True Tolerance is Beyond Bernie Sanders and Today’s Democrats

When you hear the words “tolerance” and “diversity,” what comes to mind? If you’re a casual observer of politics and culture, you react positively and you would likely assign those words to a liberal mindset in general and perhaps to the Democratic Party in particular.

Those of us who have been paying closer attention, however, know the truth. And the truth is that Democrats and liberals do not exhibit anything remotely like the “tolerance” they demand of others and claim to uphold as the cornerstone of civility in America.

Last week, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) received some attention as a result of his questioning of President Trump’s nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, Russell Vought. Sanders, of course, is an independent who identifies as a socialist but, for the sake of argument and given that he ran for and came close to winning the nomination of the Democratic Party for president last year, I’ll allow that he represents the sentiments of most Democrats.  

Sanders’ line of questioning―it was more like an inquisition―focused on something Vought had written in the past from the perspective of his faith and in the context of a presentation for other members of it.

“Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology,” Vought wrote. “They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.”

While out of context, these words may be jarring to hear used in public, the statement is little more than a recitation of basic Christian teaching about redemption. Sanders believes that Vought, because he adheres to a fundamental tenet of Christian orthodoxy, is intolerant and therefore unqualified for government service.

But is that true? And if so, then what of other citizen’s beliefs? To answer that question, all you need do is modify the exchange.

Suppose Vought’s name was Mohammed Vought and he was a faithful Muslim who, sometime in the past he had written that all Christians were condemned because they rejected the Prophet and that their only path to salvation was to turn to Allah and repent.

Let’s look at the theology of both of these statements. If you are a Christian, you [ITAL]do believe that all those who reject Jesus Christ are condemned. It is for that reason and because Christians also believe that all people are created in the image of God, that they further believe they are called to be evangelists. They believe they can help save non-believers and help lead them to a better life here and in eternity through their Christian example and by spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. Faithful Muslims, we are told, have a similar belief about their duty to the Allah and his prophet, Mohammed.

Russell Vought answering questions from Senator Bernie Sanders.

As long as neither Christian nor Muslim partakes in force while working on the propagation of their beliefs and as long as they don’t take it upon themselves to personally deliver non-believers to the judging God, no one should feel threatened by their evangelization―even if it occasionally gives offense or irritates. If the price you must pay for your own religious freedom is that you may sometimes be annoyed, it is a small one. There is more than enough room in our society for these respective calls to evangelization. That is what real tolerance is about.

Many Americans―of all faiths―are uncomfortable with true believers actually giving voice to their beliefs in polite society. This isn’t new and, frankly, it’s not really all that troubling. In a free society, our “comfort” is not the priority; freedom is.

When we were children, of course, our parents warned us not to discuss religion or politics in public. (Would that we were able to stick to that now). The reason for this guidepost was and remains perfectly logical. In America, because of our freedom, we have learned to accept that not everyone believes the same thing, whether it’s which faith he follows or which party they vote will earn his votes. Moreover, the conscience of a man is no one’s business but his own and to harp on what divides us is simply impolite. Or in today’s parlance, intolerant.

This does not mean that people have a right to expect no discomfort as they move about in a free society where opinions differ and faiths can sometimes clash. That would be ridiculous. But in order to get along, we have to learn to emphasize our commonalities and overlook those points of disagreement that do not seem to have a bearing on one’s public life.

This brings me back to Bernie Sanders―who, no doubt, believes that he is the epitome of tolerance. By demanding Vought disown his privately held beliefs or disqualify himself from appointment, Sanders is the one guilty of intolerance as well as of not appreciating our country’s true diversity.

Vought gave an eloquent response: “As a Christian, I believe that all individuals are made in the image of God and are worthy of dignity and respect, regardless of their religious beliefs,” Vought said. “I believe that as a Christian, that’s how I should treat all individuals—”

Sanders wasn’t satisfied, which gave rise to criticism that he was attempting to enforce a religious test on nominees. I don’t find that argument compelling, but I do observe that Sanders has shown us quite clearly how an ever growing element on the Left uses “tolerance” and “diversity” as bludgeons to enforce conformity in its quest for political power and not as ideals toward which we should aspire and hope, thereby, to live in peace and harmony with one another.


