During a late July confirmation hearing, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) demanded to know whether a nominee of President Joe Biden believed in God.

Hampton Dellinger, Biden’s nominee to assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, was being questioned by Kennedy about a tweet Dellinger issued years ago in which he observed that most attempts to ban legal abortion come from Republican men.

After lecturing Dellinger about abortion, Kennedy demanded to know, “Do you believe in God?”

Dellinger attempted to reply that he is a man of faith, but Kennedy continued to talk over him.

Americans United President and CEO Rachel Laser criticized Kennedy.

“In a democracy that values the fundamental American principle of church-state separation, U.S. senators don’t get to ask a nominee for public office during a Senate hearing whether they believe in God,” Laser said in a statement. “That’s a flat-out violation of our Constitution’s promise that there is no religious test for public office. It’s also grossly hypocritical to witness Sen. Kennedy, who claims to be a champion of religious freedom, so blatantly deny that freedom to others.”

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