By tradition, Americans will burn some meat and eat cob corn and drink beer. Some of us might even talk politics.
Not religion, though.
Americans don't like talking about religion, even at extended family gatherings like
What if someone hears you?
So it's rather doubtful that your barbecue guests will bring up
Instead, we'll wipe rib sauce from our lips with red-white-and-blue paper napkins as some precocious eighth-grade niece or nephew mentions the
But not many will want to talk about what
Those who don't know won't care. Those who do know might avoid talking about it, because it may make people uncomfortable.
It happened a few weeks ago, in
If he were just some angry fringe lefty, I wouldn't be writing this. But
Sanders is a de facto leader of the national Democratic Party. He's the one shaping it, and using his brand of populism to pull it ever further to the political left.
Because of his political influence, what Sanders said to and about Vought in their contentious exchange is frightening and depressing to people of faith.
Sanders became upset with what Vought wrote in 2016, on a conservative website called The Resurgent, about the firing of Larycia Hawkins, a professor at
Hawkins had expressed solidarity with Muslims, declaring that they and Christians "worship the same God." That was unacceptable to
Clearly, Vought used the word "condemned" to indicate that he believed non-Christians would not go to heaven. He was not using the word to suggest they are bad people who deserve to be mistreated.
But Sanders denounced Vought anyway, saying his statement was Islamophobic and horrible, and that such thinking disqualified Vought from a position with the federal government.
"In my view, the statement made by
In his questioning, Sanders aggressively zeroed in, asking Vought if he was "Islamophobic."
"Absolutely not, Senator," Vought answered. "I'm a
Sanders suggested that Vought was placing Christianity above other religions.
Vought responded: "As a
That wasn't good enough for Sanders, who has since gone on to defend his position by saying incorrectly that Vought considers Islam "a second-class religion."
What was clear from Vought's remarks is that, as a
But that shouldn't be a surprise. People of different faiths often differ. One's religion has nothing to do with government accounting in OMB.
And it is why our founders added a clause to Article VI of the
Many Muslims believe that those who don't embrace the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad are infidels. That alone should not disqualify them from government service.
The basic tenet of Christianity is the belief in
"I would simply say,
Sanders may have believed he was standing up against
But is an expression of
Sanders lecturing a prospective government appointee on theology, and branding a man as hateful for his beliefs demonstrates a stunning misunderstanding of the nature of faith, and of the
And that this view is held by a leader of the Democratic Party represents a threat to Americans of all faiths. Because it can properly be heard as a warning, by a
But I don't think many of us would want to touch this subject at our