I am a Jew. All of my ancestors have been Jews since Judaism was founded almost 6,000 years ago on the belief of a monotheistic God. I pray in Hebrew every morning and every night. And I am deeply, cruelly, painfully embarrassed at my fellow Jew, Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont…
There was a time when I kinda liked Bernie, I must confess. But those days are increasingly coming to seem like “a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”
Commentator Ben Stein writes, inter alia,
Christianity, here in America, which has been such a great friend of us Jews, is far too powerful to be taken down by one angry Vermonter. But I am scared that as a nation, we among the political and media self-selected elite, so strongly blast “Islamophobia” but do not hear the onrushing sounds of Christophobia throughout the world and especially here at home.
Thank you, sir. Needless to say, I agree!
On a related note, Tim Count writes in “An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from a Vermont Pastor,”
Your [Senator Sanders’] actions towards and comments to Russell Vought during his confirmation hearing for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget endanger our rich history of religious freedom as both a state and a country… Article VI of the U.S. Constitution declares, “…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States” …
As I have read your comments towards Mr. Vought and watched the video of your interaction, I am astounded at how quickly you have tied together personal faith that Jesus is the only Savior with an individual’s public policy. As Mr. Vought tried to express but was interrupted, Christians believe that all people are made in the image of God and thus should be treated with dignity and respect, even while we hold to Jesus’ statements such as, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
We do not have to be Universalists theologically to be able to hold public office nor to be good citizens in the Green Mountain State or in the United States of America. I believe that the founders of [Old First Church in Bennington, VT] would have been shocked at your statements, as they were leaving a government that told them what they could and could not believe. We have reverted back to a government that has a religious test, but rather than church membership allowing entrance into government office, it is now philosophical membership in secularism that holds the keys.
I ask you to clarify and clearly articulate whether or not you truly believe that a Christian who believes that Jesus is the only way to salvation can no longer hold public office in this country. Are you saying that citizens who are not atheists, agnostics, or Universalists cannot serve as government officials?
That may indeed be what Senator Sanders is saying. I do most sincerely hope and pray it is not what a majority of our Senators and Representatives believe! I do not think it is. Not yet, and I hope, not ever!
My only quibble with Pastor Counts’ comments in his “Open Letter,” and it may be more semantic than substantive, is when he writes, “I ask my country for freedom to not only preach the gospel – but also for freedom for those I preach to – to hold their religious beliefs while also holding public office.”
There is no need for him to ask his country for such freedom. Article VI states the matter clearly. And the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment – whose no establishment and free exercise clauses mirror and reinforce the “no religious test” clause of Article VI – are among those “inalienable rights” with which our Declaration of Independence reminds us that we have been “endowed by our Creator.”
Neither our nation nor its government provides us with religious freedom; rather, our country and our government have an obligation to protect the religious freedom with which we have been endowed by God. Not to tell us what we must believe or how we must worship, but neither to prevent us from doing so, or to limit our ability to serve our country while so doing! That is what must be reemphasized, repeatedly and firmly, until (God willing) it finally sinks in.