Yesterday, during an interview with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, Republican Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson argued that Muslims should not be allowed to hold the highest office in the land because their beliefs are somehow inconsistent with American values:
Chuck Todd: … Should a President’s faith matter? Should your faith matter to voters?
Dr. Ben Carson: Well, I guess it depends on what that faith is. If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter. But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the constitution, no problem.
Todd: So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the constitution?
Carson: No, I don’t, I do not.
Todd: So you–
Carson: I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.
Carson didn’t elaborate on what Muslim beliefs conflicted with American values. The label alone is enough for him. (I wish Todd would have asked the same question about atheists if only to get Carson on the record that he opposes us in the White House as well.)
It’s just the latest example in a long line of GOP politicians denouncing Muslims as if they’re all out to destroy America and implement Sharia Law. (You thought Donald Trump was an anomaly in that regard? Not a chance.)
Ironically, Carson’s belief that Muslims should be excluded from the Presidency because of their un-American-ness is in direct conflict with the U.S. Constitution. Article VI says very explicitly that “… no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
So who exactly is violating American principles?
To be sure, I know plenty of people who oppose certain Christians from holding high office, but it’s not because of their religious label.
I was proud to vote for President Obama (twice), even though I was well aware of his Christian faith. It didn’t matter because I never worried that he was going to try to become America’s Pastor.
But Christians like Mike Huckabee or Ted Cruz? No thank you. My problem isn’t their faith, though. It’s the way they want to impose that faith on the rest of us through public policy. I don’t want Creationists in office when we need leaders who understand and respect science. I don’t want anti-gay bigots in power when we need leaders who will fight for the civil rights of all citizens.
A religious label by itself is never a good reason to dismiss a candidate. It wasn’t okay with John F. Kennedy. It’s not okay now.
Carson doesn’t understand that nuance. All non-Christians are just evil in his eyes. He doesn’t trust them.
There are currently two Muslims in Congress. Neither one has tried to impose his faith on the country. They respect the separation of church and state. But Carson, who wants to ignore the Constitution when he doesn’t like what it says, thinks they’re the unpatriotic ones who shouldn’t be allowed to become President.
It’s amazing to me that someone who has dealt with racism throughout his life is so quick to dismiss others based on their label rather than looking at the content of their character.
Early this morning, Carson’s campaign officials tried to mitigate the damage by saying he didn’t mean what he said… even though he totally does.
“He did not say that a Muslim should be prevented from running, or barred from running in any way,” Carson campaign spokesman Doug Watts said.
Watts said the people would ultimately decide. “He [Carson] just doesn’t believe the American people are ready for that,” Watts said.
Wow. Thanks for throwing Muslims a bone. He’s not legally barring Muslims from the Presidency; he just doesn’t think any of them will ever be qualified for the office because they hate America.
And no shit the American people aren’t ready for a Muslim President. But that’s only because too many Americans are as prejudiced and bigoted as Ben Carson.
It shouldn’t matter if someone’s a Muslim or not. What ought to matter are their policy ideas and vision for the country.
The neurosurgeon could use some rewiring in his own brain.