SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 22, 2015 – Dr. Benjamin Carson is at it again with regard to raising a minor political maelstrom again with comments regarding his view that Muslims should not be able to run for president of the United States.
It may already be a moot point in 2015. However, many political pundits have started their rants against such “religious intolerance,” and their efforts at explaining how the Founding Fathers did not require a religious litmus test for election to a public office. The public debate has tended to gravitate toward the controversial topic of religious freedom.
The unfortunate paradox is that many of those making such arguments have no regard for the religious freedom of Christians or Jews.
Dr. Ben Carson, the retired Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon and GOP candidate for the presidency, and serious constitutionalist, has raised a worthy question: whether devout or non-devout Muslims should be allowed to run for POTUS. He certainly stirred up the defenders of Islam, and of course, some of them just happened to be political opponents, notably Republican Lindsey Graham, who quickly seemed to follow the advice of Senate Majority Leader Democrat Harry Reid, as he denounced Dr. Carson.
Just pondering that reality should provide ample reason why Dr. Carson, Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump have decided to run for the GOP nomination for president.
Of course, there will be a firestorm of controversy in the United States today if a Christian has the audacity to state on public television as Dr. Carson did on Meet the Press, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation… I absolutely would not agree with that.”
In Carson’s defense, and he can certainly defend himself, but it may seem to intelligent people, that there is an extreme irony that those who have little or no faith would be “offended” by Carson’s comments, as such individuals rarely demonstrate genuine concern for those of any faith – unless it can be used as political ammunition. All one need to do is seriously pay attention to the anti-Christian sentiment sweeping through America in this time.
Hope Yen, writing for the Associated Press, did properly attribute to Carson the explanation that the good doctor did not view the Islamic faith as consistent with the Constitution. That is essentially what Carson seemed to be stating. For those who are attempting to contort what he is saying to the people, and emphatically swerve the argument away from the main point, it does not logically work. Dr. Carson’s opponents in this case are attempting to make political capital and use it against him, or they just are not properly using their brains. What is shameful is that there are people, especially U.S. politicians of each political party, who have attacked a person who has thought this through to a more logical conclusion.
While it is true that Islam is a religion, and the First Amendment, which Dr. Carson has repeatedly defended, is aimed at protecting a person’s free exercise of religion, the essence of the argument is truly not about religious freedom. The central issue is about the structure and executive functioning of a government that has been created upon the Judeo-Christian heritage being inconsistent with the governments created upon the Islamic heritage. Historically, both Christian and Islamic traditions can be examined throughout the ages, and they share a similar heritage of the manifestation, development and defense of monarchies or empires in which there existed some variant of tyranny.
Such an historical record of tyranny in both Christian and Islamic history shows how the adherents of each faith governed people in specific regions throughout the world and throughout time. Yet, there was an incredibly significant departure to such records. The American War for Independence repudiated tyranny and replaced an entrenched method of governing people with a unique democratic republic. The Declaration of Independence boldly asserted that the rights of individuals came from God, and not from a king or an emperor. It was indeed a radical concept.
Dr. Carson seems to be re-asserting the radical concept that individual human rights come from God. It may be a bit disconcerting for those who have no belief in God like the atheists, or a bit uncomfortable for those who believe that they have the right to dictate almost every aspect of human behavior under Islamic law, which never emerged from the realms of tyranny. If that is such a hard concept for people in the United States to grasp, especially the political “leaders” of the nation, then the American people are in trouble because they have lost their identity as a culture, as a free people.
Amazingly, Americans only weeks ago recounted the deadly attacks on 9/11, and at the heart of those attacks was the intent to destroy the form of government that the United States has at its core. Most Americans did not really pay attention at the time of Al Qaeda’s declaration of war against the U.S. long before 9/11/2001, so it is highly unlikely that many Americans would have bothered to read Osama bin Laden’s “Letter to the American People” in 2002. In the letter, he denounced U.S. support of the “Jews” in Israel, and called upon Americans to embrace Islam and reject the immorality that pervaded the nation and specifically the evils of “fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling, and trading with interest.”
Although bin Laden portrayed himself as a good Muslim, he inevitably confessed that he was not a good Muslim. Not long after the attacks upon U.S. soil, a reporter got bin Laden to confirm he had nothing to do with the attacks because as a good Muslim one obeyed Islam, and would not be involved in “killing innocent women, children, and other people.” Much later, after bin Laden reversed himself and publicly admitted complicity in the attacks, a reporter questioned how he could claim to be a “good Muslim” in light of the obvious contradiction of what he previously claimed. At that point, he simply confessed that he was not a good Muslim.
When honestly examining more closely bin Laden’s “religious” values, it appears he was using religion only as a tool to incite others of faith to violence, as religion was used time and again in the jihad of Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. And the fact that he was not a good Muslim certainly didn’t stop him from preaching to the American people in his letter: “rather than ruling by the Shariah of Allah… You separate religion from your policies, contradicting the pure nature which affirms Absolute Authority to the Lord and your Creator.” It also did not stop him from making a mockery of the Islamic faith among the free peoples of the world by advocating, planning and initiating acts of terrorism against innocent peoples of the world.
Osama bin Laden declared that the U.S. was the “worst civilization witnessed by history of mankind.” Yet, a supreme irony is that the government that harbored Al Qaeda, was the Taliban, a Muslim fundamentalist regime based upon Shariah law that permitted very little freedom for the people of Afghanistan, especially the women within the society. With such a twisted perception of reality, people who enjoy the freedom in the U.S. can cry out about Dr. Carson’s “intolerance” of Muslims, yet the traditional fundamentalist governments established under Shariah law have very little tolerance for any non-believers and non-conformists. This is not conjecture; it is fact well documented by contemporary authors who experienced it.
Currently in Iran, the government is based upon Shariah Law. Iran is a theocracy under the rule of the ayatollah, the supreme leader, with tremendous control over the major state institutions: their executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. That is simply another form of tyranny, whether overtly formal or not. The ayatollah is the man that is standing behind the curtain as the tyrant. The Founding Fathers were very careful not to create a theocracy, which is essentially the traditional foundation for Shariah Law. Such a government would seemingly be the kind which Osama bin Laden would have supported wholeheatedly.
This leads to the question of whether those who are attempting to portray this issue as an issue involving religious freedom are attacking Dr. Carson because they also would prefer a POTUS who would have a hard time resisting the temptation of implementing the creation of a theocracy under Shariah Law. It seems that people of faith would view this issue as more a political reality, and it is ironic that people of little faith want to claim it is about religious freedom. A much deeper question would be whether anyone would have any right to even think about religious tolerance or exercise religious freedom under Shariah Law.