Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Carson's Right, the Media's Wrong

The media mugging of the week is claiming Ben Carson as this week's victim. Carson is being pilloried, not only by the media but also by some of his fellow Republicans, for asserting on Meet the Press last weekend that he could not support a Muslim seeking the office of President of the United States. Here's the exchange with NBC's Chuck Todd:
"I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation, I absolutely would not agree with that," were Carson's exact words.

This bit of common-sense has driven his critics into a near-frenzy. There's been much squawking, for example, over Mr. Carson's apparent ignorance of the Constitution, Article VI of which forbids any religious test for any elected office, as if Article VI were relevant to what Carson said. Carson did not state that it should be illegal for a Muslim to occupy the White House, he said, in effect, that he would not endorse a Muslim for the office. In that he's the one who has the Constitution on his side because a president must swear to uphold the Constitution, but it is fundamental to the Islamic faith that Sharia law supersedes all human law and Sharia is in many ways in direct conflict with the Constitution.

Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and the equality of persons regardless of race or sex are all concepts alien to Islam and the Koran. Democratic governance, as we understand it, is not possible for someone who lives by the Koran, and for such a person to take the oath of office as administered to inaugurated presidents would be dishonest.

Eugene Robinson, writing in the Washington Post, claimed that Carson was "dead wrong," but he never even attempted to explain why, probably because he couldn't. Others have claimed that statements like Carson's are an insult to Muslims, yet I suspect that all but the most nominal of Muslims would agree that Koranic law is incompatible with the Constitution (I personally had a Muslim imam tell me as much). If Muslims are sincerely offended by Carson's remark it can only be because they don't understand that the primary duty of the president is to defend the Constitution.

Unfortunately, the media, in their enthusiasm to find something to criticize Carson for (can you imagine Hillary getting a question like Todd asked Carson?) has failed completely to think through what electing a pious Muslim as president would mean for the Bill of Rights. Or maybe they just don't care.