Re: “Feel the burn? Sanders abhors ‘hateful’ hell talk,” (TNT, 6/13).
Columnist Michael Gerson, whom I generally admire for his fair critiques of both sides of the aisle, was wrong in his discussion of Bernie Sanders’ castigation of Russell Vought (nominated for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget).
Sanders noted Vought had written in an online post that Muslims have “rejected Jesus Christ…[and they] stand condemned” to hell. Sanders found this “hateful.” Gerson noted a lot of people believe in a hell and suggested that Sanders’ remarks were an unconstitutional religious test for office.
True, no nominee’s religion should be disqualifying, but a nominee to a post in an enlightened democracy should expect inquiry into his or her worldview, particularly when the nominee has expressed this view publicly.
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A nominee’s benighted view of infidels could, for example, affect how fairly a candidate administers federal programs. Given the current administration, such inquiry is especially required, as Vought’s nomination may be due, in part, to that very worldview.
The troubling paradox here is that the religious test Gerson objects to may have already been applied by the administration, and Vought evidently passed with flying colors.