On Wednesday Senator Bernie Sanders spoke the following words during confirmation hearings for Russell Vought who is Donald Trump’s nominee for Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, “I would simply say, Mr. Chairman, that this nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about, I will vote no.”
Sanders became incensed after Vought refused to renounce his Christian belief that anyone, including Muslims, who have rejected Jesus Christ stand condemned and will not enter heaven. During his red-faced tirade Sanders asked the nominee, “Do you believe that statement is Islamophobic?”
Sanders may be representative of the mainstream views regarding Christians and Christianity in general, but if you ask me I’d throw his own words back in his face, “Mr. Sanders, I believe that you are really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.”
It seems that nowadays every value, every principle, every belief that was held by those who founded this country has come under attack; including the ability of Christians to openly profess their faith. Yet at the same time the values and beliefs of so many others are righteously defended against any who would speak out against them. If you speak out against Israel, or the Jews you are labeled anti-Semitic. If you speak out against Islam you are Islamophobic. Yet it seems it is perfectly acceptable to go on verbal tirades against anyone who openly professes their Christian faith.
One could choke on the hypocrisy and double standards…
It wasn’t so long ago, fifty-seven years to be exact, that the qualifications of a presidential candidate were questioned due to his religious beliefs. If you are not familiar with your history, I’m talking about John F. Kennedy and his Roman Catholic faith. In response to these questions Kennedy stated, “I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.”
What Kennedy spoke of is the concept of religious freedom; the freedom to worship as one sees fit. However, as with all freedoms, or rights, there also comes the responsibility that one does not infringe upon the rights of anyone else. I can believe whatever I want in regards to whether there is a God or if there isn’t; and how I choose to worship Him. At the same time I cannot force you to accept my beliefs. That’s the beauty of freedom; each person is free to make their own choices, but at the same time accept the consequences that come with those choices.
The Constitution makes no mention as to whether any person seeking, or being nominated for any office in the federal government must believe, or not believe in the existence of God; it only states, “… but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” What this means is that a person’s religious beliefs should not come into play when being considered for any office within our government; even the office of Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.
There should be only two things which determine whether anyone is fit for public office; first their qualifications for the job they are seeking, and secondly, their willingness to uphold their oath to support and defend the Constitution. That’s it!!!
How would YOU like it if you were deemed unfit for a certain job simply because of the style of music you like to listen to? What difference does someone’s religious beliefs make when it comes to how well they are capable of performing their duties in the job they seek? As long as in the performance of their duties they do not try to impose their beliefs upon the people they work for, (the voters), then what difference does it make if they believe in God or not?
In his personal notes and writings, Thomas Jefferson spoke of his feelings on religion as follows, “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg…”
So how does Mr. Vought’s religious beliefs as they apply towards Muslims even play in to how well he will perform his duties should he be approved for the office he was nominated for? The fact is they shouldn’t; that is if our government is to remain a free representative republic and not a theocracy; which by the way is what many Muslims want to see imposed upon America.
In case you don’t know what a theocracy is, it is a system of government which is run by the religious leaders of a country and their theological texts, or doctrines become the law which all people must obey. An example would be if the Pope were president and he imposed Catholic Doctrine upon the people of America by statute and law.
The whole concept of separation of church and state has become so twisted that it is barely recognizable from what it meant way back when Jefferson first spoke of it. What it meant back then was that a barrier was to be established between religion and government so that neither could influence the affairs of the other, and at the same time neither could impose their views upon anyone else.
For instance, priests should not become involved in telling their parishes what candidate to vote for any more than the president should tell people what church to attend; or whether they even had to attend church services. The idea was to preclude any preference for a single religious belief system; including atheism or agnosticism. Yet at the same time it allowed for the maximum freedom to worship, or not worship for that matter, as one sees fit. This is why the 1st Amendment’s protection was included in the Bill of Rights, which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
It does not say that any mention of God in public is prohibited, it only says that government, via acts of Congress, shall not pass any law which prefers one religious sect over another; while at the same time ensuring that people are free to worship as they see fit.
