3. He Is a Staunch Advocate for the Separation of Church and State
According to a supporters’ website, Feel the Bern, “Bernie Sanders supports people’s right to freely congregate, practice, and express their faith. To protect both personal religious freedoms and civic equality, Bernie advocates for the separation of church and state, which allows Americans to honor diversity, respect personal autonomy, and voluntarily choose to practice or abstain from religious faith.”
The site said Sanders also believes “public laws ought to be independent of any one particular faith to maximize religious freedoms for all.” But those protections, in his view, end when it comes to perceived discrimination.
“Religious freedom is not a right to discriminate,” according to Feel the Bern.
That philosophy drove Sanders to vote against the 2001 Community Solutions Act, “which allows federal funds to go to religious organizations that proselytize while providing social services and that engage in employment discrimination based on religion.”
He also opposed the 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which ruled business owners cannot be forced to provide contraceptive coverage through the Affordable Care Act if doing so violates their religious beliefs.
“Bosses should not be able to impose their religious beliefs on their employees,” Sanders said in a statement after the ruling.
Two years ago, Sanders grilled Russell Vought, Trump’s nominee for deputy White House budget director, calling him Islamophobic for an article he penned that discussed the central Christian tenet that the only pathway to salvation was through Jesus Christ. In the piece, 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.”
“In my view, the statement made by Mr. Vought is indefensible, it is hateful, it is Islamophobic, and it is an insult to over a billion Muslims throughout the world,” Sanders said at the confirmation hearing.
After hitting Vought several times on issue, Sanders turned his attention to Senate Budget Committee Chair Sen. Mike Enzi.
“I would simply say, Mr. Chairman, that this nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about,” Sanders said.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Ethan Miller/Staff