Bernie Sanders Seeks to Disqualify All Christians From Public Office

Senator Bernie Sanders doesn’t think Christians are fit to serve in public office. In a shameful exchange Wednesday, Sanders grilled Russell Vought, President Trump’s nominee for Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, about his Christian beliefs. When Vought refused to disavow his belief that Muslims “stand condemned” because “they have rejected Jesus Christ,” Sanders became livid.

“I would simply say, Mr. Chairman, that this nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about,” Sanders said. “I will vote no.”

Ironically, Democrats like Sanders have been assailing President Trump for allegedly applying a religious test when it comes to immigration. Yet clearly Sanders has no problem applying a religious test when it comes to holding public office, something specifically forbidden in the U.S. Constitution.  What’s clear from Sanders’ diatribe is that he believes only those who believe that people of all faiths are going to heaven (i.e. universalists) should be allowed to hold public office.

Sanders began his interrogation Wednesday by quoting something Vought wrote for a publication called The Resurgent, which Sanders said “has bothered me and bother many other people.”

What’s clear from Sanders’ diatribe is that he believes only those who believe that people of all faiths are going to heaven should be allowed to hold public office.

In the article, Vought is responding to the controversy at his alma mater, Wheaton College, over whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God. Vought, like almost all orthodox Christians, concluded that that they do not.

“You wrote, ‘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.’ Do you believe that that statement is Islamophobic?” Sanders asked.

Vought responded, “Absolutely not, Senator. I’m a Christian, and I believe in a Christian set of principles based on my faith. That post, as I stated in the questionnaire to this committee, was to defend my alma mater, Wheaton College, a Christian school that has a statement of faith that includes the centrality of Jesus Christ for salvation, and . . . “

Sanders then interrupted. “I apologize. Forgive me, we just don’t have a lot of time. Do you believe people in the Muslim religion stand condemned? Is that your view? “

Vought reiterated that he is a Christian and again Sanders interrupted. “I understand that,” he said. “I don’t know how many Muslims there are in America. Maybe a couple million. Are you suggesting that all those people stand condemned? What about Jews? Do they stand condemned too?”

Vought again said he’s a Christian and then Bernie, red-faced and incensed shouted, “I understand you are a Christian! But this country are made of people who are not just — I understand that Christianity is the majority religion, but 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?”

Mr. Sanders’ statements reveal the shocking lack of tolerance among liberals today. Tolerance requires respecting the real differences between myself and someone who holds an opposing view. It does not require conformity to that view.

At this point, I wish Vought would have simply quoted Jesus like he did in his Resurgent article: “Jesus says, ‘Whoever believes in [the Son] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.’” He then could have turned the question back on Sanders and said, “Sir, do you expect me to contradict the very words of Jesus Christ, the Savior I worship?”

It also would have been choice if Vought would have pointed out that Muslims think all Christians are condemned, as well. Does Sanders want to bar all Muslims from serving in public office too? I doubt it since Sanders also quoted a letter condemning Vought from the Arab American Institute and Muslim Advocates. I guess it’s okay for Muslims to condemn Christians, just not the other way around.

Vought went the politically correct route and stated, “Thank you for probing on that question. As a Christian, I believe that all individuals are made in the image of God and are worthy of dignity and respect regardless of their religious beliefs. I believe that as a Christian that’s how I should treat all individuals.”

Not surprisingly, Sanders then asked, “You think your statement that you put into that publication, they do not know God because they rejected Jesus Christ, His Son, and they stand condemned, do you think that’s respectful of other religions?”

Sanders apparently knows absolutely nothing about what America “is supposed to be about.” It’s about freedom – something the Founding Fathers derived directly from Christianity, but is woefully absent in Islam and Shariah Law.

Vought then reiterated that he wrote the post in accordance with his Christian beliefs and in accordance with a Christian school whose statement of faith speaks “clearly in regard to the centrality of Jesus Christ in salvation.” Sanders would have none of it and then announced quite indignantly his rejection of Vought as a nominee.

Mr. Sanders’ statements reveal the shocking lack of tolerance among liberals today. Tolerance requires respecting the real differences between myself and someone who holds an opposing view. It does not require conformity to that view.

So as a Christian, I exercise tolerance when I afford a Muslim, with whom I strongly disagree, the same rights to his belief as I have. But tolerance most certainly does not mean I have to believe that all Muslims are going to heaven. That is absurd.

