While the U.S. Constitution pretty clearly states that there shall be "no religious test" for president, it's no secret that presidential candidates are subject to all kinds of scrutiny, including about their relationship with God. Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders is no exception. The Vermont senator has said in past interviews that while he's Jewish, he's "not particularly religious" -- a quote Jimmy Kimmel seized on during his appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" Wednesday night.
"You say you're culturally Jewish, but you don't feel religious. Do you believe in God, and do you think that's important to the people of the United States?" Kimmel asked Sanders when he appeared on his show.
Sanders, who would be the first Jewish president if elected, dodged the question about believing in God but turned his response into a summary of the philosophy that drives his run.
"I am who I am, and what I believe in and what my spirituality is about is that we're all in this together. I think it is not a good thing to believe as human beings we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people," said Sanders. "And this is not Judaism. This is what Pope Francis is talking about, that we cannot worship just billionaires and the making of more and more money. Life is more than that."
In invoking Pope Francis, Sanders deftly and subtly made the point that caring for the less fortunate is not a value particular to any one religion.
He added that the United States has seen an explosion of millionaires and billionaires but still lags behind most industrialized countries in addressing childhood poverty, income inequality and services like paid family and medical leave.
"Essentially what I think is, we do best as human beings, we fulfill our lives, when we work together rather than say, 'Hey, I want it all, and I don't care about the hungry kid down the street,'" said Sanders. "I don't think that's what America should be about."