CNN Host Drops U.S. Constitution Truthbomb on Ben Carson Supporter

armstrong-williams
If you wait long enough, you will see somebody in the mainstream media point to a glaring fact in response to extremist Republican claims. This is what happened with Dr. Ben Carson’s claim that Muslims should not be able to be presidents. What is funny about all this is that Carson says Muslims beliefs are incompatible with the United States Constitution even while demonstrating that his own beliefs are incompatible with the Constitution.

While Fox & Friends’ Elisabeth Hasselbeck was claiming his objection to Muslim presidents made Carson “a real person,” this fact – and the relevant portion of that Constitution – were pointed out to Carson’s business manager and confidant Armstrong Williams by CNN’s Alisyn Camerota.

Watch courtesy of Media Matters for America:

ALISYN CAMEROTA: What was Dr. Carson thinking when he was saying that a Muslim cannot be president of the U.S.?

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: He’s thinking like someone who loves America first, who wants to protect America. He understands that there are tenets of Islam that hates Jews, will kill homosexuals, will kill Muslims, do not advocate the belief and value systems that made America into the country that it is in today. It may have been an unconvenient [sic] truth but it is the truth.

CAMEROTA: Armstrong, you’re talking about an extremist radical strain, not the strain that millions of American Muslims practice here in this country. You know there are more American-Muslims than there are Episcopalians. You’re talking about a radical strain.

WILLIAMS: Dr. Carson was asked his opinion. His opinion was, the timing, at this point he would not vote for a Muslim in the White House. This is why he’s not a politician. This is why he’s not trying to be politically correct. This is America. It’s a place of freedom of speech.

CAMEROTA: And freedom of religion.

WILLIAMS: You express what you believe and how you feel.

CAMEROTA: And freedom of religion.

WILLIAMS: This is not an issue — it is not an issue of religion to Dr. Carson. This is an issue of one’s belief system, on how they will govern. Your beliefs, what you believe in, how you look upon people, how you value people is dictated by what you believe.

CAMEROTA: Armstrong, let me read to you Article VI of the Constitution, which says that anyone of any religion can serve in public office. Here it is, “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Dr. Carson’s belief system violates that part of the Constitution.

WILLIAMS: Dr. Carson, Alisyn, as you’re alluding to, was not speaking about religion — not at all. His, like most Americans, in their hearts, if they search themselves and they ask questions, if you see what’s going on in the world today and what we’re becoming as a nation, if you search yourself deeply and ask yourself, at this time in the history of our country, in the question that was posed to him, which he asked and answered truthfully, is that he would not be comfortable with someone who shares the Islamic Muslim faith in the White House.

CAMEROTA: Is Dr. Carson only —

WILLIAMS: And if Dr. Carson, because — let me finish, let me finish. And if Dr. Carson, because of his love for America, he is willing — everything is not about winning the White House for him. It’s about standing up for what he believes in, telling the truth. Even if it makes CNN and others uncomfortable, it is what he believes.

Now granted, Armstrong Williams told us this summer that Carson “doesn’t get involved in the minutia” – but he ought to: in this case, the minutia of the United States Constitution.

As excuses go, Williams’ is lame as they come. Carson was not only not “politically correct,” he was not factually correct. And the details matter. Saying it’s just an “opinion” doesn’t excuse it because there is no such thing as “just an opinion.” Opinions inform our decisions. For Republicans, where facts seem always absent, they are indistinguishable from decisions.

In truth, for the non-religious, or for people of minority religions like myself, there is no real difference between Sharia Law and the Law of Moses. They are pretty much the same. It’s just a different God, or the same God with a different name. Both are incompatible with the Constitution because both reject the diverse, pluralistic nature of the modern liberal democracy that is the United States.

Egyptologist Jan Assmann has pointed to the origins of monotheistic intolerance in the Old Testament, calling it the “Mosaic distinction,” the application of true vs. false in religion, whereas its predecessor, polytheism, because by definition all gods exist, had served as a means of translation between cultures.

Those who created Christianity when Jesus’ generation had passed away, were guided by the First Commandment, and as New Testament scholar Gerd Lüdemann writes, “Accordingly, they were unwilling or unable to accept the inherent right others to accept, promote, and live by other religious systems.” As we can see from Republican discourse, nothing has changed in nearly twenty centuries.

These Church fathers “demonized members of their own communities” (Santorum’s attacks on mainline Protestants, liberal Catholics and liberal Jews are examples), “forbade dialogue with ‘apostates,'” (seen just this year with California Pastor Jack Hibbs’ rejection of religious dialog) “falsified writings in the name of what they mistakenly took for a higher purpose” (hello David Barton), “and built walls against the rational search for enlightenment” (denialism of Global Warming as just one continuing example).

Lüdemann points out that the author of the New Testament’s pastorals equated “‘correct’ belief with obedience…and created a culture of suppression” (the Republican War on Women, the poor, and gays are examples of this). Paul of Tarsus is often seen as the “founder” of Christianity and Lüdemann reminds us of Paul’s authoritarian tone: “he was accustomed to carry out his own will and force it upon others” (hello Kim Davis).

Is it any surprise today that conservative Christians like Carson act with the same callous disregard toward members of other belief systems?

These Republicans – and consequently the rest of us – are fighting against centuries of indoctrination in intolerance. These Republicans did not invent the idea that they are being persecuted because the rest of us won’t listen to them. Some early Christians felt persecuted for having to live among Pagans, and this attitude, too, has carried forward into modern times.

