I Agree with Senator Van Hollen

I’ve been sitting here with a blank space staring back at me for far too long. About a thousand thoughts go through my head and slightly fewer open tabs span across the top of my internet browser.

It began with a simple click, returning to the issue of Bernie Sander’s interaction with Russell Vought, President Trump’s nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (Check out The Atlantic’s treatment of the interaction and/or TGC’s Justin Taylor or Joe Carter to get an idea of what’s been going on). Too many clicks and thoughts later and the writing space in front of me was still blank while my mind continued to churn.

Truth be told, my mind is still churning with the different dynamics involved in this interaction. But here are a few of my thoughts:

Believing Jesus is the way of salvation does not equal being hateful.

It is, in fact, quite the opposite in true, historic Christianity. Those who trust Christ are being transformed into more loving, compassionate people.

Historic Christianity is believing Jesus is the way of salvation.

Apparently, we now have to be careful to modify the term “Christian.” When we’re speaking of Christianity are we speaking of liberal Christianity, cultural Christianity, mainline, protestant Christianity…? Yet Christianity is distinctively Christ-centered, based upon truth claims that are exclusive (Acts 4:12 for example).

All value systems discriminate.

In attempting to be open and non-discriminatory, Bernie Sanders is clearly discriminating against those who hold the traditional Christian viewpoint. Now perhaps, that doesn’t disturb you, but let’s not pretend that Sanders perspective is the tolerant, enlightened, nondiscriminatory one because he used the word “Islamophobic.”

There are lots of ways a person can pursue his or her god.

Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said this and I actually agree.

“I’m a Christian, but part of being a Christian, in my view, is recognizing that there are lots of ways that people can pursue their God.”

I recognize the same thing. I also recognize that there are lots of ways people can be wrong. This doesn’t make them less valuable as people. An atheist and a Christian cannot both be right in their view of God (their views contradict) nor can a Christian and a Muslim both be correct about God (their views of God are different). This doesn’t make any of these people less valuable. It just means somebody is wrong. Oh, and I think what Senator Van Hollen means by this statement is wrong too.

Sanders’ thinking is misguided.

I was going to say misguided and dangerous. But then I thought, “Dangerous for whom?” Certainly, this direction of thought is potentially dangerous for Christians. But I think that it’s also dangerous for society. Because truth is important and when we begin to deny truth claims simply because they claim others are wrong, we have no firm foundation for morals.

This is an important issue to consider thoughtfully.

As I’ve chased different dynamics of this interaction and what it means, I suppose this is the overarching thought. This interaction and the issues it raises are not simply a blip on the radar. They’re not something done in a corner with no impact. They are important issues to think through, especially for Christians. So that’s what I’ve been thinking about, maybe you should consider it too.


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