Ben Carson isn’t OK

Well, I think the question is pretty much settled: Ben Carson isn’t OK.

I’m in the middle of traveling to New Mexico for my cousin’s wedding, so I’ll be blogging a bit less frequently between now and Wednesday. But some time between my taking off from Charlottesville and landing at my connection in Atlanta, Ben Carson said on Meet the Press that Muslims are disqualified from being president. And while Atlanta airport wifi is pretty choppy, this will not do.

As Carson said, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.” When pressed on if he was suggesting that the president’s religion should matter, Carson doubled down, saying that “If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter.” Carson also refused to say that President Obama is an American Christian, saying merely that he has “no reason to doubt” otherwise.

Keep in mind, this is very different from Carson simply saying he wouldn’t vote for someone just because they were Muslim. That would just make him a bigot. No, Carson is saying that Islamic faith disqualifies one from public office, in direct violation of Article VI of the Constitution. Forget about whether President Obama is a secret Muslim, this would mean that Keith Ellison and Andre Carson should be expelled from Congress immediately.

Carson justified his position by claiming that Islam is incompatible with the Constitution. But you know what? If that’s true, then so is Christianity. That’s why we don’t give our leaders religious tests, and that’s why our leaders don’t (or at least shouldn’t) get to inject their religion into the public sphere.

Perhaps Ben Carson assumes that Muslims can’t reconcile their religion with the Constitution — and would therefore impose their religious beliefs on the rest of the country — because that’s the lens through which Carson sees his own religion’s role in his politics. After all, this is the same Ben Carson who is pretty sure that the First Amendment is for Christians first, everyone else second.

Boo this man.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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67 Responses to “Ben Carson isn’t OK”

  1. chisao101 says:

    Wow, the comments here are really racist. How can you guys be saying this stuff about an African American who is running for president.
    Listen, you morons….SHARIA is not compatible with the constitution. Islamic law is not compatible with the constutution.
    If you had any sense, you would know that stoning women for adultery, even when they have been raped, and stoning homosexuals to death is against the constitution. In some Islamic countries, women cannot drive. Is that constitutional? By your comments, it would be pretty easy to day that you guys all support stoning people and disallowing women their rights.
    The political left has about zero common sense.

  2. carole says:

    Are you quite sure you don’t mean Bush and Cheney?

  3. Masrry Thomas says:

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  4. Bill_Perdue says:

    Racist garbage.

  5. MoonDragon says:

    The problem (issue?) is that the dividing line between the Iron and Bronze Age is relative to the location (some Bronze age sites in the UK look positively neolithic). Our guide in the Cyclades this past week (archaeologist) put it anywhere from 2500 – 3000 BCE. Think the book’s oral traditions go back further than that.

  6. Kaye Oleary says:

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  7. Sam says:


  8. Sam says:

    You are absolutely right Dcinsider. I couldn’t agree with you more. You clearly articulated my position in your comments about Ben Carson. He is nothing but an educated illiterate.

  9. Sam says:

    What is Ben Carson doing in the presidential race? This sleepy man needs to be fed a decaffeinated coffee so that he can return to the operating room. As for his comment about Muslim and the presidency, I think he is misguided and needs to be thrown out of the race. As a Christian, I will not condemn any person or office based on religion or faith but this sleepy man went too far. He or someone needs to trace his genealogy. We may find out that that his forefathers were Muslims. I’ll conclude be saying “Congratulations Ben Carson”, you have won the medal of an educated illiterate.

  10. UncleBucky says:

    They (the GOPers) have “staff” to read the Constitution for them, in particular staff that is at cheapest hourly rate.

  11. 2karmanot says:

    ROTFL Oh honey, you need help.

  12. 2karmanot says:

    Zombies eat brains.

  13. 2karmanot says:


  14. dcinsider says:

    Frankly, the only religious test I’d favor was a guaranty that the person I’m voting for is an atheist :)

  15. dcinsider says:

    The real question is what does Ben Carson like to eat.

