Vail Daily column: I agree with Ben Carson (sort of)
Presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson was 100 percent correct when he told “Meet the Press” he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” because he does “not believe Sharia (Islamic law) is consistent with the Constitution of this country.”
Sadly, however, the good doctor declined to take the issue to its obvious and inevitable conclusion, which of course is that no religious law is consistent with the Constitution.
In fact, no supernatural belief system will ever be, as every single one demands reality be ignored at one point or another, and none of the 4,400 words in our Constitution allow for such ignorance.
A few of those words do allow for the freedom to ignore reality whenever and however one chooses, but that particular freedom cannot be a criteria when running for elected office.
So Carson has the right idea, just apparently not the intellect or courage to take the issue to the top level.
Cal Thomas, the self-righteous end-of-a-cactus-needle writing on this very page last week, was quick to defend Carson, pointing out, “We are at war with a radical ideology that wishes to destroy the West and drastically alter our way of life.”
Well, yes Cal, that has been going on for quite a few decades now, and sadly will never end as long as conservatives like yourself continue to insist it is a war of ideologies (“Our real God can beat up your pretend God any ol’ day!”), as opposed to the war of energy and economic power grabs that it actually is.
But as to the validity of never electing a Muslim president, a snapshot of the American mindset at any particular point in time reveals how far our national ignorance towards the Constitution has come and how far we have to go.
Less than 150 years ago African-Americans could not vote, much less run for elected office. It was 1920 for women, 1924 for Native Americans and in 1960 over one-quarter of the nation declared they would “never elect a Catholic” as president.
JFK proved them wrong, as did Obama in 2008 and Hillary in … okay, but it’ll happen someday (not a Clinton, mind you, but a female).
But JFK did not win simply because he was Catholic, nor did Obama because he is black, but because of their merits as candidates and their appeal to a majority of voters.
No one should ever be elected based solely upon whatever supernatural belief system they happen to follow, or if they do not follow one at all. Only a myopic moron would do such a thing, and luckily for us fewer and fewer of those types are in charge of anything.
If a candidate meets all of my personal criteria for an elected position, I don’t care if they believe in unicorns, talking snakes, talking donkeys or flying horses (all found in so-called “holy” books) as long as they never attempt to influence public policy based upon such childish beliefs.
I just ask that they keep it to themselves or learn to accept and deal with the consequences, as any other option is clearly, as Dr. Carson pointed out, not consistent with the US Constitution.
Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com.