About Pamela Shuman Lange

Pamela Shuman Lange hails from Chagrin Falls, Ohio. A graduate of Wilson College, she has worked in development, marketing, and public relations for several liberal arts colleges and for National Review Institute. She is active in local politics and is an amateur FaceBook provocateur.

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14 responses to “True Tolerance is Beyond Bernie Sanders and Today’s Democrats”

  1. I would feel more comfortable with an atheist in government than a christian or a muslim.

    • Why?

      Does a religious/dogmatic belief in No God somehow trump a religious belief in some God?

      Does a morality ungrounded ( in anything??) produce superior moral/ethical decisions & outcomes to one founded in religion? Or would you prefer a morality set not in religious/transcendent truth but rather in, let’s say, Utility?

      If there is no Heaven, no Hell — then does everything become permissible? Or perhaps mere outcomes weighted only by pleasure/pain? How does this make you feel more comfortable?

  2. This is not surprising, of course.

    The Left in general and their Talking Heads in particular are incredibly intolerant of any perspective other than their own. This bias extends to all things. When they say “Diversity” they do not mean True Diversity — not in any real sense of the word — rather they mean, in particular, the right kind of Demographic Diversity, especially Racial & Gender diversity (with an almost exclusive focus on Black & Female). When they say Inclusion, that by no means implies universal inclusion, rather it means inclusion of those Identity Groups so identified as Marginalized (Evangelical Christians are not so identified; neither are Libertarians or Catholics or People from the Midwest).

    This is the New Intolerance, disguised as Tolerance.

    As noted by April Kelly-Woessner in her essay on Marcuse’s ’65 work, “Repressive Tolerance”: “Tolerance is extended to policies, conditions, and modes of behavior which should not be tolerated because they are impeding, if not destroying, the chances of creating an existence without fear and misery. This sort of tolerance strengthens the tyranny of the majority against which authentic liberals protested… LIBERATING TOLERANCE (emphasis added), then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.” And so we arrive at today.

    Harvard’s Sandra Korn, in her 2014 article on Academic Freedom put it this way, “Which research proposals receive funding and what papers are accepted for publication are always contingent on political priorities. … No academic question is ever “free” from political realities. If (we) oppose racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with (anything) that counters our goals simply in the name of “academic freedom”? … When (we) observe (anything) promoting or justifying oppression, (we) should ensure that this…does not continue…. The power to enforce academic justice comes from students, faculty, and workers organizing together to make our universities look as we want them to do.”

    Orwell would agree: ““Orthodoxy means not thinking–not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.” Stalin would echo: “Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.” So no — our New Liberating Tolerance tolerates only Orthodoxy….and thus there is no need to encourage Free Speech, only Right Speech. No need to be open to Wrong Life Philosophies when you can exclusively welcome only Right Life Philosophies (and condemn the rest as bigotry).

    What makes this tragic, of course — those who do this (the Sanders of the world) do not even see it, let alone recognize it. They ask, in David Foster Wallace fashion: What the hell is water, even as they swim within it. Nor is there any real possibility they will change, convinced as they are they move with the arc of history, always on it’s “right side”.

    God save us from those who know what’s best for us — and actively work to make it happen!

  3. One of the first things I think about is the current campaign of political journo-terrorism being employed by the Democrat Party and their hallucinating media.
    They must be reading the Quran and attending prayer sessions at the local mosque, since their actions and motivations are imitating and emulating Islamic extremist terror techniques.
    They clearly have no regard for America, the traditional Rule of Law, or The American People.
    Their dominance of all American values, traditions, and morals, is their ultimate goal.
    This is classic cultish idolization.

    • Did you ever stop to consider there are veterans, soldiers, preachers,
      priests, law enforcement officers and many more patriotic American that
      are Democrats, and may not see you in the best light or with the best ideas. Hail Hair Twitler.

      • I qualify in more ways than one, pal, and I served so your ignorant comments can be published without reprisal.
        There’s plenty of opportunity to grow up; Take full advantage of it.

