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How Bernie Sanders Sent Us Back to Scripture
   Monday, June 19, 2017   at   8:36 PM

Senate confirmation hearings for any position other than a member of the Cabinet or a Supreme Court justice rarely makes the news. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont recently shifted that paradigm with a remarkably strident denunciation of Russ Vought, the Trump Administration's nominee to be deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.

The Senator's objection to Vought is that Vought is a Bible–believing Christian. Really. We're not making this up.

Two things are clear here:
  1. Sen. Sanders has much to learn about the Constitution, which clearly forbids religious tests for public office.
  2. Other than correction from Bible–believing Christians in print and online articles and commentary on cable news channels, he will face no consequence for his actions. There's no way to make Sen. Sanders vote for Vought's confirmation or even to apologize to him.
What to do, then? We'd do well to remember that there have always been people like Sen. Sanders, and there always will be. Jesus told us as much.

Vought has worked in Washington for many years on the staffs of conservative legislators and, most recently, as a vice president of Heritage Action, a grassroots organization. A graduate of Wheaton College, last year he weighed in on a controversy at his alma mater via this 2016 column at The Resurgent, a political website.

The column demonstrates that Vought knows and understands orthodox Christian doctrine, which you'd expect from a Wheaton graduate (it's germane to the issue he was discussing, which involved a faculty member whose theology decidedly veered from orthodox Christianity). In a very real sense, Sen. Sanders's objection is not with Russell Vought at all, but with Christianity. And rather than take the matter up with God, the senator chose to attack one of His followers. Here's a sample from the confirmation hearing:

Many words have been written and spoken about the inappropriateness of Sen. Sanders's behavior in this hearing. But in a very real sense the senator is no different than any dozen people any of us may interact with in the course of an ordinary day. They have either chosen to reject the tenets of Christianity or have been badly taught what those tenets are. Regardless, they hate what they believe Bible–believing Christians stand for – they just haven't been elected to public office.

The writers of all four Gospels quote Jesus telling us this would be the case. Luke's version goes like this:

" Then He said to them,'Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.Great earthquakes will occur in various places, and there will be famines and pestilence. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.

“But before all these things, they will seize you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for My name's sake.It will turn out as a testimony for you.Therefore resolve in your hearts beforehand not to practice your defense.For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your opponents will be able to neither refute nor resist.You will be betrayed by parents and brothers and relatives and friends. And they will put some of you to death.You will be hated by all men for My name's sake,but not a hair of your head shall perish.In your endurance you will gain your souls'" (Luke 21:10–19, MEV, emphasis added).

We will defend the right of our brothers and sisters in the faith to participate in every sphere of public life, including government service. Thankfully, in this nation we have the Constitution on our side in that regard.

But make no mistake, if we live any length of time at all we'll each face irrational opposition, like Russell Vought has. It's inevitable, and it's worthy of being taken as a badge of honor.


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