  16. dcinsider says:

    Look, Ben Carson is mentally ill, and perhaps in the early stages of some dementia. He’s got a whole boatload of crazy, and sometimes it just slips out of his feeble mind. If this was not true, how could he be a GOP front-runner?

    The insane plurality of the GOP requires some crazy, batshit, nutjob, and he is the black Sarah Palin. Very frustrating for the Ted Cruz’s and Mike Huckabee’s, who have been perfecting their batshit craziness for the past few years in anticipation of 2016.

    What’s really crazy is taking this idiot seriously. Who really cares what he thinks about anything. he is NEVER going to be the GOP nominee, and treating him like he is anything other than a drooling insane person sleeping on a bench is giving him and his idiotic blatherings more dignity than they deserve.

    What I’d like to see this blog, and others do, is simply say they will no longer post about about him, or Huckabee or Cruz because they fail to meet minimum qualifications to be taken seriously fro President.

  17. Hue-Man says:

    B, I read the weasel words differently.
    1. CHUCK TODD: So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the constitution?
    DR. BEN CARSON: No, I don’t, I do not.

    Replace “Islam” with “Christianity”. Neither is “consistent” with the U.S. Constitution.

    2. “DR. BEN CARSON: I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.”

    Replace “a Muslim” with “Donald Trump”. Advocacy is not the same as a restriction or a bar.

    I don’t know if this qualifies as dog-whistle politics but Carson’s message was – “only my kind of christianist can ever be president.” Also, Carson’s mental health may be in question but I have more serious concerns about anyone who would give him or his campaign any money!

  18. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    If anything was written, it had to be during the Iron Age at the earliest. However, many of the stories were legends that were part of the of Bronze Age oral tradition. The oral tradition helps explain such things as two creation stories in Genesis. Many scholars feel that the Book of Job was the oldest story. That is really an unpleasant legend.

  19. Indigo says:

    Yes, and Blacks, and Jews, and . . .

  20. TheOriginalLiz says:

    Weren’t the same issues raised about Catholics not that long ago?

  21. BeccaM says:

    I thought so too for a long while, then looked in further. Turns out ‘Iron’ was what was considered appropriate for the era.

  22. Ewa Saunders says:

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  23. MoonDragon says:

    Pretty sure the material in the book originated with bronze age peoples.

  24. Bill_Perdue says:

    I love chile verde and cook it all the time, but prefer it Colorado or Chihuahua style, without potatoes.

  25. Bill_Perdue says:

    That’s a lie.

    The Obama regime is responsible for the racist and extra legal murders of at least six Arab or muslim Americans – Ahmed Farouq, Adam Gadahn, Anwar al-Aulaqi, Samir Khan, ‘Abd al-Rahman Anwar al-Aulaqi and Jude Mohammed. One was a sixteen year old boy from Denver, Colorado. The ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights vehemently oppose his anti-constitutional assumption that he has the right to kill American citizens, here or abroad.

    The Obama regime is also responsible for the mass murder of Arab and muslim civilians all over the Arab and muslim world. His regime organized the attack on Libya, supports right wing military and royalist dictatorships in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates and attacked Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq and Syria, maintains a large occupation force in Afghanistan and has murdered thousands of civilians in Pakistan.

    The most costly and openly racist action of the Obama has been it’s policy of arming IDF thugs who last year went on a killing spree, murdering over 2 thousand civilians, many of them children deliberately shelled or bombed taking refuge in UN shelters.

    Obama is not a muslim, he’s an Islamophobic racist responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent civilians from Libya to Pakistan.

  26. Bill_Perdue says:

    Islamophobia is racsim and and like all irrational beliefs calls into question the sanity of those who embrace it.

  27. crazymonkeylady says:

    I doubt they even read their bibles, if they can read!

  28. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    It is my opinion that you are a total idiot.

  29. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Why didn’t you want to mention Rep. Ellison?

  30. BeccaM says:

    And he’s doing only to juice his book sales and speaking fees.

