Ben Carson: constitutional surgeon

This is what a clausectomy looks like

Ben Carson, perhaps the smartest of the GOP pack running for the nomination, and who has a book on the Constitution coming out a) doesn’t believe a Muslim should be president, and b) doesn’t appear to understand the Constitution.

Why is that?

Article VI, paragraph 3 of the Constitution states: “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States [emphasis added].”

I’m not sure which is worse, a Constitutional scholar like Obama who appears to do end runs around it like a football player runs laps, or someone like Carson who thinks he knows the Constitution but isn’t willing to apply its principles in practice.

3 replies »

  1. An interviewer asked Ben Carson if he would vote for a Muslim president, and Ben said he would not unless they repudiated Sharia law. Saying “No, I would not vote for a person whose values completely contradict my own” is not the same as saying a Muslim should not be allowed to be president if enough other American citizens vote for them.

    Disappointed to see you jumping on a broken bandwagon… 😦

  2. “…who thinks he knows the Constitution but isn’t willing to apply its principles in practice.”

    In other words, he would let his own personal prejudices count as his own personal litmus test. My apologies if I stated that in such a way that you could misinterpret what I said.

    More to the point, however, his comment needs to be taken in the broader context of the kind of Islamophobia that has been trumpeted and echoed constantly over these last eight years, especially of the “Obama is a secret Muslim born in Kenya” variety. So not only do we have a candidate that openly expresses that he would personally discriminate at the polls on the merits of religion, he does so in a context and manner that keeps fanning the flames of religious bigotry, especially hot on the heels of Trump weaseling around disingenously with his “look into it” approach to the suggested mass deportation of Muslims on the part of one of his more rabid and outspoken supporters.

    As to your own paraphrase, “whose values completely contradict my own,” if accurate, that’s a fairly sound admission on your own part that he broadbrushes the entirety of Islam as though it were utterly impossible for a Muslim to share his values, unless by values one means a system of values that utterly excludes anything than one’s own narrow understanding of faith.

    Carson didn’t need to express a desire for government to suddenly administer any kind of religious test. The personal prejudices he wears on his sleeve and that he panders to are entirely sufficient.

  3. I should thank you, by the way, for giving me pause for thought. It occurs to me to frame this in a hypothetical situation.

    Let’s just suppose that Carson were asked a question like this:

    “Mr. Carson, by your recent comments, do you mean that, had an American soldier, proudly wearing an American uniform, fighting side by side with other good American soldiers, one who proudly pledges to the flag, “under God,” not died in service of his country but instead were to run for president, you would feel him to be unqualified for the office, you would not support that candidate? What if that candidate were also Republican and conservative, and opposed gay marriage, abortion, reproductive rights, and an Equal Rights Amendment for women? What if that candidate also agreed with you entirely on matters of fiscal, domestic, and foreign policy? Would you then only oppose that candidate based solely on his faith? If so, and given that Muslims worship the same god, just different, to wit, not observing the role of Jesus the way Christians do, would you say the same about a Jewish conservative running for the presidency?”

    How do you think he would answer? Would he decry the possibility of a Jewish president? What kind, because suddenly distinctions of kind and values would matter? How do you think he would placate AIPAC in that case were it a blanket “no?” Would he put a personal litmus test on the Jewish candidate such that he would only support one that repudiated all but the cherry-picked Christian Old Testament commandments, leaving the majority of the 613 commandments observed by Orthodox Judaism by the wayside? Or would he support a Jewish president that shares his values, but not a Muslim one?

    In that case, what is that other than rank religious bigotry and a stunning repudiation of the significance of that clause in our Constitution?