By Matthew A. McIntosh / 03.14.2016
Speaking before Trump’s appearance at a rally Monday in Hickory, North Carolina, Pastor Mark Burns had a few words about Bernie’s religion – or lack thereof.
“Bernie Sanders, who doesn’t believe in God,” Burns said, “How in the world are we going to let Bernie—I mean really? Listen, Bernie gotta get saved, he gotta meet Jesus. I don’t know, he gotta have a coming to Jesus meeting.”
Sanders is Jewish, and as such he does not believe in Jesus as the Messiah. Being ethnically Jewish does not make one a believer in the theology, and we honestly don’t know what his religious beliefs are – nor do they matter.
While our Constitution forbids any religious test as a qualification for Congress or the presidency, people are certainly free to apply their own social test. It has been an unspoken rule for a very long time that if you are not a Christian in this country, then you can in most places forget holding political office.
That is thankfully changing with the Gen-Xers through Millennials, much to the chagrin of many an Evangelical.
It wasn’t so long ago that former candidate and current Trump endorser Ben Carson said a Muslim is not fit for the Oval Office. The problem for them, though not immediate, is that growing numbers of people are beginning to see being Christian makes one equally unfit.
Sanders has handled questions about his religion very well, describing himself as someone who sees us “all in this together” instead and recognizing various belief systems as contributions to the whole.
That is the point – inclusive, not exclusive, rhetoric.