Dr. Ben Carson has come under a lot of fire for his comments about Muslims on Sunday. In recent days, the Republican Party has been forced to address the rampant Islamophobia in their base which bubbled up during a town hall Donald Trump held in New Hampshire last week. During this town hall, two people in attendance declared that President Obama was a Muslim and that Muslims were a threat to this country.
Donald Trump did not dispute either of their statements and moved on to take other questions. Since then, the topic of whether religious beliefs should or should not disqualify someone from holding public office has been reignited, and Dr. Ben Carson has created a lot of controversy with his statement that Muslims should not run for president because their faith is in conflict with the Constitution.
Via The Hill:
“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” Carson said in an interview televised on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “I absolutely would not agree with that.”
Carson was asked about a Trump supporter who claimed President Obama is a Muslim at a town hall last week, and whether a president’s faith should matter.
“If it’s inconsistent with the values of America, then of course it should matter,” he said. “But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the Constitution, no problem.”
Carson, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, said he does not believe the Muslim faith is compatible with the U.S. Constitution. (Source)
Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has criticized Ben Carson’s remarks and called them “wrong” – as have many other people, including Hillary Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin. Donald Trump has made statements defending his response to the town hall fiasco, but the fact remains that the GOP is incredibly hypocritical when it comes to criticizing Islam while actively promoting religious extremism in American politics.
While 91% of Americans say they would vote for a Jewish presidential candidate, only 60% say that they would vote for a Muslim. This is understandable considering the amount of fear mongering the right-wing media and political figures have engaged in, along with our decades-old conflict with various terrorist groups which have used the Muslim religion to justify their actions.
Now Carson has tried to walk back his comments saying that he would only oppose a Muslim candidate who embraced a radical version of the religion. Bear in mind that this is the same person who had his speaking invitation at a Southern Baptist conference revoked because his Seventh Day Adventist religion is considered too extreme for them.
Carson added during an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity that any president must place the Constitution above their own personal faith.
“You know, what we have to do is, we have to recognize that this is America, and we have a Constitution,” Carson said on “Hannity.”
“We do not put people at the leadership of our country whose faith might interfere with carrying out the duties of the Constitution,” he said.
“Now, if someone has a Muslim background and they’re willing to reject those tenets and to accept the way of life that we have and clearly will swear to place our Constitution above their religion, then, of course, they will be considered infidels and heretics, but at least I would then be quite willing to support them,” the retired neurosurgeon added. (Source)
The interesting thing here is that throughout this whole series of remarks by Ben Carson and other Republican candidates on Islam, not once have they recognized that the party has some pretty radical and fundamentalist members who just happen to call themselves Christians. This is a political party which puts their radical Christian ideology over the Constitution on a regular basis, and has even gone so far as to attack Pope Francis for being too liberal, despite his very conservative views on reproductive rights and gay marriage. Presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee have rallied support for Kim Davis, a county clerk who is continuing to defy both the judicial system and the 14th Amendment based on her twisted interpretation of Christianity. By Ben Carson’s own words, these are people who should not be able to lead the United States.
Article VI of the United States Constitution states “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” However, if radical religious beliefs were to bar people from seeking office, Ben Carson and many other Republican politicians would be the first to be disqualified.
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