Sen. Bernie Sanders held nothing back in his scrutiny of Russell Vought’s religious beliefs, going so far as to seemingly apply a religious test to the White House Deputy Budget Director nominee.
The Vermont senator’s ire was directed at Vought over an article he wrote in defense of his alma mater, Wheaton College, which read in part, “This is the fundamental problem. 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.”
Sanders asked him if he believed the statement was Islamophobic, to which Vought replied, “Absolutely not, Senator. I’m a Christian, and I believe in a Christian set of principles based on my faith.”
Sanders repeatedly pressed him on whether he was suggesting Muslims (and Jews) thus stand condemned.
“Senator, I’m a Christian,” he replied.
“I understand you are a Christian,” Sanders fired back, “but this country are made of people who are not just — I understand that Christianity is the majority religion, but there are other people of 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?”
“Thank you for probing on that question. As a Christian, I believe that all individuals are made in the image of God and are worthy of dignity and respect regardless of their religious beliefs. I believe that as a Christian that’s how I should treat all individuals,” Vought answered.
Eventually the senator wrapped up by telling the chairman that Vought “is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.”
Given that Article VI states, “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States,” it would seem Sanders’s line of questioning and reason for opposing Vought is unconstitutional.