Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Electing Ben Carson President Would Not Be Consistent With The Constitution Of This Country


"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."
-- the Constitution, Article VI (paragraph 3)

The Founding Fathers wanted to keep the Constitution flexible. They rarely used the word "ever" or "never." They must have thought this section was pretty important to the essence of what they were trying to accomplish. I get the idea that not many Republican politicians grasp that, certainly not Ben Carson.

Sunday on Meet the Press Carson stumbled into a political hornets' nest, likely without having thought through the implications of his remarks that American Muslims-- around 1% of the U.S. population, most of whom are native-born African-Americans-- should not ever lead the country. But he couldn't back down, not in the midst of a Republican primary that will be determined by racists, bigots, teabaggers and lo-info voters who are brainwashed by Hate Talk Radio and Fox, and he reiterated his stupidity to Jonathan Easley in an interview at The Hill later in the day.
"I do not believe Sharia is consistent with the Constitution of this country," Carson said. "Muslims feel that their religion is very much a part of your public life and what you do as a public official, and that’s inconsistent with our principles and our Constitution."

Carson said that the only exception he’d make would be if the Muslim running for office "publicly rejected all the tenants of Sharia and lived a life consistent with that."

"Then I wouldn’t have any problem," he said.

However, on several occasions Carson mentioned "Taqiya," a practice in Shia Islam in which a Muslim can mislead nonbelievers about the nature of their faith to avoid persecution.

"Taqiya is a component of Shia that allows, and even encourages you to lie to achieve your goals," Carson said.

Pushing back at the media firestorm over his remarks, Carson sought to frame himself as one of the few candidates running for president willing to tell hard truths.

"We are a different kind of nation," Carson said. "Part of why we rose so quickly is because we wouldn’t allow our values or principles to be supplanted because we were going to be politically correct… part of the problem today is that we’re so busy trying to be politically correct, that we lose all perspective."

Carson told The Hill that the question of a Muslim president is largely "irrelevant" because no Muslims are running in 2016. He said the question, which Todd is posing to all of the Republican presidential hopefuls who go on his show, "may well have been" gotcha journalism meant to trip the candidates up.

However, he acknowledged the question "served a useful purpose by providing the opportunity to talk about what Sharia is and what their goals are."

"So often we get into these irrelevant things, because obviously if a Muslim was running for president, there would be a lot more education about Sharia, about Taqiya," Carson said.
Keep in mind that Carson has bragged that his tax plan is literally based on the Bible while whining that "Muslims feel that their religion is very much a part of your public life and what you do as a public official, and that's not consistent with our principles and our Constitution." In short, Carson is a deranged crackpot, no better than bottom-of-the-barrel bigots and hate-mongers like Huckabee and Santorum.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, in The Atlantic, responded in a way that most normal Americans could probably relate to:
Ben Carson is a Christian-- a fact he shares in common with all our greatest domestic terrorists and self-styled Indian-killers. From slave-holding to ethnic cleansing, Christianity has repeatedly been employed to sanctify our most shameful acts. One might counter that Christianity has also been employed to inspire our most honorable acts. But this is a level of complexity that Carson’s ilk do not grant to Islam. To Carson, Islam is terror and nothing else.

Christians, fully conscious of their own pedigree, need not completely renounce their faith, nor repudiate their scripture. (If a man seeks to plunder you, Dr. Seuss will suffice.) But you would think a wise Christian would be more prudent. But Carson is neither prudent nor wise. Carson is a bigot playing to a base that considers bigotry to be a feature, not a bug.
Reactions from politicians to what Carson had to say have been varied. But even a crackpot bigot like Ted Cruz reminded Carson that "the Constitution specifies there shall be no religious test for public office." And no less of a pathetic also-ran than Bobby Jindal left open the possibility that he might vote for a theoretical Muslim:
If you can find me a Muslim candidate who is a Republican, who will fight hard to protect religious liberty, who will respect the Judeo-Christian heritage of America, who will be committed to destroying ISIS and radical Islam, who will condemn cultures that treat women as second-class citizens and who will place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution, then yes, I will be happy to consider voting for him or her." He added another criteria-- he or she must "respect the Judeo-Christian heritage of America.
Another Republican widely considered a crazed Islamaphobe and bigoted imbecile, Rep. Peter King of Long Island, was on Fox News criticizing Carson-- instead of his usual targets, Muslims. "A Muslim has every right to run for President and be President," he said."It’s wrong to paint this broad brush. We’re isolating the Muslim community when we should be trying to find those elements in the community that want to work with us."