  31. BeccaM says:

    Interestingly, during the last few decades but especially recently, whenever an American politician insists there is no religious freedom but freedom to follow his religion, that zealotry in the name of his faith isn’t a vice, that the First Amendment was written only for his beliefs, and that God’s law and laws derived from an Iron Age religious book are to supersede America’s Constitution and secular laws, it’s never a Muslim, but a fundamentalist Christian.

    And not always, but usually a Republican. I worry far more about these current GOP candidates who’ve said if given the chance they would eagerly enforce their own religiously-motivated interpretation of the law using the FBI and the army. As opposed to any Muslim who practically has to disavow his or her religion the same way Kennedy did his Catholicism in order to be elected at all.

  32. Nikato Muirhead says:

    I didn’t want to mention Ellison, but am well aware.

  33. PattyJM says:

    Well, you and I and my cat all know that this is an empty promise to attract voters who really think that only christians should hold office. He is playing to the emotions and not to the brain.

    Fortunately, it would take an amendment declaring article VI null and void to make this a “christian country”. May such a thing never happen!

  34. BeccaM says:


  35. Don Chandler says:

    Carson is a token candidate.

  36. Indigo says:

    Salsa verde, por favor.

  37. Indigo says:

    Trolling sometimes involves a fact or two rather than merely arrogant announcements. But thanks for whatever.

  38. Indigo says:

    Thanks for your comment, sorry for the medical screw-up. Listening is not a medical skill. Their behavior is such that they might as well have gone to announcers’ school

  39. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    In other words, you have absolutely no idea. I just recently moved across country from Minneapolis. Keith Ellison, a Muslim, was my congressional representative. He is a great representative, and I would have no problem voting for him if he were running for president. Before you say something, I’m not Muslim, I’m Lutheran.

  40. BeccaM says:

    Seems so, Mod3. I was going to call out the obvious ad hominem attack on Jon, too, but decided it was unnecessary.

  41. BeccaM says:

    They read the Constitution like they do their Bibles: Selectively, cherry-picking only those parts which support their predetermined outcomes and positions, such as ignoring the ban on religious tests for elected office, or arguing against the continued existence and functions of the Supreme Court, despite an entire Article being spent on it.

  42. Moderator3 says:

    He/she is a definite troll and doesn’t want to be bothered with facts or reasoning.

  43. BeccaM says:

    Pfft. THE place to eat around here is The Range. Or Sadie’s. ;-)

    p.s. “Red or Green?” isn’t a question about Christmas. It’s what flavor of chile sauce you want, and as ever is subjective preference. (Me, I like green.)

  44. BeccaM says:

    You cited that transcript as if it proved your point, when in fact it entirely undermines and refutes it.

    CHUCK TODD: Let me wrap this up by finally dealing with what’s been going on, Donald Trump, and a deal with a questioner that claimed that the president was Muslim. Let me ask you the question this way: Should a President’s faith matter? Should your faith matter to voters?
    DR. BEN CARSON: Well, I guess it depends on what that faith is. If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter. But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the constitution, no problem.
    CHUCK TODD: So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the constitution?
    DR. BEN CARSON: No, I don’t, I do not.
    CHUCK TODD: So you–
    DR. BEN CARSON: I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.

    There is no other way to read that than to conclude Carson believes that being Muslim disqualifies one to be president. You can argue and parse exactly what is meant by ‘disqualify’, but Carson’s position is clear and unambiguous, even if he did not use that word specifically. He believes (1) Islam is ‘inconsistent’ with the Constitution (whatever that mean) and (2) for that reason, he thinks a person who follows Islam should therefore never be President.

    I’m guessing logic isn’t your strong suit.

  45. Nikato Muirhead says:

    I am not concerned with the Muslims already in public office. If you want to know who they are you can research it. (I am not referring to Obama either, though it is my opinion that he is Muslim in his heart.)

  46. Demosthenes says:

    In related news, Dr. Carson also refuses to support any African American becoming president.

