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Ben Carson Addresses Muslim Presidential Possibility

September 23, 2015

During an interview on Sunday, 20 September, Dr. Ben Carson put forth a position regarding the election of a Muslim to the U.S. Presidency.  His comments have upset some Americans to the point that they are calling on him to drop out of the presidential race.  In my estimation, this situation is just another indication that Carson faces four major conditions that are working against him in his campaign efforts.  Those are:

  1. He actually thinks through, applies reason to, the important issues of our time.  Given that thoughtful examination of matters affecting American society is nearly extinct, a person who dares engage in such activity should expect rejection and attack if their resulting positions do not align with the ideas of those who seek to control the thinking of the American people.
  2. Given that he thinks through issues, Carson is unable to explain his conclusions in the time allowed by media types seeking soundbites.  Due to this limiting of time and American citizens being addicted to media soundbites, Carson is deprived of the opportunity to make his full case on any issue.
  3. He does not adhere to the rules of “Political Correctness.”  This is a man who speaks forthrightly in a fashion that runs counter to accepted political behavior.  Carson recognizes what he does and the cost of it.  In talking about this Muslim comment backlash, Newsmax.com reports:

Carson told reporters that he knows he has gotten bad press and comments from his initial comments, made on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program Sunday, but “the only way we fix that is to fix the PC culture in our country [where people] can listen to one narrative and if it doesn’t fit their philosophy, then they have to try to ascribe some motive to make it fit.”

  1. His words and actions show Ben Carson to be a man who takes his Christian faith seriously in a nation that is not only moving toward suppression of the faith but to also totally disregard the powerful role of Christianity in our nation’s history.

Now to examine Dr. Carson’s “No Muslim President” statement and the resulting outrage in some corners.  The Meet the Press interviewer, Chuck Todd, asks Carson, “Do you believe Islam is consistent with the Constitution?”  Dr. Carson responds, “I do not.  I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of the country.  I absolutely would not agree with that.”   These quotes were all I could find after reviewing several print articles.  Even less of these quotes were used in various television news reports.  From YouTube here is what came before Todd’s question regarding the consistency of Islam with the U.S. Constitution:

Todd: Should a president’s faith matter?

Carson: I guess it depends on what that faith is.  If it is inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter.  But if it fits within the realm of America and is consistent with the Constitution…no problem.

Given the exchange between Todd and Carson, this is what I hear when listening and thinking through Carson’s statements:

  1. Carson is speaking for himself and not proposing that there be some legal restriction on a Muslim seeking the presidency.
  2. His response to the theoretical question supposes that the Muslim candidate in question would be committed to the principles of his or her religion.   This is easily concluded from his statement regarding the problem arising when the principles of a person’s faith are inconsistent with the Constitution.  In comments since Sunday, Carson has clarified this point by saying he would find a Muslim presidential candidate acceptable for consideration if that person offered assurance that the Constitution would be upheld even if in conflict with his or her religious principles.
  3. As to inconsistencies between Islam and the Constitution, since Sunday Dr. Carson indicated he was especially thinking of Sharia Laws which are the laws of Islam.   Here are a few of those laws from www.billionbibles.org:
  • Theft is punishable by amputation of the right hand.
    •  Criticizing or denying any part of the Quran is punishable by death.
    •  Criticizing or denying Muhammad is a prophet is punishable by death.
    •  A Muslim who becomes a non-Muslim is punishable by death.
    •  A man can marry an infant girl and consummate the marriage when she is 9 years old.
    •  A woman can have 1 husband, but a man can have up to 4 wives; Muhammad can have more.
    •  A man can unilaterally divorce his wife but a woman needs her husband’s consent to divorce.
    •  A man can beat his wife for insubordination.
  1. So, in answering the questionserious about his or her faith and would, therefore, act on the principles of Islam (especially Sharia Law) even when they conflict with the Constitution.  He speaks forthrightly in saying this would be unacceptable and he would not advocate for such a candidacy.   This reasoning makes sense to me.

Finally, there have been claims that the statements by Ben Carson discussed here show that he does not understand the Constitution.  An article by Napp Nazworth titled “Ben Carson Doesn’t Misunderstand the Constitution, He Misunderstands Muslims” rebuts those claims.  Nazworth writes:

The part of the Constitution Cruz and other critics are referring to is found in Article 6: “… no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”  The requirement has to do with what can’t be required by law, not any restrictions individual voters may decide upon when casting their ballots, which is what Carson was saying. Congress can’t require presidents to be Christian, for instance, but if voters want to only vote for Christians, they are free to do so.

Using a thoughtful approach to arrive at an answer that cannot be explained in a couple of soundbites, Dr. Ben Carson speaks forthrightly while defying the rules of political correctness and standing firm as is possible for a person of faith in God.  Consequently, although not surprised, I find the negative responses to Dr. Carson’s comments extremely troubling and indicative of the tremendous decline of reason and of free speech in America.

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