Also, Sanders apparently knows absolutely nothing about what America “is supposed to be about.” It’s about freedom – something the Founding Fathers derived directly from Christianity, but is woefully absent in Islam and Shariah Law.

Bernie Sanders owes the estimated 240 million Christians in America a sincere apology for his intolerant statements and bullying behavior on Wednesday. He has not shown that Mr. Vought is unfit for public office. On the contrary, he has shown that he is unfit.

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15 thoughts on “Bernie Sanders Seeks to Disqualify All Christians From Public Office

  1. Susan Keller

    I’m always amazed when non-Christian legislators or other public officials get incensed over the beliefs of Christians about who is going to heaven. They don’t want to follow the tenets of Christianity but they want the “benefits package.” As you say, Christians didn’t just make this stuff up. It’s in the Bible. Jesus said it. Argue with Him.

  2. Pamela Sharp

    With this logic, anyone with a strong believe in any religious tenets of any faith, is
    not qualified for a public office…How ridiculous.

  3. Great points Julie. There is no level of equality between Islam and Christianity as you point out. We are known for our fruits. I applaud Mr. Vought for standing up for his faith in the face of hostilities, knowing it could cost him the position. I am so glad he did not compromise.

  4. J Rimkus

    The man is suggested for the office of Management and Budget. His worldview about finances is more important than his statement to Wheaton College. I will asssume that Senator Sanders is either an atheist or secular Jew. Does he participate in Yom Kipper or Hanukkah or consider something as Kosher? Has he ever attended a synagogue or church where he followed instructions to sit or stand or read aloud? Does this disqualify him from being a senator? I think not.

  5. Judy Rapini

    Julie,
    Don’t exaggerate what Bernie said, he did not say ALL Christians are not fit for government positions. He said Russell was not fit. Russell clearly agitated Bernie, as a result Bernie went a litttle too,far with his response. I respect Russell for having the courage to stick by his beliefs, but he could have softened it a litttle and used the language that you did ( that non Christians won’t get into heaven). Instead he used much stronger language and said to a Jew that Muslims and all people except Christians are CONDEMNED. That may be true, but certainly you can understand if you tell someone that, that they might be offended and you might get a strong reaction back from them. Many Jewish people lived through years of antisemitism and persecution from Christians, so someone Bernie’s age might be a litttle sensitive.
    Clearly Bernie does not believe ALL Christians are unfit for government. Think how you might feel if you were interviewing a Muslim and they told you that all Christians are CONDEMED, would you vote yes for that person?
    Sometimes it is diffficult as a Christian to live in a Democracy, but we have to accept that we do live in a Democracy and not a Theocracy.

    • Gloria Dibbern

      This is a basic tenant of Christianity, that only those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved. Why is this an issue? And why does anyone have to soften, or water down, or deny, their constitutional right to practice and publicly proclaim what they believe? Russell didn’t say anything about non-believers being denied their constitutional rights because they aren’t Christian. Bernie Sanders should be removed from office for discrimination against evangelical Christians.

    • Ron A. Zajac

      Bingo, Judy.

  6. Rick Tat

    I am surprised he never read John 3:18, just two verses away from the most popular verse in the Bible: “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
    Also, in the name of tolerance Bernie is being intolerant to Christian beliefs.
    Even Muslims believe their religion is exclusive, would he vote no against a Muslim if he was up there for nomination and asserting Islam was the way to God?

  7. Ron A. Zajac

    Please: Don’t just read this piece–watch the video and listen very, very carefully.

    In that video, Bernie’s right. And if you think that he wants to “disqualify all Christians” from office (per the title/tenor of the post), then you’re trying to hide behind a tin Jesus, which to me is a type of blasphemy that I could *never* sink to–and I’m not even a Christian!

    Lest you think I’m being reflexive (not reflective), let me outline the issue as it develops in the video.

    What Bernie does is catch the interviewee with his pants down, morally speaking. He doesn’t do this by being clever or twisting things: He does it the way it should be done in a republic; by insisting on straightforward answers to simple questions (in this case, one simple question).

    The interviewee wants to eat his cake and have it, too. He wants to riff on/expand upon a “statement of faith” from a school in order to ingratiate himself to doctrinal sticklers at that school (I’m going to guess, on the board of trustees). When pushed to square this with the American doctrine which guarantees freedom of conscience from gov’t let/hindrance, he shows that *he has no conscience*: He first tries to stonewall, then finally, grudgingly dredges up an ancillary doctrine (regarding us all being made in the image of god) in a bid to distance himself from that earlier ingratiation.

