Ben Carson Is Clearly Very Confused About The Constitution

You know, one thing about this new breed of Republicans is that they really love talking about documents they supposedly love in a manner that suggests they haven’t actually ever read them. Like Donald Trump and the Bible, or, well, all of them and the Constitution. I think what they mean when they scream about how much they love the Constitution is pretty much just that they love the Second Amendment a whole lot, provided they get to ignore the part about the “well-regulated militia.”

Lately, the part of the Constitution the Right has been most excited about eliminating is the 14th Amendment — specifically the part about granting citizenship to all people born here. This amendment is what nullified the Dred Scott decision — which may come as a surprise to Mike Huckabee, who seems to think the decision is still “the law of the land.”

The part of the Constitution Ben Carson is perhaps most excited about eliminating? The third paragraph of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

You see, Ben Carson doesn’t think a Muslim person should be president, because, he said on “Meet The Press” this Sunday, the Islamic faith is at odds, somehow, with said Constitution. A Constitution which expressly forbids religious tests for office. Now, you can choose not vote for someone because you don’t like their religion – that’s a different thing altogether – but you don’t get to say who isn’t qualified to run because of their religion. Personally, I would much rather hear someone who is actually running for President say that they would vote for someone based on their record and positions as opposed to their religion. But maybe that’s just me. And I gotta say, it gives me the creeps that any candidate running for president would so blithely write off an entire group of Americans as unconstitutional somehow.

Personally, I think Ben Carson’s religion, Seventh Day Adventism, is wacky as hell. It was started by Ellen White, a former Millerite and “prophetess” who repeatedly incorrectly predicted the end of the world, and thought masturbation caused cancer and various other diseases. Not something I would sign up for! But does that mean that I think that Ben Carson’s religious views should disqualify him for running for president? No! I mean, other things should, for sure–but not that. Because that would be unconstitutional.

Now, if someone’s religious views involve requiring other Americans to believe in or abide by the rules of their religion? That’s unconstitutional! But I will tell you, as an atheist, which is as unbiased as I think one can get here, I see way the hell more Christians pulling that in this country than I do Muslims. Muslims aren’t bothering me or getting in my face here. I would be way more worried about my constitutional rights being violated if Mike Huckabee were president than if Keith Ellison were.

But that’s not the point. Hell, the constitution isn’t even the point here. The saddest thing about Ben Carson’s statements is the insinuation that some Americans are not “American” enough, due to their religion, to be President. Because hell, even if it’s not even sort of true, I kind of like that we tell kids here that “anyone can grow up to be President.” I think that’s pretty cool, and I wish it were more true than it is. I don’t think young Muslim kids should have to hear a Presidential candidate essentially telling them they’re not American enough to be president. I consider that not very presidential, frankly.

After significant criticism, Carson walked back his statement and said that he merely felt that Americans weren’t “ready” for a Muslim president. Which is still a crap thing to say. It was a crap thing to say when people were crying about how they weren’t “ready” for a Black president, and it’s a crap thing to say now about Muslims.

I get that conservatives have a very narrow definition of who gets to qualify as a “Real American” in this country. They view this country as “theirs” and go on and on about how they want to “take it back.” Personally, I consider everyone who is here to be a “Real American” regardless of their religious beliefs, where they live, or whether or not they agree with me politically. I actually think it’s pretty important for the President to believe that too, and quite honestly, not only can I not say that about Ben Carson, but I can’t say it about any of the other GOP candidates either.