Democrat Senator Bernie Sanders applies a religious litmus test to Christians in public service positions, but when it comes to applying the same standard to Muslims, the Vermont senator claimed that they should instead be judged by their “views [and] abilities” instead “of their religion.”
In an exchange Wednesday between Sanders and the potential deputy White House budget director Russell Vought—an evangelical Christian—the former Democrat presidential candidate began attacking Vought for his belief in Christianity and went as far to say “this nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.”
Sanders prefaced his disqualifying comment towards Vought by intensely questioning him regarding his faith and an article he wrote explaining that Christians and Muslims worship different gods.
“Let me get to this issue that has bothered me and bothered many other people. You wrote, ‘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.’ Do you believe that that statement is Islamophobic?” Sanders asked.
The senator also questioned whether Vought’s statements about other basic tenants of Christian faith were “respectful of other religions.”
Vought simply replied to the senator by saying “I’m a Christian . . . I wrote a post based on being a Christian and attending a Christian school that has a statement of faith that speaks clearly in regard to the centrality of Jesus Christ in salvation.”
This answer was not satisfactory to Sanders, who replied, “I would simply say, Mr. Chairman, that this nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.”
When a similar controversy arose in 2015 regarding Muslims working as public officials, Sanders blasted Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson for alleging that Islam and the U.S. Constitution are not compatible.
“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that,” Carson said.
Sanders told Carson, “You judge candidates for president not on their religion, not on the color of their skin, but on their ideas, on what they stand for. That is what America is supposed to be about.”
Beyond that, much of Sanders’ recent career has been focused on standing up for tolerance and acceptance of the Muslim faith, as he has also said, “There is a lot of … hatred being generated against Muslims in this country. … If we are going to stand for anything, we have got to stand together and end all forms of racism.”
Evidently, Sanders holds Christians applying for government jobs to a staunch religious litmus test, yet expects the exact opposite for Muslims.
This religious-liberty double standard toward evangelical Christians is not in line with Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, which states that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”