In a confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill last week, two U.S. Senators applied a clear anti-Christian litmus test to a nominee.
The first case involves Russell Vought, who President Trump nominated to be the deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. The “problem” with Mr. Vought is that he’s a Christian.
Back in 2016, a professor at Wheaton College said Christians and Muslims “worship the same God.” Wheaton said this is inconsistent with its Statement of Faith and Educational Purpose, as the college is “explicitly Christian,” and the professor was ultimately fired. During the hoopla surrounding the matter, Vought, a Wheaton Alum, wrote an op-ed defending the school’s right to stick to its beliefs in biblical Christianity.
At his hearing last week, in what’s now being widely reported as a coordinated attack by the ACLU, Senator Bernie Sanders repeatedly demanded that Mr. Vought equate his biblical Christianity to “Islamophobia.” Sanders continued to chide Vought in the hearing, angrily stating that Vought’s beliefs suggest that he will discriminate against Muslims who are U.S. citizens. “[T]his nominee is really not someone who is what this country is supposed to be about. I will vote no,” Sanders said. In other words, because he is a Christian, he is not worthy to hold public office.
Senator Christopher Van Hollen Jr. of Maryland joined the fray in attacking Vought for his faith, stating, “It’s your comments that suggest a violation of the public trust in what will be a very important position.” Once again the translation is clear: because you’re a Christian, you can’t be trusted to be a public servant.
Sanders and Von Hollen took oaths to “support and defend” the U.S. Constitution, but their actions mock its most fundamental charter, the First Amendment’s freedom to practice our faith according to our consciences.
The NCLL will continue to stand in the gap to defend your religious liberties, and we ask that you let your elected representatives know that their colleagues’ comments are wholly unacceptable when those colleagues—Sanders and Von Hollen—trample the charter they’re sworn to protect.