Senator Sanders And The Twofold Kingdom

Sanders sought to use the religious convictions of Vought as a basis for excluding him from holding public office.

“3: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States” (Constitution of the United States, Art. 6, §3).

 

In early June (2017) Russell Vought appeared before a committee of the United States Senate as the president’s nominee to serve as the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). During the hearing, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) questioned Vought about a piece he wrote in defense of the Wheaton College regarding the dismissal of Dr. Larycia Hawkins.

The exchange is simultaneously frightening and enlightening. It is frightening because of Sen. Sanders apparent ignorance of basic Christian orthodoxy. Unless he was being quite disingenuous, he seems entirely unaware that it is biblical teaching and Christian doctrine that belief in Jesus is the only way to heaven. After all, Christ said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Modernists have abandoned the historic Christian doctrine of exclusivity but it remains the ecumenical orthodox and evangelical faith. Emma Green, in The Atlantic was able to see what Sen. Sanders was apparently unable to see.

As you have seen for yourself, Sen. Sanders proceeds to query Vought not about his views relative to OMB or fiscal policy and the like but about his personal religious views. Sanders was incensed that anyone should believe that Jesus is the Messiah and without faith in him they are eternally condemned. Why is Sen. Sanders so offended? After all, as a boy in Brooklyn, he was instructed in the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). He understands the rudiments of Judaism. The Orthodox synagogue in which was instructed rejected Jesus as the Messiah and as God the Son incarnate. Does that make Sanders a bigot? No. Vought holds the historic Christian view. Does that make him a bigot? No.

The difference between Vought and Sanders, however, is that the latter sought to use the religious convictions of the former as a basis for excluding him from holding public office. This, as Green notes, is flatly contrary to the express language of the Constitution of the United States.

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