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Open Letter to Senator Bernie Sanders  

An open letter to the Honorable Bernie Sanders, United States Senator


Dear Senator Sanders,

I read transcripts of the conversation you had last week with Mr. Russell Vought, President Trump’s nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. During that exchange, you quoted Mr. Vought as saying, “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.”

Senator, you reacted by saying, “In my view, the statement made by Mr. Vought is indefensible, it is hateful, it is Islamophobic, and it is an insult to over a billion Muslims throughout the world.”

I have some questions for you, sir, that I would appreciate your addressing.

  1. Does Mr. Vought not have a right to hold such an opinion—or express it publicly?  Or has this nation set in place an idea police force that now finds his comment “illegal”?
  1. Do people of historic orthodox Christian faith no longer have the right to believe (and publicly state) the teachings of Jesus? 
  1. Is it your belief that Christians are free to believe what they want, only so long as they do so in the quiet of their own congregations—keeping their beliefs out of the public square?  If so, how does that square with the first amendment?
  1. You clearly seem to be implying that merely by believing the “wrong things” Mr. Vought’s religious convictions somehow make him unfit for office.  But how could your position be anything other than a clear example of prohibiting the free exercise of Mr. Vought’s religion—a constitutional violation?
  1. How do you justify your verbal laceration of Mr. Vought knowing that Article VI of the Constitution states, “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States”?

I want you to know, Senator Sanders, that far from bigotry or hate, Jesus declared “Whoever believes in me will never die.”  Anyone may receive Christ’s forgiveness and offer of eternal salvation in heaven.  Anyone—Muslims, Jews, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, Hindus—whoever acknowledges Christ as Lord. 

I do not deny that Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father but by me.”  You are free to disagree, free to disbelieve.  But you are not free to wrench the right to believe—and express—this historic biblical belief away from those who embrace the Scriptures.  Nor do such beliefs—or their public declaration—render anyone unfit for office. 

Ultimately, your argument is with Jesus Himself.  It is an argument you cannot win. 


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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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