Opinion

Bernie Sanders Attacks a Christian for Being a Christian

Sen. Bernie Sanders is a Communist, a selective constitutionalist, and an anti-Christian bigot. Sanders’ anti-Christian bigotry and ignorance were on full display during a confirmation hearing for Russell Vought who President Donald Trump nominated to serve as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Sanders and Sen. Christopher Van Hollen Jr. of Maryland, who says he’s a Christian, attacked Vought because of some of his religious views regarding Islam. Here’s what Vought wrote in a different setting: “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.” (Gospel Coalition)

Before we look at the biblical material, note what the Constitution says:

“but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” (Article VI, Section 3)1

Furthermore, it should be pointed out that the Constitution sets Sunday aside as a day of rest for the President (not Friday or Saturday) and ends with “Done in the year of our Lord…” Then there’s the First Amendment.

Anyone who has read the Bible knows that Vought’s beliefs are biblical. Jesus, who was born into a Jewish family and ministered “to the lost sheep of Israel” (Matt. 15:24), made it clear that there is only one way to be saved. As a Christian, Van Hollen should know this. Consider this discussion between Jesus and Thomas:

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).

Jesus told Nicodemus, a “ruler of the Jews” (John 3:1) and “the teacher of Israel” (3:10), “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (3:3) or “enter into the kingdom of God” (3:5). Bernie Sanders should take heed from his fellow Jew and submit his will to the will of Jesus the Messiah.

This is the Christian position. To deny it is to deny the Christian faith and call Jesus a liar and deny tens of millions of Christians any place in our nation’s government and reject a great number of our nation’s Christian founders.

Sanders began his attack of Vought by asking him if  “Muslims stand condemned. Vought reiterated that he was a Christian, whereupon Sanders interrupted him again to ask if Jews stand condemned. For the third time, Vought pointed out that he was a Christian and once again Sanders interrupted the nominee’s answer. Sanders began yelling at Vought, saying” the following:

“I understand you are a Christian. … 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?”

Sorry Bernie, but this is the Christian position. It was the position of Jesus and the early church, most of whom were Jews. Jews and non-Jews stand condemned outside of Jesus Christ. Contrary to what Islamists claim, there were no Muslims in Jesus’ day since the religion did not exist. Anyone who embraces Jesus as Savior and Lord is no longer condemned.

Jews who presented this view were persecuted by some of their fellow-Jews. Some were arrested, beaten, and even murdered for advocating a theological position similar to that of what Vought believes and advocates (Acts 4:1-22; 5:17-32; 7:54-8:1-3). Consider the following from the former persecutor of Christians, the Apostle Paul:

Are they servants of Christ? — I speak as if insane — I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure (2 Cor. 11:23-27).

Paul could have avoided all of this by taking Van Hollen’s position: “part of being a Christian in my view is recognizing that there are lots of ways that people can pursue their God.” Not according to Jesus.

I wonder how Sanders and Van Hollen would question Congressman Keith Ellison who is a Muslim. Islam teaches that all non-Muslims are infidels. There are Muslims around the world who are killing Christians who will not deny their faith and become Muslim. Some have been beheaded, hanged, drowned, and burned alive. Their churches have been burned and their members blown to pieces.

The difference between Islam and Christianity is that Christianity is a religion of persuasion while Islam is a religion of force. No one is forced to be a Christian. As the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, Vought will determine how our tax dollars will be spent (that’s a whole new discussion in itself). In biblical terms, however, there is one law. Christians cannot apply economic laws in an unjust way — “The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you” (Ex. 12:49) — no matter what a person believes. This is not the case with Islam.

Instead of denigrating and persecuting Christians who bring a message of peace through the gospel, Sanders and Van Hollen should be going after Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) jihadists who have, “in the most recent edition of their propaganda magazine Rumiyah, … released ‘unseen’ pictures of ‘belligerent Christians’ who have been “executed by the jihadist group in the Philippines.”

“The soldiers of the Khilafah in East Asia stormed the city of Marawi in the southern Philippines on the island of Mindanao, chased out the local police and the military, and raised the banner of the Islamic State,” the jihadists wrote in the latest issue of Rumiyah,  titled “The Jihad in East Asia.” (Breitbart)

Sanders and Van Hollen should also address why “half the Christians living in Syria and Iraq have been killed or fled the country since 2011, mostly because of targeted persecution from the Islamic State terror group” and explain why there are comparable Christian acts of genocide. (Breitbart)

  1. Spring 1996), 261-295. For a discussion of the problems related to the religious test ban, see Gary North, Conspiracy in Philadelphia: Origins of the United States Constitution (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision Press, 2001. []
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