Bernie Sanders doubled down Sunday on his religious test for government applicants, but only if they’re Christian.
Jake Tapper asked Bernie about a religious test he imposed on a nominee for the budget office, Russell Vought. The Vermont Socialist questioned Vought on his very defensible religious beliefs which in no way prevent him from doing the job. In fact, they have nothing to do with the position he was applying for.
Mr. Vought believes his religion is the one true religion and the only path to heaven. A lot of religions believe that.
Bernie said Mr. Vought’s religious views are “indefensible, it is hateful, it is Islamophobic, and it is an insult to over a billion Muslims throughout the world.”
He found no such issue with Muslims. He once said about Muslim nominees that they should instead be judged by their “views [and] abilities” instead “of their religion.”
This was the key exchange:
TAPPER: Senator, are you saying that someone is necessarily hateful and Islamophobic, if they believe in their private life and express that in private life the only path to God is through Jesus Christ?
SANDERS: No, absolutely not.
Look, what our Constitution — one of the great parts of our Constitution is to protect freedom of religion. You practice what religion you want. I do. Mr. Vought does. That’s what it’s about.
But at a time when we are dealing with Islamophobia in this country, when you got 1.2 billion people who are Muslims around the world, to have a high-ranking member of the United States government essentially say, oh, Islam is a second-class religion — and this all took place, by the way, in terms of his defending the firing of a professor at Wheaton College because she showed solidarity with Muslims who are — were being attacked through an anti-Muslim effort.
So, that seemed to me unacceptable as a government official.
In terms of his freedom of religion, he and every other American has the right to hold any point of view they want.
As long as you are not a Christian, you can believe what you want and have a position as deputy budget director in the OMB.
Nothing wrong with what Vought said
Vought wrote in an article for Wheaton College that Muslims have a “deficient theology,” that “they do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.” It’s not the view of all Christians but it’s nonetheless widely held.
Sanders grilled him on the article and a spokesman later said that “racism and bigotry — condemning an entire group of people because of their faith — cannot be part of any public policy.”
Vought wasn’t talking about public policy and there was nothing bigoted in it. It’s a typical religious view. Muslims and Jews think their religion is superior too. They all see other religions as deficient in some way.
What Sanders did is wrong and has no place in the Senate.
Vought’s view, common among religions, is no threat to the rights of anyone who disagrees with it.
The senator used Senate proceedings to condemn theological views he doesn’t like.
So much for leftist tolerance.