      • No, I have not considered that there are veterans who adhere to the democrat party intolerance of today. The modern democrat party is the enemy inside the wire, and it appears today that we are reaching Broken Arrow status in the US, courtesy of the democrat party and its propaganda arm, the MSM.

  4. The intolerance of the neoDems is terrifying. Who will be able to tell them “That is not who we (Americans) are” ?
    That is what the neoDems say about POTUS: he does not represent who we are. (when they say that, I usually think when did we become a nation of liars and greedy cheats )

    Now that I live in a southern state where faith is important to so many, probably GOP or independent politically, I find it interesting when they tell me they see Trump bringing religion, and faith, back to America, as really important.

    The neoDems are using Mao’s Little Red Book, trying for re-programming by terror and fear. It has worked in academia, public education, and they sure will not stop until religion is also cleansed.

    • Yes!
      It’s an all out campaign to nurture domestic terrorists and suicide killers.
      They have clearly demonstrated they are at war with America, and anything considered traditional and conservative American.
      It’s patently evident they will stop at nothing.
      They have actively imported thousands of individuals that can be utilized as mercenaries, as well as worked diligently to inflame their most devout constituents.

      • How China re-educated Mao’s Cultural Revolutionaries:

        Not that I have not thought of how Putin re-educated the Chechens :)

        I still hope FLOTUS will at least get fashion back to classic, away from bizarre near nudity on the red carpet.

        And, bring back “Lassie” It went off tv in 1974. Every episode had three lessons for Timmy: 1)always tell the truth, 2) always be helpful, and 3) let Lassie save the _____

        Positive Confidence trumping Negative Fear may not be enough…

  5. Christ does not condemn anyone. If anything, people condemn themselves. Islam is more problematic, because unlike Christianity which has dogmatic centers and hierarchies which we can turn to for understanding (unless one is a fundamentalist protestant), Islam does not. Islam is all over the map, so to speak.

    Need I also remind the author that Senator Sanders spoke at Bob Jones University, ran a campaign generally respectful of dialogue with Christians and likewise was invited to and spoke at the Vatican? He has also voiced support for Pope Francis and called the Pope a hero.

    The Democratic party is indeed in shambles, but Senator Sanders is not so bad.

    If anything, I do agree that this is a case where the Senator went too far insofar as religious tests cannot apply. When citizens engage in theological debate they will of course argue at times that one religion is superior to another. These debates are a healthy part of our culture and cannot, out of context, become litmus tests for public service.

  6. Calling Vought’s statement ‘little more than a recitation of basic Christian teaching about redemption’ is somewhat disingenuous. Vought’s articulation is a *particular interpretation* of Christianity (a variation of the Pauline theology) that, on it’s surface at least not particularly, pro-redemption. It may be ‘orthodox’ in the sense that it is a view promulgated by many who call themselves ‘Christian’, but orthodoxy is not the work of God, but of human beings. The New Testament contains material that runs directly counter to the doctrine articulated by Vought, specifically the Parable of the Samaritan. It is simply not true that ‘If you are a Christian, you *do* believe that all those who reject Jesus Christ are condemned.’ It’s not at all obvious that Jesus would have believed this and many accounts of Jesus’ behavior in the New Testament suggest that he did not. However, there is no religious qualification for service in government and Sanders’ has previously shown little interest in any religious affiliation or articulation of belief by other potential candidates for civil service other than those who present as ‘Christian’. This was, essentially, an encounter between two different, and opposing, forms of militancy.

  7. .You cannot reason with radical liberals. They are mentally and emotionally compromised. In religious terms they are demon possessed. In psychiatric terms they suffer from mental illness. In political terms they are fascists and anarchists. In human terms they are just mean spirited a$$h0les. What we are witnessing is the death of radical liberalism. And like any trapped animal they will fight to the death.

    Yes,let California leave, but they have to take all the liberals, “refugees,” and illegals. However, they can have Hillary as their president if they want!Amazing that the Dem leadership either openly supports these radical/fanatical hate groups or refuses to disavow their actions then bemoans tragic results …AFTER THE FACT!
    This organized hate has become the face of the Democrat Party!