? Because anyone with a cursory knowledge of Islam knows that homosexuality is considered a terrible sin punishable by death. And today many homosexuals in Muslim countries are being thrown off roofs, stoned, and crucified. The last I checked, though Christians do not support the homosexual lifestyle, they do not support violence against homosexuals.
I suppose Sanders opposes only Christians. He’s never launched such an unhinged (and unconstitutional) attack against anyone else. This is ironic since many Christians supported his presidential campaign in 2016. Perhaps now we can see the danger in supporting someone that is hostile to people of faith; and doesn’t know the constitution.