Two U.S. Senators Apply an Anti-Christian Religious Test for Government Officials

Two U.S. senators imply that those who believe Jesus is the only way to salvation are “Islamophobic” and not fit for public office.

We should not be surprised when such anti-Christian bias is expressed by groups like the ACLU. That organization has spent decades undermining the liberties of religious Americans. But it’s unacceptable to have our own representatives in the Senate claim that Christians “violate the public trust” when we make the true claim that in rejecting Jesus “those of other faiths stand condemned.”

The Story: In a confirmation hearing of an executive branch nominee, two U.S. senators imply that those who believe Jesus is the only way to salvation are “Islamophobic” and not fit for public office.

The Background: Last year, a controversy erupted when a political science professor at Wheaton College decided to wear a hijab during Advent in solidarity with Muslims. In a post on Facebook, Larycia Hawkins wrote, “I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”

Many Christians disagreed with her claim, including former Wheaton alum Russell Vought. In an article for the conservative website The Resurgent, Vought pushed back against a defense of Hawkins made by theologian John Stackhouse. “Having a deficient (e.g., nontrinitarian) theology of God,” Stackhouse said, “does not mean you are not in actual prayerful and faithful relationship with God.”

To this claim Vought responded, “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.”

This April President Donald Trump nominated Vought to serve as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. Vought’s Senate confirmation hearing was held yesterday.

At 1:26 p.m. EDT, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sent a statement about Vought’s confirmation hearing in which they quoted his remarks in The Resurgent article and said,

“Religious freedom is such a fundamental liberty that the framers of our Constitution enshrined it in the First Amendment. That’s why it’s so disturbing that Trump continues to pack his administration with appointees like Russell Vought, whose views threaten that very freedom.

“Trump’s nominee for this powerful position that helps decide how federal money is spent has claimed that ‘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.’

“We know that diversity is one of our nation’s greatest strengths, and it is vitally important that Americans have confidence that their public servants will serve our entire nation in good faith. That’s why we will watch Vought closely and press to ensure that those helping decide how public money is spent and the government is managed understand the vital importance of nondiscrimination.”

An hour later, in what appears to be a coordinated action with the ACLU, Senator Bernie Sanders grilled Vought on the quote during his nomination hearing. The socialist from Vermont read the quote and asked Vought, “Do you believe that statement is Islamophobic?”

Vought responded that he did not, that he was a Christian who based his principles on his faith, and that the statement was made in defense of Wheaton College’s statement of faith about the centrality of Jesus Christ for salvation.

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Read another article on this topic: Bernie Sanders’s Religious Test for Christians in Public Office