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During a marathon seven-hour public hearing on Tuesday in Concord, Andru Volinsky, a Democrat, grilled Edelblut about his Christian faith. Volinsky is a freshman member of New Hampshire’s Executive Council, a five-member body that shares some power with the governor and which confirms the governor’s nominees.
The hearing was described as an “inquisition” by Anne Marie Banfield, an education liaison with Cornerstone Action, a New Hampshire think tank.
During the public hearing, Volinsky focused on Edelblut’s time on the board of Patrick Henry College, a Christian school. The video, provided to Breitbart News by Banfield, shows Volinsky saying, “Patrick Henry College has a required oath of faith for its agents, and I assume, as either a board member or curriculum developer, you had to sign on to that oath of faith —”
Edelblut interjected, “Well, I don’t know that I did.”
“Well, I’ll show you the website that says all of its agents have to subscribe to the oath of faith,” Volinsky responded. “And the oath of faith is tied to a biblical worldview that also requires its agents to subscribe to — and, again, I wouldn’t even begin to ask you about this if it wasn’t relevant to what we’re doing here. …The oath of faith requires you as an agent to believe in the complete entirety of the 66 books of the Old and New Testament as ‘inerrant, original autographs, and infallible.’”
New Hampshire blogger Kimberly Morin blasted Volinsky’s “bigotry” in a blog post at nhpoliticalbuzz.org, writing:
Apparently Volinsky assumed that Edelblut would somehow infuse his religious beliefs into his position as commissioner despite facts to the contrary. Volinsky was actually interrupted by the council to end his “grandstanding” and actually get to his questions. The man seemed like an angry prosecutor cross-examining an innocent man, accusing him of crimes he didn’t commit. It was truly a low moment for the Executive Council.
Late in the proceeding — after a motion to confirm Edelblut had been made and seconded — Volinsky asked whether Sununu had consulted with the state Board of Education prior to the nomination, as required by statute. The hearing was adjourned after Sununu consulted with Attorney General Joseph Foster (a Democrat appointed to a four-year term by Sununu’s predecessor, Maggie Hassan, who is now a New Hampshire senator).
State Representative Glenn Cordelli (R., Tuftonboro), who sits on the House Education Committee, said: “It was a shameful treatment of the governor’s nominee for Commissioner of Education. To grill him like a court-room defendant and question his faith was beyond the bounds of decency, and he deserves an apology.”
Republicans hold a majority on the council, so Edelblut is expected to be confirmed when the hearing is reconvened on February 15.