Perhaps King could start by working with Keith Ellison, a Muslim-American congressman from Minneapolis, who issued a statement after Carson's appearance on Meet the Press:

Bernie Sanders, a Jewish-American, led the way among the presidential contenders:

You know, this is the year 2015. You judge candidates for president not on their religion, not on the color of their skin, but on their ideas on what they stand for. … I was very disappointed in Dr. Carson’s statement... For a long, long time in the history of America, there were people saying, 'Oh, we don’t want a Catholic to be president of the United States.' Then John F. Kennedy became president in 1960. And then people said, 'Oh, we don’t want a black guy, an African American, to be president of the United States.' Then finally Barack Obama became president of the United States.
For Republicans disturbed by a campaign thus far dominated by the hysteria and lies of Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, there was some hope that Carson's soft-spoken and superficially respectful demeanor might offer a reasonable alternative. But they didn't know Ben Carson. Lawrence Goldstone sought to correct that in The New Republic over the weekend.

"Dr. Ben Carson excels," he wrote, "in addled interpretations of America’s founding principles. In May, the Republican presidential candidate claimed that the president has the power to ignore the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling. And last month, when asked by Meet the Press’ Chuck Todd whether the Bible has 'authority' over the Constitution, said, 'That is not a simple question.' He extended this streak of misinterpretation on Sunday."
In the end, the argument is about whether the United States is everyone’s country or just certain people’s country. Dr. Carson once again raises the specter that, despite all evidence and jurisprudence to the contrary, America is a “Christian nation.” Those who take this stance seem to do so only on the basis that most, if not all, of the Founders were Christian, somewhat ironic because overwhelmingly they were, at best, lax in their beliefs. And it is no more accurate to say America is “Christian” because it happens to have a Christian majority than it is to say that America is “white” for the same reason.

“[I]n the view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens,” Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote in his stinging dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). “There is no caste here. Our Constitution is color-blind and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law.” This is also true of religion, as everyone in America-- and especially its political leaders-- should understand by now. If candidates like Carson can’t be bothered to read and understand the 4,500 words that comprise our founding document, they should not be considered fit for the job that requires they defend it.
A week before Carson's latest foray into a netherworld of far right extremism he's all too familiar with, PFAW's Right Wing Watch was warning that "Carson is getting a pass because he doesn’t share Trump’s bombastic tone. While Carson may not use Trumpian rhetoric, that doesn’t make what he says any less absurd. For starters, Carson had told enthusiastic audiences that Obamacare is worse than slavery (and is 'slavery, in a way') and the September 11, 2001 attacks." He's been scaring already paranoid and dumbed-down Fox viewers that Obama might cancel the 2016 election so he could have a third term and that in any case "Obama is driven by Mein Kampf and has ushered in 'a Gestapo age'... So egregious is Obama’s presidency in Carson’s eyes that he has accused the president of committing treason and opening up the country to terrorist infiltration and the dangers of Ebola-tainted urine... And remember, this is the only candidate who has stayed competitive with Trump." Electing Bernie Sanders seems more crucial every day. You can do your part here.

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At 8:46 PM, Blogger Mike said...

"Muslims feel that their religion is very much a part of your public life and what you do as a public official, and that’s inconsistent with our principles and our Constitution."

Unlike, say, Kim Davis? Oh, right. That's not "their" religion, that's "our" religion.

At 1:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now don't pick on bumbling Ben, electing president any one of the passengers of the KKKlown KKKar "Would Not Be Consistent With The Constitution Of This Country."

John Puma


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