Bernie Diaz, June 13, 2017
If there was ever any doubt that a strong anti-Christian current runs through our country – even at its highest levels, U.S. Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders dispelled it, having joined another Senator in a confirmation hearing of an executive branch nominee, in which they both implied that those who believe Jesus is the only way to salvation are “Islamophobic” and not fit for public office.
You read that right. Sanders took issue with a piece Wheaton College Alum Russell Vought – President Trump’s nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote last year correcting a theological error from a Wheaton professor showing doctrinal solidarity with Muslims.
During the hearing, Sanders repeatedly quoted one passage that he found particularly objectionable: “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.”
Sanders in responding to the above quote said, “In my view, the statement made by Mr. Vought is indefensible, it is hateful, it is Islamophobic, and it is an insult to over a billion Muslims throughout the world.” Sanders added, “This country, since its inception, has struggled, sometimes with great pain, to overcome discrimination of all forms … we must not go backwards.”
Where does one begin to process such ignorance, bias and religious bigotry displayed by the Senator from Vermont?
Ignorance: in that Sanders betrays a complete lack of understanding as to what constitutes Christianity, which is predicated upon its founder’s own words from John 14, that he – Jesus Christ, is “the way, the truth and the life and that no one can come to the father except through…him.”
Furthermore, as a result of that truth, Jesus also said that anyone that rejects him or his gospel of saving grace, has already been and remains condemned in their unredeemed state (Jo. 3:18, 8:19; Lu. 10:6). This would and should come as no surprise to virtually any American who has any inkling of world religion in the most minimal sense whatsoever, to say nothing of an elected official who should know better – even one as secularly minded as Sanders admits to being.
Hateful: Sanders betrays further ignorance in labeling any religion as being “hateful” or phobic of any other, for simply adhering to its historic and orthodox system of faith which all of the world’s major religions do – including Islam, which could take offense at Sander’s comments, being that he has labeled any religion with an exclusive truth claim as being “hateful.”
I can only wonder whether Sanders would utter the same disdain for Islamic doctrine though, if given the opportunity. Somehow, I think not.
The Senator’s comments also betray a stunning if not staggering level of intolerance from a man who has been parroting the liberal left’s party line of universal tolerance for some time now – a hypocritical stance at that, which any thinking observer would be aware of.
That being the fact that “progressives” have shown themselves to be ‘tolerant’ of only those views they feel most tolerant about, which does not include Christianity and its convictional views of God, Jesus, scripture and redemption, to say nothing of its moral stance on family and sexuality.
However, the most blatantly prejudiced, intolerant and discriminatory stance taken by Senator Sanders in this committee hearing, was imposing an unconstitutional, ‘religious test of office’ on Mr. Vought.
In essence, Sanders and his fellow Democratic colleague, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, attempted to call into question Vought’s qualifications to hold an executive office in the federal government based upon the profession of his evangelical Christian faith, as evidenced by his gospel claims.
In stark contrast to the Senator’s vitriol, Article VI of the U.S. Constitution states that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
This amendment to the U.S. constitution was explicitly drafted by this nation’s founders to prevent religious discrimination against any person seeking office regardless of their personal religious persuasion or convictions- Christianity, the majority religion of the land included.
Make no mistake about it, anti-Christian persecution and discrimination has arrived and is continuing to grow in both American society and culture, which led the way, having been birthed by the sexual revolution which has taken a major hold in this country over the last two decades.
This moral revolution, embedded in the activist homosexual movement, first went after faith-based and conscience convicted people and institutions:
- Wedding photographers
- Corporate CEOs (e.g. Mozilla)
- County clerk employees (e.g. Kentucky wedding license clerk)
- Healthcare providers (e.g. ‘Little Sisters of the Poor’)
- Motel and other accommodation owners
- Fast-food restaurants (e.g. Chick-Fil-A)
- Retailers (e.g. Hobby Lobby)
- State Legislatures (e.g. Indiana and North Carolina)
Now, as per Senator Sanders’ ‘out of the closet’ grilling of the Trump nominee, the movement has declared a full and unprecedented assault on any Christian holding to a public, biblical worldview, aspiring to a political office on the federal level.
In a statement issued last week, a spokesman for Sanders said, “In a democratic society, founded on the principle of religious freedom, we can all disagree over issues, but racism and bigotry—condemning an entire group of people because of their faith—cannot be part of any public policy.” The nomination of a candidate like Vought, “who has expressed such strong Islamaphobic language,” the statement said, “is simply unacceptable.”
There you have it. According to Bernie Sanders and company, a simple gospel statement pointing to the life-saving and transforming salvation found by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, on the national stage, has been labeled as being not only racist and bigoted, but “simply unacceptable.”
It is apparent that the cost of discipleship for the Christian, a call if not warning given by Jesus to potential disciples two millennia ago (Ma. 8; Lu. 9 and 14), would include persecution in the form of modern-day discrimination, mirroring at least at an infant stage, the early church’s testing and tribulation of its first three centuries.
Lest anyone think Bernie Sanders has driven me to the brink of hyperbole if not hysteria, I am in no way comparing our current state of persecution to what our church ancestors suffered back then, or in other more extreme periods of church history, where economic oppression, torture and ultimate martyrdom were not uncommon for Christians.
However, what has become abundantly clear, is that Biblical Christianity- expressed particularly in the public marketplace of ideas, is under fire, politically incorrect and condemned by the left as being “unacceptable” and hateful.
Therefore, what should the Christian response be to Bernie Sanders and his ilk? A biblical one of course, which is to lovingly remain faithful to Christ, his cause and kingdom by continuing to remain steadfast in showing and sharing Christ and his gospel, on our search and rescue mission for the lost- Bernie Sanders included.
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. (1 Pet. 3:15-17, ESV).