Ben Carson’s Muslim comments ignore his own denomination’s history (COMMENTARY)

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Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson appears on Fox Business Network's 'Varney & Co.' in New York on August 12, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-GRIFFIN-COLUMN, originally transmitted on September 23, 2015, or with RNS-CARSON-FAITH, originally transmitted on Oct. 27, 2015.

Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson appears on Fox Business Network's 'Varney & Co.' in New York on August 12, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Brendan McDermid *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-GRIFFIN-COLUMN, originally transmitted on September 23, 2015, or with RNS-CARSON-FAITH, originally transmitted on Oct. 27, 2015.

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(RNS) One wonders whether Carson’s rhetoric about Muslims would at all be tempered if he recalled the example of beleaguered Seventh-day Adventists staring down forced Sabbath-keeping.

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  • Larry

    No, the author is calling Ben Carson a hypocrite or at least someone who is ignorant of his own sect’s history. Rather than learn from a history of sectarian discrimination against his own faith, Carson merely wishes to pass it on against another one.

    There have been Muslims living in the US since its inception. To claim they, as an entire faith, do not or have not supported this nation is an outright lie. Dr. Carson is merely engaging in the same politics of bigotry that the rest of the GOP candidates are doing.

    There is never, ever going to be a valid or rational argument that “X religion is evil”. They all have their fair share of sane people and nuts. Belonging to a given faith is no indication of the quality of one’s character.

    Dr. Carson is such a panderer that he is even willing to compromise his professional ethics as a physician, to support the anti-vaccination wingnuts in his party.

  • nic

    Actually I think carson potentially opened a pandora’s box he and no christian presidential candidate is prepared to deal with..

    “If someone has a Muslim background and they’re willing to reject those tenets and to accept the way of life that we have and clearly will swear to place our Constitution above their religion … I would then be quite willing to support them,” he said.

    if thats the case then does ben carson denounce kim davis the woman who refuses to sign marriage licenses for gay couples based on her christian religious views and tenets?? The bible has very strong and clear thoughts on homosexuals and they should be treated. She is a civil servant but clearly places her religious beliefs above the constitutionally protected law of the land in a society that has largely accepted gay rights for marriage. On top of that there is speculation that she may have altered signed licenses in a effort to invalidate them in the states eyes. Which could cause legal injury to…

  • nic

    Actually I think carson potentially opened a pandora’s box he and no christian presidential candidate is prepared to deal with..
    “If someone has a Muslim background and they’re willing to reject those tenets and to accept the way of life that we have and clearly will swear to place our Constitution above their religion … I would then be quite willing to support them,” he said.
    Which could cause legal injury to those couples..all in the name of her religion and beliefs.
    How is she any different than that hypothetical muslim candidate that carson is so concerned about??
    the Supreme Court ruled on gay marriage it..its a law protected under the constitution and as such is ben carson willing to reject the tenets of his religion to accept the way of life we have and swear to place our constitution (and the laws protected under it) above his religion??
    Is he and conservatives who agree with his criteria willing to live by that criteria for a presidential candidate??

  • larry

    “How is she any different than that hypothetical muslim candidate that carson is so concerned about??”

    She’s Christian and according to theocrats like Carson, Christians are not subject to the same rules as everyone else. Its not called special pleading for nothing.

  • Howard Carton

    It looks to me like Griffith wants to show that “all religions are OK”. But when it comes to Catholicism, if you look at the history of Catholicism, back around 1821 the Catholic church definitely did not believe in democracy. It was not until around 1899, in an encyclical by Leo XIII, that the church finally said slavery was wrong (!!!!!) and accepted democracy.

    As well, historically, the Catholic church has been supportive of any number of tyrants, even into the 20th century, e.g. Spain’s Franco.

  • Bernardo

    The complete critique in less than ten seconds. Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Mo-roni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

  • TexasTraveller

    A well written and thoughtful article. However, it treads on eggshells, like most people do when politics and religion are stirred in the pot to make a witches brew. If you run for president you MUST hold the Constitution as your highest earthy authority. If you do not, you will either not be elected or you will break the law and go to jail. It’s very simple. Sharia Law is not above the Constitution; neither is the Pope’s interpretation of the Bible. Jesus’ teaching is not above the Constitution because the Constitution was based on Jesus’ teaching. And there lies the rub. The die is cast. If the Constitution was written by Atheists then it would be up for grabs. It is not. It is already claimed.

  • Larry

    You made one material misstep. The Constitution is not based on the teachings if Jesus nor is there any conceivable reference to him or Christianity in it. It doesn’t belong to Christianity or any religion. Stop putting your sect’s tramp stamp on our laws.

    You ruined what started as an intelligent statement with something dunderheaded and sectarian to lay claim that your Protestant faith is given special status.

    The Constitution belongs to all of faiths and none of them. It protects all religions by not entangling our government with any of them. Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, atheists, and any other faith you can name has every right to claim the Constitution for themselves and its protections.

  • Greg

    His comments were anti-Islam more than anti-Muslim if you watched the whole interview and paid attention to what he said before his comment about Islam. It boils down to whether a Muslim reads his religious system in its most literal sense, which is indeed incompatible with the Constitution.

  • Larry

    That is a distinction without importance.

    A person reads their religious system in a literal sense is incompatible with the Constitution. Ben Carson certainly reads his religious system in its most literal sense. Hence his willingness to deny scientific knowledge such as the efficacy of vaccinations, the existence of global warming and the theory of Evolution. Also his willingness to ignore the importance of the separation of church and state and free exercise of religion for all faiths put him on the same level. He is exactly what he rails against.

    The only material difference between Mr. Carson and what he is denouncing is the flavor of religion involved. A distinction also without importance. “But Christians are different” is not a real argument. The willingness to apply standards of behavior that one is not willing to apply to themselves is a textbook example of a hypocrite.

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  • As a Seventh-day Adventist teacher and pastor, I can say you articulated well my own reaction to Carson’s statements. Thanks.

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  • Bob

    “Americans now have no problem with Catholics running for presidential office ….”

    I might have no problem as long as they renounce allegiance to all foreign powers. If they maintain an allegiance to any unelected foreign dictators, then they should be ineligible to hold public office. And when I say “unelected,” I’m talking about not being elected by the people one rules over.

    I used to be Roman Catholic, and I’ve never once heard of the membership having any vote in the selection of a new pope. In fact, before 1870, Catholic sovereigns were permitted to veto the selection of a particular person as the new pope. After 1870 that veto power was abolished, and now no one has any say except for the cardinals who themselves were appointed by a previous pope.

    Prior to 1870, the US Congress pulled the funding for the diplomatic mission to Rome because it had heard that Protestant services were not allowed in Rome. Are Protestant services allowed at Vatican City? If not,…

  • Bob

    Larry,

    Are you denying scientific knowledge that falsifies the theory of evolution? If so, why criticize Ben Carson?

  • Bob

    My final words were: If not, what has changed?

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