Senator Bernie Sanders opposed the nomination of Russell Vought as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget because of the way Vought supported his alma mater in its firing of Larycia Hawkins.
Vought wrote the following for The Resurgent:
Muslims do not mply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.
Sanders declared that Vought’s comments were Islamophobic and therefore made him “really not someone who is what this country is supposed to be about.”
Quickly, prominent evangelicals such as Russell Moore accused Sanders of anti-evangelical bigotry. If Sanders would not confirm a nominee with an exclusivist doctrine of salvation, then he is imposing a religious test in violation of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution. Even worse, as far as many evangelical and conservative pundits were concerned, at least one Democratic senator defended his Vermont colleague.
Islamophobia versus Evangelicalphobia? The rhetoric seems rather overheated given the stakes. I presume that regardless of how benighted, incorrect, or funky Vought’s theology might be, it would have rather little influence on how he pursued his duties at the Office of Management and Budget. Perhaps he could switch us all to a flat 10% tax/tithe.
Most likely, one of Sanders’s staffers handed him this scandalous piece of information about Vought, and he used it uncritically. Non-Christians have every right to be offended by Christians who tell them that they are going to hell, and with all due respect to Article VI, certain religious beliefs might well disqualify individuals from public office. For instance, someone who advocates for the application of Mosaic law to certain sexual activities would face legitimate opposition. Most theological opinions are not disqualifying when it comes to one’s fitness for public office.