Ben Carson took the stage at the Values Voter Summit and told the crowd that the media needs to go back and look at his Meet the Press transcript, you know, the one where he said Muslims should not be president. He says he never said that now, that “Not advocating they run for president in no way precludes them from running.”
As he told the VVS crowd:
I said, before that I said anybody from any faith, from any belief system who comes to America, becomes an American citizen, embraces our American values and principles and is willing to subjugate their beliefs to our Constitution is somebody I have no problem with. But he then comes back and says, yeah, but what about a Muslim, in the context of maybe somebody who didn’t fit in that category. Anybody who doesn’t fit in that category, I don’t care who they are – they can be a Christian – if they don’t fit in that category, I’m not going to advocate that they be president of the United States. It’s as simple as that.
This appears on the surface to be a case of Carson backing off from his earlier, inflammatory comments. Fox & Friends’ Elisabeth Hasselbeck had claimed his objection to Muslim presidents made Carson “a real person,” and Carson’s business manager’s defense of the indefensible collapsed under the weight of CNN’s Alisyn Camerota’s invoking the United States Constitution’s Article VI.
Of course, we must remember that Republican rejection of Constitutional precepts is not seen by them as a rejection of Constitutional precepts. Cognitive dissonance prevents the rule of logic, let alone the introduction of unwelcome facts.
It isn’t exactly as if Carson was showing himself to be newly enlightened. He already defended himself by saying he was attacking Sharia Law, even though the Law of Moses is identical in every important respect, to Sharia Law. He has even said since that he would support a Muslim candidate who renounced Sharia Law.
Of course, he’s not about to renounce the Law of Moses, or ask that any candidate do so. Obviously, Carson himself does not subjugate his religious beliefs to the Constitution. No Republican candidate is willing to do that.
And as though to drive the point home, he told the VVS15 crowd “You know, political correctness is ruining our country and we need to stand up for what we actually believe. (Applause, cheers.) It’s ridiculous.”
Political correctness, of course, is a conservative code word for Americans standing up for their rights against Republican religious tyranny. You know, like refusing to be persecuted by people like Kim Davis.
So in the context of all that has been said by the Religious Right-owned Republican Party for the past half-century, Ben Carson was not backing off at all. He was saying that his beliefs do not conflict with the Constitution (even though they do) because of the demonstrably false claim that the Bible and Constitution are indistinguishable.
No applause for Ben Carson today, or any day, from those who love liberty, because he does not.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.