More than 60 Republican lawmakers want Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reaffirm to them that the Justice Department will not administer a religious test for people to work in government.
The letter written to Sessions by 64 Republicans was inspired by questions asked by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to Russell Vought, President Trump's nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, at his confirmation hearing earlier this month.
USA Today first reported the existence of the letter.
"Questions were asked during a recent Senate Budget Committee hearing about an executive branch nominee's adherence to the Christian faith, suggesting that such beliefs disqualified the nominee from service," the lawmakers wrote.
The lawmakers, including Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., asked Sessions to "make clear" that "no religious test will ever be required to serve in the government of the United States."
During the hearing before the Senate Budget Committee, Sanders mentioned a 2016 post Vought wrote for the Resurgent, the conservative blog.
"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," Vought wrote.
Sanders read the post aloud and asked whether Vought believed it was Islamophobic. Vought replied: "Absolutely not, senator. I'm a Christian, and I believe in a Christian set of principles based on my faith."
"This nominee is really not someone who is what this country is supposed to be about," Sanders responded.
Religious liberty advocates criticized Sanders' questioning. Lankford accused Sanders of coming "dangerously close to crossing a clear constitutional line."