Earlier this week, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) grilled Russell Vought, President Donald Trump's nominee for the position of Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, during Mr. Vought's confirmation hearings. Was it over Mr. Vought's economic views? Not really. The most significant grilling was over Mr. Vought's religious views, specifically his views regarding salvation for those outside of the Christian faith.
In early 2016, Mr. Vought's alma mater, Wheaton College, was rocked by controversy when one of its professors said Christians and Muslims worship "the same God." Mr. Vought defended Wheaton's statement of faith and its handling of the situation, saying (in an article for Resurgent magazine) that Muslims have a "deficient theology" and "do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned." Now this is certainly offensive talk in our postmodernist age of political correctness, but it's hardly surprising.
What Vought said is basic Christian doctrine. Doubt me? Read the New Testament. Let's start with John 3:18, where Jesus tells Nicodemus (and us): "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." There's also John 3:16, John 14:6, Romans 10:9-10 and 13, and on and on and on and on. The Bible is certainly offensive to many people. That's why many people have tried to destroy it (unsuccessfully) over the years, but the Bible (and Christianity) have been around for 2000 years. Vought's beliefs are well within the mainstream of Christian thought.
What's most distressing for our purposes, however, is that this line of questioning even came up! Has Senator Sanders not read the Constitution? Who cares what Vought believes regarding heaven, hell, salvation, and the like? It doesn't matter! The only vested interest the government has in someone's religious beliefs are whether those beliefs will drive a person to commit violence (that's actual violence, not the verbal hurt-your-feelings, micro-aggression nonsense so many college campuses are worried about) against their fellow citizens or call for some kind of insurrection against the government. That's it. A person can believe (and express his belief) in God, Allah, or the atheists' favorite "Flying Spaghetti Monster," and it shouldn't be a matter of consideration for the U.S. Senate.
The U.S. Constitution clearly states that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." (Article VI, Section 3). That means it's unconstitutional for a sitting U.S. Senator to consider an executive branch nominee's religious beliefs when deciding whether to consent to that person's nomination. For a senator to do otherwise shows (at best) ignorance of or (at worst) defiance of the Constitution of the United States. It also smells, in this case, of anti-Christian bigotry.
Are we going to respect that part of the Constitution or not? Clearly, Senator Sanders is not. And, for that reason, this American is glad he is not our President today.