    So this man is a dangerous person, for two reasons: 1) he’s a religious humbug (one of the most dangerous species of humbug!), 2) who expects to hold governmental power over others.

    To wit: Sanders isn’t trying to keep a Christian away from governmental power. He’s trying to keep a religious humbug (regardless of faith identification) from governmental power. He’d do the same thing to a Muslim if he/she tried to pull the same kind of crap that this guy did.

    Sanders is exercising due diligence on behalf of both republicanism, *as well as* the preservation of religion from the enervating influence of humbuggery–which is what he’s doing when he refuses to reward a humbug with governmental authority.

  8. Ron,
    Mr. Vought is not merely citing some doctrinal sticklers at Wheaton College. He’s expressing a core doctrine of the Chrstian faith — that anyone who denies Jesus will not be forgiven of his sins, but condemned to hell. The only way to escape judgment is to accept Jesus’ death on the cross as a substitutionary atonement for one’s sins.
    There’s nothing inherently dangerous about believing that people who don’t know Jesus are facing a Godless eternity. Scripture also teaches that God loves all people equally and doesn’t desire any to perish. That’s one of the reasons Christians are motivated to love and serve others and express God’s love to them — to bring them to saving faith.
    Now, you don’t have to like or agree with Christianity, but in this Republic, you do have to respect it enough to allow Christians the same rights as anyone else. Disqualifying them from office as Sanders advocates is unAmerican.

  9. All of Adam’s children stand condemned, but God in grace provided a Savior so that none need to perish.
    See, it is very equal; all have sinned. Yet God provided one way, even though He didn’t have to provide any way.
    This applies to adherents of all religions, whether Jews, Muslims, or Christians, or anyone else. If you are placing faith in anything other than Jesus Christ and His death for your sins and resurrection, you do stand condemned, whether you think that to be PC or not.
    If you take God at HIS Word and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ you will be saved.

  10. Ellie Sattler

    Ron, I haven’t seen that much stretching since the Rio Olympics….

  11. robert

    Ron, Based on past comments that Bernie has made in last year’s primaries, he seems to believe in Universalism or Pluralism. But even if he’s an atheist, Julie’s argument is the same.

    Let’s assume that followers of Jesus Christ have the same rights of belief as Muslims, or Buddhists, or Hindus, Universalists, Pluralists, Atheists, or Mormons. If you agree with that statement (and I don’t know why you wouldn’t) you would agree then that a Universalist or Pluralist (or Atheist) does not have more rights in the US than any other person based on their religion. Bernie’s belief system does not trump Vought’s belief system and in this dialogue it’s clear that Bernie believes his belief system is superior to Vought’s. That’s Julie’s point and was well-made.

    Finally, you should be more concerned if Vought DIDN’T think that Muslims are condemned, because then he would be a liar. Please think more deeply about these HUGE issues. Love you.

  12. Pam Pugh

    After reading the article and then the comments, I conclude that Mr. Sanders inappropriately grilled Mr. Vought about his adherence to a tenet of the Christian faith rather than for his qualifications for the position. It’s also clear that as Christians we need to be alert to what’s transpiring in our culture (being mischaracterized as haters, -phobes, etc.) and respond appropriately, in truth and love. But I must gently point out that we also need avoid using hyperbole such as the article’s headline does.

  13. Robert Peterson

    In the past I also questioned the issue of salvation for non-Christians, until reading scripture in the Old Testament book of Amos. In tat book Amos the Prophet talks with God about the unwillingness of the Israeli people to follow God’s laws; God is angered and threatens to bring destruction on them. Amos pleads with God to show them mercy, and finally God relents and tells Amos he will send Israel “a plumb-line” to measure themselves against.
    Anyone familiar with construction knows a plumb-line is a very simple tool that provides a very effective way to construct something that stands upright; today we use a level for this purpose but in Amos’s time that tool was unavailable. Jesus Christ was the “plumb-line” that God promised to send Israel! Jesus was a simple man, like the simple tool referenced in Amos, and a carpenter skilled in building who would have been very familiar with the importance of using this tool in his work.
    So, to the question of the salvation of non-believers I would answer, just as it is virtually impossible to build a truly upright structure without the use of a plumb-line (or level), so too it is also highly unlikely a person can build an upright existence in their life without a reference metric to compare themselves against. The life of Jesus Christ is that reference metric available to all people to build their lives with.
    Weather or not they choose to us the tool provided is up to them, but ultimately we know that any structure not standing upright is unlikely to withstand th test of time.

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