    Oh, wait . . .

  47. 2karmanot says:

    Couldn’t agree more with the former statement. So many doctor’s spend so much time in school, they fail to mature, My brother is one. As to the latter, I’ve been very fortunate that in this part of Northern California, the specialists who treat me are well informed and skilled in conversation. The local clinics, not so much, they killed my husband with medications that enlarged his heart, by failing to read his entire long and complicated medical history.

  48. 2karmanot says:

    Jon, if you make it to Santa Fe, try Pasqual’s. It’s also a great breakfast place.

  49. PattyJM says:

    Haven’t any of these people ever actually READ the constitution?

    So many of the things they say are blatantly unconstitutional!

  50. PattyJM says:

    In the 70’s I was stationed at Holloman AFB (Alamogordo) and fell in love with the state.

    We are currently located in another state (Oregon) partly because my wife loves it here. If she should die first and my own health holds up, moving back to the sunshine and clear air is high on the to-do list.

  51. Charlie Parsons says:

    He, in fact, did not say that. Here’s the transcript of last night’s Meet the Press:

  52. DGKY says:

    Democrats’ victim group of the day: … Muslims.

    Grab a box of tissues to dry your tears.

  53. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I hope you do not do computer programming, because “if” statements are going to be difficult for you.

  54. BeccaM says:

    Concur absolutely, as I’ve remarked a number of times that his seeming inability to open his eyes all the way anymore, coupled with a halting and rather vocabulary-impaired speech pattern strikes me as indicative of some kind of degenerative brain disease. Especially since he did not look or sound like this four years ago and really didn’t ten ago, when he was doing the talk-show circuit.

    However, there’s nothing Carson is saying now which isn’t part of the average GOP candidate’s core positions, just expressed differently, A number of them have come right out and said the Constitution only protects Christian religious freedoms and no one else’s.

  55. BeccaM says:

    Indeed. Here’s hoping Jon gets a chance for a little touring while he’s here in our lovely state. Mid-September is one of the most beautiful times of the year.

  56. Indigo says:

    New Mexico’s very nice.

  57. Ken Clark says:

    Welcome to the Land of Enchantment. Enjoy your visit!

  58. Indigo says:

    Clarify, s’il vous plâit.

  59. Indigo says:

    Um . . . no more mentally ill than the average M.D. with too much money and a deep resentment of accountability to his patients. But perhaps it’s just my misfortune to keep finding myself in the offices of such fools. There’s probably a decent physician out there somewhere who welcomes informed clients to partner with for individualized health. Probably.

  60. nicho says:

    What’s a “real journalist?” You mean like on Fox News? Maybe Bill O’Reilly. Carson did, in fact, say that being Muslim should disqualify you from being president.

  61. cambridgemac says:

    Just so you know, the journalist didn’t say we have a Muslim President who needs to be removed from office. So, stop making things up.

  62. nicho says:

    Ben Carson is quite possibly mentally ill. We should look at everything he says through that prism.

  63. therling says:

    You mean Muslims? Or nutjobs like Ben Carson?

  64. Nikato Muirhead says:

    We have several already in public office. I think it is wise to think twice before they are placed in the highest office in the land.

  65. 2karmanot says:

    Dear troll. It’s called follow the reasoning.

  66. karlInSanDiego says:

    As much as I dislike Ben Carson’s statement, and think he would not make a good president, I concur with your statement that he is not calling for the expulsion of any office holder based on their religion. I distrust any politician who follows Trumps divisionist sect of distrust of the current president when based on his religion or questions about his place of birth. For that mattern, anyone who wears their religion on their sleeve will not make a good leader for our country .

  67. Charlie Parsons says:

    He stated he would not advocate for a Muslim in the White House. That means exactly what it states. It does not mean what you said it means. And at no point in his statements were there any calls to remove or disqualify Muslims from public office.

    Are you a real journalist? No, I suppose not. That’s why you’re writing a blog and not a true column piece.

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