Political correctness is increasingly encroaching upon religious freedoms in most Western countries, including the United States.
Bernie Sanders, the socialist Senator from Vermont who could have become president in 2016, recently announced that he will oppose President Trump’s nominee for assistant budget director, Russell Vought, on religious viewpoint positions.
It seems that Mr. Vought shared his religious views in a blog in January of 2016, defending his alma mater, Wheaton College (Wheaton, Illinois) concerning the firing of a professor who taught that Muslims and Christians believe in the same God. To this, Mr. Vought’s post had distinguished between Christian and Islamic theology.
Wheaton College is a highly respected evangelical Christian institution whose statement of faith holds to historic orthodox Christianity, where Jesus claims to be “the Way, the Truth and the Life” and that “no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
The fact that Mr. Vought affirmed these words of Jesus Himself in a public blog has nothing to do with him being acceptable as a nominee to work in the Office of Management and Budget or any other government position. As a matter of fact, Article VI of the U.S. Constitution provides that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
However, Vought’s affirmation of this core Christian doctrine led the senator from Vermont to grill him about this politically incorrect religious position, when he testified before the Senate Budget Committee, June 7th.
“You wrote,” the senator stated, “‘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.’ Do you believe that that statement is Islamophobic?”
Mr. Vought said,“Absolutely not, Senator.” He then tried to explain that he was a Christian and the principles and precepts from the Bible shaped his personal religious viewpoints. But, he insisted, he respects the dignity and value of all individuals.
Sanders interrupted, “Forgive me, we just don’t have a lot of time,” “Do you believe people in the Muslim religion stand condemned? Is that your view?”
Mr. Vought attempted to explain that his biblically-based beliefs informed his personal viewpoints. However, Sanders, cut him off, shouting, “I understand you are a Christian, but this country is 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?”
“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 responded.
Senator Sanders, apparently still wanting to impose a religious test on the nominee and to demonstrate hostility toward Bible-believing Christians, said, “I would simply say, Mr. Chairman, that this nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.” He concluded his inquisition-like questioning by stating that he would be voting against confirming the nomination.
It seems clear that dedicated Christ-followers may increasingly become the objects of fake accusations, legal harassment, or even intense persecution in the midst of the cultural revolutions exploding around us, in these end times. The Bible says some saints will even face martyrdom for their faith (Matthew 24:9; Revelation 6:9 and 20:4). St. Peter recognized this and warned the saints of God to not yield to pessimism or fear.
Rather, Peter wrote that, as the days grow spiritually darker around us, we must never lose sight of the eternal world and the righteous judgments which are yet to be revealed and released.
While we wait, we must give attention to the kind of lifestyles with which Jesus will be pleased, when he returns. 2 Peter, chapter 3, tells us to:
- Be godly—holy-like in our character and conduct (v. 11)
- Be expectant—eagerly desire and anticipate the coming Day of God (vv. 12-13)
- Live in purity and peace—not emotionally panicked nor spiritually stunted (v. 14)
- Avoid the errors of evil people—be stabilized by the truth in God’s Word (v.17)
- Keep growing—in Christ-like character and spiritual understanding (v.18)