Many people around the world have seen the recent anti-Christian rant of Sen. Bernie Sanders during a Senate hearing for Russell Vought, nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Calling Vought “Islamophobic,” Sanders took a quote from an article Vought wrote about the distinctions between Christianity and Islam out of context to accuse the nominee of bigotry. The quote he referenced was an article for the Resurgent where Vought wrote, “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 called the foundational belief of the Christian religion – that Jesus Christ is the way to eternal life – “indefensible” and “hateful.”
While I disagree with the Senator, his outburst allows Americans to once again address the relationship Christianity has to our American form of government.
Make no mistake, the intent of our founders was not to sanction religions outside of Christianity. In the words of Supreme Court Justice and Father of American Jurisprudence, Joseph Story, “The real object of the (First) Amendment was, not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism (Islam), or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment, which should give to an hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.”
Why were they so exclusive? Simple, because Christianity is the ONLY system of worship designed to bring liberty and freedom to all mankind who were created in God’s image.
Our founding fathers recognized that the role of Christianity in government, with its revolutionary statement, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” was to help people become better citizens, thus resulting in more personal and civil liberty.
The result of this philosophy was known as the American View of Law and Government.
The distinctives of this “American View” are eloquently expressed in the Declaration of Independence by 56 men who supported Christianity and the Bible. Twenty-six of the signers even carried a seminary degree! This American View can be summarized in the following three statements:
- There is an Omniscient, Almighty, Creator God whose Son is Jesus Christ, the Savior and the Lord.
- Our rights to life, liberty and property come from Him. They are a part of His Creation.
- The sole purpose of civil government is to protect these God-given rights
This is the belief system that forms the underpinning of American government. There can be no expectation of personal liberty, or freedom of speech, or freedom of association, or freedom of movement, or freedom of worship, and no hope of peaceful enjoyment of real or personal property, unless these foundational beliefs are understood by the people, embraced by the people and vigorously defended by the people.
These essential, foundational, structural beliefs can be found in all the official documents of our founding. Moreover, our founders’ papers and their correspondence are replete with references to these beliefs.
So while government does not have any authority to force a Muslim to trust in Jesus Christ for their eternal salvation, it is because of the influence of Christianity that the American system of government acknowledges all men, including Muslims, are created in God’s image with unalienable rights that are to be protected and secured.