Political Editors, Patriot Post, June 10, 2017 – It would be surprising to find a “Coexist” bumper sticker affixed to Senator Bernie Sanders’ car. While the sentiment expressed by the sticker is clearly meant to promote the progressive idea of tolerance, it would seem for Sanders, when it comes to government, that’s just a bridge too far.
It’s no secret that our Founding Fathers formulated much the of U.S. Constitution from a Judeo-Christian and Enlightenment worldview. They were also very much aware of the danger of allowing the government the power of determining what religious convictions and beliefs are permissible, the protections against such government abuse being espoused in the First Amendment and further delineated in Article VI of the Constitution. Evidently, Sanders must have misplaced his pocket Constitution.
During the Senate hearing for Donald Trump’s nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, Russell Vought, Sanders brought up an article Vought wrote in 2016. Vought had defended his alma mater, Wheaton College, over an incident that eventually led to the departure of a professor who had expressed solidarity with Muslims. Sanders decided to question Vought’s theological convictions:
Sanders: I don’t know how many Muslims there are in America, I really don’t know, probably a couple million. Are you suggesting that all of those people stand condemned? What about Jews? Do they stand condemned too?
Vought: Senator, I am a Christian…
Sanders: I understand that you are a Christian. But this country is made up of people who are not just — I understand that Christianity is the majority religion. But there are other people who have 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?
After Sanders continued badgering Vought along those lines, he evidently sought to conclude that Vought’s religious views were bigoted — without noting the irony that Muslims and Jews likewise believe their religion is the only true one. Sanders concluded, “I would simply say, Mr. Chairman, that this nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.” Then again, Sanders is a disciple of Karl Marx, who once said, “Religion is the opium of the people” (in other translations, “opiate of the masses”). Is that ideology what the country’s about?
It’s ironic that Sanders, a champion of the Left, deemed it entirely relevant to question Vought’s religious beliefs as a means of determining his qualifications for a position in government, and yet this same Left has worked to stop Donald Trump’s travel ban over the claim that it’s a religious test against Muslims. Maybe the parody site The Babylon Bee captures it best with its fictional Sanders op-ed headline, “It Is Perfectly OK For Public Servants To Be Christian, As Long As They Do Not Believe Christian Things.”