My point here is that if anyone does NOT have a right to say somebody’s beliefs are incompatible with the Constitution, it is people like Ben Carson, whose own beliefs are so incompatible with the attitudes of the men who crafted our Founding Document, men who, like Thomas Jefferson, included among his fellow Americans “the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination.”

What Carson and others put against the Constitution’s message of tolerance is the cry of Shenoute the monk, who, in the fifth century having ransacked a Pagan’s property, claimed, in his own defense, “there is no crime for those who have Christ.”

What the Constitution gives us, with Article VI’s “no religious test clause” and through the First Amendment, is a complete rejection of Shenoute, while Ben Carson and the Religious Right reject Article VI and the First Amendment.

The choice should be pretty clear to voters, if for no other reason that, for once, it was clear even to the mainstream media.

Sources:

Gerd Lüdemann. Intolerance and the Gospel: Selected Texts from the New Testament. Prometheus Books, 2007.

Jan Assmann. Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism. Harvard University Press, 1997.

Michael Gaddis. There is No Crime for Those Who Have Christ: Religious Violence in the Christian Roman Empire. University of California Press, 2005.

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19 Replies to “CNN Host Drops U.S. Constitution Truthbomb on Ben Carson Supporter”

  1. Carson is not going anywhere, he will soon be a dropout I feel sure.
    Anyone else see the odious Cruz on Colbert
    last night, he sucks.

  2. Dr. Carson should find someone to speak more eloquently on his behalf. Mr. Armstong contradicted himself and Dr. Carson’s statements so many times that he simply looked and sound like a moron!

  3. …I dunno about the technical stuff they stated; however; all the Teahadists share one glaring characteristic: They have no humanity.

  4. Carson has single-handedly eroded the respect he once enjoyed as a world renowned neurosurgeon. His entry into the political realm has exposed everything that is unappealing and downright reactionary about him. He’s a cynical panderer,hypocritical, an intolerant religious zealot, and a revisionist of history among other things. Considering that logic and consistency are foreign to the GOP, it’s not surprising that they tout the actual lack of political experience in Carson when they erroneously claimed President Obama lacked it and condemned him. Carson is only one of a number of embarrassing spectacles of ignorance and intolerance running for the GOP nomination.

  5. I believe that ANYONE regardless of race or religion who does NOT know or support the US Constitution is UNQUALIFIED to become our next President that includes Trump AND Carson!

  6. Elizabeth, Dr. Carson, etc. Have you heard the expression, “Better to be silent and thought the fool then to speak and remove all doubt”?

  7. America went through something just like this back when JFK was running for president. It was worried that he’d take his directions from the Pope, not the Constitution. Substitute the Qu’ran and Sharia law for the Pope, and you have the same situation. The difference is that back then, fanatic Catholics weren’t beheading people in the Middle East (though they were doing terrible things in Ireland.) The GOP, and ignorant Americans, are extrapolating from the actions of the few to assume the beliefs of the majority. Only about 10% of the world’s Muslims live in the Middle East. 30% of them live in Indonesia and surrounding areas; add to that India and China. Muslims aren’t trying to impose Sharia law in any of those countries.

    We survived JFK’s presidency pretty well – I think we’d do just fine with a Muslim one.

  8. Token, Token, Token. This beady-eyed history denier. Does he have an iota of an idea where his ancestors were on the fight & struggle for the position he’s taking advantage of went thru, just to get him a platform to speak publicly? Token is willingly ignorant of the facts bigtime. Unless he’s got the same attitude as Clarence Thomas (I got mine, damn you getting yours)? This is not only un-American, he’s mentally deranged & color struck. Not to mention denial ridden like the rest of the Republicans. No, can’t see him as Prez Of this country, he denies where he came from and has way too much contempt for his own people, just like Clarence. I don’t even see him on the ballot. “Your deafness” doesn’t have a clue, he’s on the wrong side of the tracks. Go to hell Token, we don’t care for your contempt of the black community at all, & your disdain for Muslims either.

  9. The thing is that they see only themselves as human. The rest of us are not only “other,” we are “less than.” God told them so.

    Sadly there are a lot of people out there who’ve been indoctrinated/ brainwashed/ programmed to believe that. Including women, descendants of enslaved Africans, and generations of the poor and poorly educated.

  10. Dr. Carson, like all Republicans pick and choose the parts of the Bible and the US Constitution that fit their agenda and ignore the rest.

  11. …Harry S Truman said o’ JFK “It’s not the Pope I’m worried about, it’s the Pop.”

    When people talked about Kennedy and his possible links to Rome and the pope, Truman reportedly said: “It’s not the pope I’m worried about, it’s the pop.”

  12. I so agree with you. This is a false narrative that has no place in our national discourse.

    I liken it to JFK having to defend himself for being a Catholic. And you can’t stereotype a whole group of people because of the actions of a few. It’s like claiming that all christians believe in killing because of abortion doctors, and justifying it by quoting an eye for an eye.

    There are people of goodwill throughout this world, of all faiths, or even of no faith. And there are also the radicals who take their faiths, or lack of, to the ultimate extremes.

    Thanks.

  13. Just a passing fad.Carly and Trump, yes even The Donald will be replaced by party leaders trying to salvage what is left from out-of-control supporters. Stay tuned for instructions from Bush’s Brain.

  14. Carson never said Muslims couldn’t be president-he just said he wouldn’t advocate that a person who is probably subservient to Sharia Law instead of the Constitution should be president?

    Ever read Sharia Law?

    It’s not tolerant of others.

  15. The new RepubliKLAN dodge is to say something clearly stupid and then claim that it is not what you meant.

    People are going to get sick of that with an amazing quickness.

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