American Hero: Bernie Sanders attacks a Trump nominee for being a dangerous Christian extremist who claims non-Christians are condemned to Hell.
Sanders, the former 2016 presidential candidate and Senator from Vermont, went to town on Russell Vought, Trump’s nominee for deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, for statements Vought made condemning Muslims.
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 challenged Vought’s obnoxious claim, calling it: “indefensible, it is hateful and Islamophobic, and an insult to over a billion Muslims throughout the world.”
Sanders asked Vought about his anti-Muslim views, and asked Vought if his anti-Muslim remarks were “Islamophobic.”
Vought responded by saying that he is “a Christian,” as if “being a Christian” is an acceptable justification for being Islamophobic.
As Vought continued to dodge the senator’s questions, the conversation grew heated. At one point Sanders raised his voice while calling out the repugnant nature of Vought’s evasion and bigotry:
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?
As one might expect, many Christians were angry that Sanders had dared to call out the vile and repugnant views of Vought, and by extension, those Christians who think like him.
Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore and Evangelist Franklin Graham both issued statements condemning Sanders for speaking the truth about the dangers of Christian extremism.
Even reasonable people are finding fault with Sanders. Writing for Friendly Atheist, Hemant Mehta says:
Bernie Sanders Was Wrong to Challenge a Christian Nominee’s Theology
Mehta, like other critics, suggest that Sanders violated Article 6 of the Constitution, which says there shall be no religious test for any office.
To be fair, Mehta, and the Christian extremists outraged that Sanders would challenge Vought’s religious bigotry, have a point in suggesting Sanders may have been out of line by questioning Vought’s theology.
However, it can also be argued that Vought’s published remarks condemning Muslims, and in essence all other non-Christians, are relevant, and germane, to his ability to serve the interests of the U.S. Constitution, and all citizens, regardless of religious superstitions, or lack thereof.
Remember, Trump nominee Vought is essentially arguing by implication that all non-Christians are in effect second class citizens, and not equal to Christians.
In addition, suggesting all or most Christians harbor a similar bigotry and prejudice in no way justifies or mitigates said bigotry and prejudice.
Responding to the outrage, 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.
Bottom line: Bernie Sanders is a hero for openly challenging the bigotry and prejudice of Christian extremists being nominated to serve in key government positions.