Today people believe the separation of church and state is the total obliteration of God from public discourse; especially when taxpayer funds are used to support specific institutions such as schools. But by telling our children that they cannot pray, or discuss God in school, are we not violating their freedom of speech? The freedom of speech, as I have said many times before, does not protect one from hearing things which they find offensive. Hell, if that were the case then every time I left the house everyone I encountered would be required to shut up; because most of the things I hear people say offend me!
You may have the right to question the things I say, and vice versa, but you do not have the right to silence me because you disagree with what I say, or if what I say offends you. Nor can anyone demand that no one speak of God, or their religious beliefs in public places simply because others do not share their beliefs. That violates all the 1st Amendment stands for. As Thomas Jefferson said, “One of the amendments to the Constitution… expressly declares that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,’ thereby guarding in the same sentence and under the same words, the freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press; insomuch that whatever violates either throws down the sanctuary which covers the others.”
That said, there was a time when it was not considered politically incorrect to even speak of God in public schools. In fact, the Supreme Court, in 1844, ruled, “Why may not the Bible and especially the New Testament be read and taught as a divine revelation in school? Where else can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament.” (Source: Vidal v. Girard’s Executors, Justice Joseph Story delivering the Courts unanimous decision)
Why is it that religious values, especially Christian values, have come under such intense attack? I can fully understand if one chooses not to believe, and even accept their insults should others choose to believe. What I cannot abide is the outright attacks to completely denigrate those who believe, and the attempts to silence the voices of those who profess their Christian faith.
Does the truth frighten people so much that they would silence speech to avoid it? Do the principles contained in the Bible frighten the forces of darkness in our public places and government so much that they seek to banish them?
There was a time when the majority of the people living in this country were members of any number of Christian faiths. There were Anglicans, Protestants, Baptists, Catholics, Quakers, and many other beliefs scattered throughout the land. Yet they all had one thing in common, the belief in the Christian God and in the divinity of Jesus Christ.
Our nation may not have been founded to force religious beliefs on anyone, but it certainly was founded by men of faith. Not all may have come out and openly said it, but many a Founder believed, as did Patrick Henry, “It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains.” Our country may have been established on religious freedom; the ability of each of us to choose whether to believe or not believe, or how we go about exercising our faith, but I think it was commonly understood amongst our Founders that for this country to endure it would have to hold on to some sort of moral and ethical belief system; such as the principles found in the Bible; particularly the New Testament.
Thomas Jefferson may have been a Deist; one who acknowledges the presence of a God, but believes it does not interact with humanity, but he never rejected the idea that there was a God and that our freedoms come from Him. The Declaration of Independence proves this, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” as does his Summary View of the Rights of British America, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of men that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?”
To Senator Sanders, and all those who profess to support him, I have but one thing to say. It is not the people, such as Mr. Vought, whom you claim do not represent what America is supposed to be about; it is all of you who do not represent what America used to be about.
Your ideologies, your beliefs that the will of the majority is sufficient to deprive a minority of their rights, that the theft of income from one category of Americans is justified if it is used to ease the suffering of those in need, that the right of people to defend themselves against crime makes them a criminal, these are all things you believe in, yet run counter to what our Founders believed.
In closing, I’d like to leave one final quote for you to consider; again from Thomas Jefferson, “Time indeed changes manners and notions, and so far we must expect institutions to bend to them. But time produces also corruption of principles, and against this it is the duty of good citizens to be ever on the watch, and if the gangrene is to prevail at last, let the day be kept off as long as possible.”
Well, the gangrene has certain taken hold and the corruption of principles is all but complete. And just out of curiosity, do you know what the medical treatment for gangrene used to be? If you do not, it was amputation; they cut off the affected area so that it would not spread throughout the body. You may want to consider that before those who still adhere to the principles of self reliance, liberty, and freedom decide to amputate the gangrene which is spreading through America today.