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Christians and Muslims – Can a Religious Test for Office be Prohibited?

Truth be known, the major proponent of the prohibition was James Madison, who intended the religious test clause to take Christ off the throne and replace Him with the god of the state.

  • Roger Oliver
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It seems our fearless leaders have such open minds that their brains have fallen out. In confirmation hearings for the position of deputy director of the office of management and budget, Senator Bernie Sanders berated the nominee, Russel Vought, for his Christian faith. 

Sanders threatened to vote against Vought’s confirmation unless he renounced a statement about Muslims in a paper he wrote for his alma mater, Wheaton College. The senator quoted out of context that Vought wrote that Muslims are condemned to hell. Sanders repeatedly pressured, really brow beat, Vought to take it back. It amounted to asking Vought to renounce his faith in order to serve his country.

Vought wouldn’t budge. Atta boy! His answers were reasonable and polite. I watched part of the video. It looked like a dog catcher trying to talk down a rabid canine. I couldn’t stand to watch it all. Not good for my blood pressure.

At the end of the exchange, Sanders said that Vought was not really someone who was what this country is supposed to be about. “I vote no.” What? you ask. Has the man completely lost his mind? Is he unable to express a coherent thought?

The exchange was loaded with irony. Bernie Sanders is a practicing Jew. Enemies in his own party planned to use this against him. A religious test for office is prohibited by the constitution. Moreover, he and his fellow Democratic cohorts repeatedly voted to approve Muslims for high office in the Obama administration. Has he gone completely batty? Is he ignorant of the history of the United States? Has he no idea what Christians and Muslims believe, or of the risk Islam poses to him as a Jew? Maybe, maybe not.

The subtler irony here is that the religious test prohibition in Article VI of the Constitution opened the door for Bernie’s tirade and vote against Christianity. Article VI states:

  • All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation. 
  • This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding. 
  • The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. 

There should have been a requirement in the Constitution for a pledge to govern according to God’s law in submission to Christ the King. It should be part of the oath of office for any magistrate at any level of government in a Christian nation. It would not be a pledge to a denomination or to a national, established church as some mistakenly think, but to Christ the King. 

Truth be known, the major proponent of the prohibition, James Madison,[1] intended the religious test clause to take Christ off the throne and replace Him with the god of the state. Regardless of this provision in the Constitution, for at least half a century after it was signed, the people of the United States expected their rulers to be Christians and to rule like Christians. Not anymore.

Bernie Sanders’ actions are fully consistent with the purpose of the religious test prohibition: Any king but Christ the King. Any law but God’s law. He is absolutely correct that true Christian faith is a threat to, “What the country is supposed to be all about,” at least according to the intent of Article VI, if not the thrust of the entire document.

  • What or who is the ultimate authority in the Constitution? Not God, but, We, the people.
  • How do We the people express our collective will? Through the governing elite who
    we elect to tell us what our will should be.
  • Article VI is called the Supremacy Clause because it makes the US Constitution the supreme law of the land: Not God’s law, the Constitution.
  • The oath of office in the 3rd paragraph binds the magistrate to the Constitution.
  • Notice the context. The religious test clause modifies and clarifies the meaning of the oath: the superior sovereignty of the federal government over the sovereignty of God and His Word.

You see, it is impossible to prohibit a religious test of office. What the senator was demanding was a pledge of loyalty to the god of the state. We have no king but Caesar. No law, but the state’s law. What I, Bernie Sanders, dictates to you, you will do. If the US government does not condemn a person, how dare you or your God contradict us!

Nero was far worse than Bernie Sanders, and we know what happened to him. Herod did not give glory to God and he was eaten by worms and died. The leaders and the nation that put Christ on the cross disappeared in flames in AD 70 and the Roman Empire 300 years later. Hugo Chávez, the former dictator of Venezuela, openly challenged God. He’s dead now, died miserably of cancer. See the pattern?

God will not be mocked; you will reap what you sow. You can take that to the bank, but don’t depend on an original intent interpretation of the US Constitution to save us. Our freedom and good government does not depend our human written documents. It depends on our obedience or disobedience to the First Commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Until the 1840’s the Bible was used in the courts as the guide for justice. In effect, it was the supreme law of the land -- this in spite of the Constitution’s claims otherwise. We don’t need a constitutional convention to reverse the damage. We need to learn and obey God’s law; learn it like our ancestors knew it. God’s law is not the problem; it’s the solution.

Time to repent and cry out to God for mercy.

[1] Gary North, Conspiracy in Philadelphia, Origins of the United States Constitution, Gary North 2013

  • Roger Oliver

Roger Oliver serves as a missionary in Puebla, Mexico. He and his wife, Marcy spend most of their time at the Pierre Viret Learning Center, a Christian academy, preschool through high school. Their local church meets in the Learning Center. They sponsor a web page to promote Christian reconstruction in Latin America. Roger is a partner in a furniture manufacturing company. The business exists to provide employment to the families in the community, to help the community become independent, to generate capital for other family businesses and as a venue for vocational discipleship. He retired from the US Army in 1992. He earned his MBA at Syracuse University for the Army and completed a ThM in Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary.

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