President Trump’s nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, Russell Vought, was subjected to a scathing examination during his confirmation hearing by Senator Bernie Sanders. Vought, an alumnus of Wheaton College, had written an article defending his alma mater when a professor there, Dr. Larycia Hawkins, had caused a controversy by saying Muslims and Christians “worship the same God.”
Several Christian observers have voiced opposition to Sanders questioning that apparently violates Article Six of the United States Constitution that reads, “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Vought held to his Christian conviction that salvation is through Jesus Christ alone, accepted Christian orthodoxy for almost two millennia.
As Sanders tried to paint him a bigot, Vought replied, “As a Christian, I believe all individuals are created 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.”
Sanders was visibly angry when he said, “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.” If Sanders’ only reason for voting no on Vought’s appointment is because he holds to orthodox Christian beliefs then he did make this appointment about a religious test.
While I think Sanders is wrong in this instance, I am not angry with him. He sees politics through the lens of a socialism of his own making attempting to placate a fringe minority of supporters. He is a political extremist in a society that has little use for extremes.
I do not expect unbelievers to understand why we believe what we believe. Paul wrote about this to the church at Corinth, “But a natural man [an unbeliever] does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised, “ 1 Corinthians 2:14.
Unbelievers do not understand those of us who hold to a Christian worldview. Believers see reality through the lens of spiritual truth, a view that unbelievers disregard as myth or dismiss as being impractical. But biblical truth is no myth, and in his rejection of biblical truth the natural man fails to see its practicality.
Sanders is an obvious example in this respect. He is so busy attacking what he believes is the discriminatory beliefs of Russell Vought, that he disregards his professed practice of non-prejudicial treatment of those who hold differing religious beliefs. And why? Because he embraces the biblical teaching that all men are created in the image of God making each one worthy of dignity and respect.
Bernie Sanders did nothing to explain why Russell Vought should be disqualified for public office, but he did exhibit the kind of prejudice that should disqualify him to be a Senator.