Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Much Ado About Not Much

He was almost honest.  After Ben Carson on Sunday's Meet The Press stated that he wouldn't want a Muslim as President because the religion is inconsistent with the principles of the US Constitution, the presidential contender appeared on The Sean Hannity Show on Monday and

continued, however, by saying that so long as a Muslim rejected his Islamic faith, he or she would be qualified to run for office. “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,” he said.

Hannity built on that point, asking Carson if all he really meant to say was that so long as Muslims denounce elements of their faith, he could support them. “Of course,” Carson replied.

“Did you really mean to say ‘radical Islamists’?” Hannity asked.

“That was implied in the comment,” Carson said. “I prefaced that by saying I don’t care what faith someone belongs to, if they’re willing to subjugate that to the American way and the Constitution, I have no problem with that.”

If Carson had left it at "If someone has a Muslim background and they're willing to reject those tenets... at least I would then be quite willing to support them." he would be okay, more or less. He would have subtly- but significantly- clarified his statement.  However, he added. "I prefaced that by saying I don't care what faith someone belongs to, if they're willing to subjugate that to the American way and the Constitution."

Uh, no, he didn't, instead stating definitively "I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that." Here is the relevant exchange, which is followed by a question about voting for a Muslim for Congress:


Let me wrap this up by finally dealing with what's been going on, Donald Trump, and a deal with a questioner that claimed that the president was Muslim. Let me ask you the question this way: Should a President's faith matter? Should your faith matter to voters?


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.


So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the constitution?


No, I don't, I do not.


So you--


I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.

As even Ted Cruz acknowledges, Carson's belief runs counter to Article VI of the Constitution, which includes "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."  His assertion to Hannity that "radical Islamists" was "implied in the comment" was a bold-faced lie because it was not implied, as he was well aware. So much, also, for that Ninth Commandment, the one about bearing false witness.

Of course, the argument of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (whose YouTube video of Todd/Carson is above) that "We ask Mr. Ben Carson to withdraw from the presidential race because he is unfit to lead because his views are in contradiction with the U.S. Constitution" is silly. As the ongoing effort of the GOP to prohibit all abortions after twenty weeks (in violation of Roe v. Wade) indicates, the Constitution is relevant to the Republican Party only when convenient.  If candidates for President were limited to individuals devoted to the Constitution, that Party would be hard pressed to field anyone for the office.

Carson's remark was also irrelevant, given that he does not have the authority to "put a Muslim in charge of this nation" nor to put anyone in charge of this nation.   Further, any disingenuousness or dishonesty from Carson on this issue leaves him more honest than Carly Fiorina, to whom he currently is close in national polling.  While Fiorina is a relentless self-promoter, Ben Carson appears to be a humble individual.   And among Republican candidates devoid of virtually anything socially redeeming, that should count for a little.

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