“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.” On whether he would vote for a Muslim for Congress, Dr. Ben Carson said, “Congress is a different story. It would depend on who that Muslim is and what their policies are.”1
Thus spoke this Republican candidate on NBC’s “Meet the Press” three days ago. It caused an avalanche of indignation toward him even with calls for his pulling out of the race. What tends to be conveniently lost in the uproar is the beginning of his explanation as to why he said this:
“I do not believe Sharia is consistent with the Constitution of this country.”2
All important policy issues require serious analysis. Dr. Carson is a very competent and analytical person in a country where the extent of critical thinking is often limited to 140 characters. Consequently, some very well considered opinions and ideas are fatally truncated. Knowledge is , therefore, unable to enlighten.
This Political Correctness is Oblivious to Facts
It’s quite ironic that the man who first broke onto the national scene at the National Prayer Breakfast in February, 2013 when he denounced the dangers of politically correctness should be bitten by its proponents. After he had made those statements that we should not have a Muslim president, the amateur students of history spoke vehemently. They were quick to proclaim that he is unfit to lead our nation because we have left this form of prejudice behind us with the election of John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, and the eventual acceptance of Mormon candidate Mitt Romney in 2012.
The error in that assessment was that, regarding Kennedy, non-Catholic voters were not concerned about possible contradictions between our Constitution and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Instead, it was their misunderstanding of how a faithful Catholic would live. A holdover belief from the Protestant Reformation was the unfounded fear that Kennedy would take direct orders from Pope John XXIII on all key matters. As history shows, that was put to rest.
However, on the subject of Islam, there are conflicts between the Muslim’s “catechism” (the Qur’an and the Hadith3) and our Constitution, a serious problem for a potential commander-in-chief. As radio talk show host, David Webb reminded us on Fox News yesterday morning, a key element of Islam is that it strives for a theocracy.4 It does not accept the idea of “separation of church and state” as evidenced by:
“Fight those who believe not in Allah and in the last day, and who forbid not what Allah and His Apostle have forbidden, and who do not practice the religion of truth from amongst those to whom the Book has been brought  , until they pay the tribute by their hands and be as little ones.”6
The “jizyah,” also spelled “’jizya“ is “the money, or tribute, that conquered non-Muslims historically had to pay to their Islamic overlords ‘with willing submission and while feeling themselves subdued’ to safeguard their existence.”7
“This abrogates an earlier verse stating that there is ‘no compulsion in religion’ and destroys any pretense that Islam is merely a religion and not a political system.”4 This is in opposition to our First Amendment’s protection of freedom of religion.
And as Carson said, “Part of the problem today is that we’re so busy trying to be politically correct, that we lose all perspective.”2 Political correctness blinds many from even speaking the true names of the dangers we must address or even denying them. This is one reason why Carson has been blasted this week.
At first, this seems to be a rather strange accomplice of political correctness — especially since Carson is a Seven-day Adventist who, therefore, accepts this Protestant tradition! But this belief impedes the ability to fully appreciate a true Muslim’s religious enthusiasm. Granted, the Muslim’s fervor is shown in willing to kill for his faith while the early Christians’ expressed their spiritual zeal by willing to be killed for it. But, each case requires taking a hard stand which, as we will see, is falling out of favor.
(There are many Scripture verses which demonstrate that “sola fide” is an incomplete view of justification. While we all know we can never earn Heaven, grave misuse of our free will can cause us to forfeit this wonderful gift if we do not ask for forgiveness with sincere repentance.8 Jesus gives each of us a “Get Into Heaven Free” card, but we are free to tear it up.)
Following “sola fide” de-emphasizes the importance of attempting to live holy lives. It makes for easy rationalizations such as “I personally oppose such and such evil, but I don’t want to impose ‘my’ values.” This diminishes a timeless truth to a product of arbitrary decision-making.
Complicating the situation is the preponderance of many claiming to be Catholic (the non- sola fide Church), but who reject essential Church doctrine. Add this to the “sola fide” proponents and it’s no wonder President Obama and Hillary Clinton think they can get away with reducing “freedom of religion” to “freedom of worship.”9 This improves their chances of getting abortion, same-sex “marriage,
“ etc. ingrained in our society — things unimaginable when religious beliefs were important to a majority of Americans.
The combination of widespread political correctness with Scriptural confusion and a diminished interest in truly living our faiths has produced a situation where we have forgotten what it takes to be a true (fill in the blank). If we look at the entirety of Ben Carson’s comments on “Meet the Press” objectively and with the knowledge of history, we will come to know that he is sensible, not prejudicial. He is not judging the Muslim faith to be bad or setting himself up to be the judge as to what constitutes a practicing Muslim. He is using logic, plain and simple.
If anyone wanted to determine what a true Catholic believes, all he needs is the Bible and Church catechism which complement each other. If anyone wanted to determine what a true Muslim believes, he reads the Qur’an and the Hadith. The knowledge would produce an understanding as to how each person should live. From there, comparisons can be made with our Constitution to see if serious conflicts exist which might advise against having such an individual in our highest office which requires whole-hearted defense of that document.
Dr. Carson has done just that. Just because we currently have a president who disregards aspects of the Constitution whenever he wishes, Carson knows that it would be worse to have a leader who is required to reject it because of deeply held beliefs.
1 – video from CNN posting “Ben Carson: U.S. shouldn’t elect a Muslim president,” by Eric Bradner, http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/20/politics/ben-carson-muslim-president-2016/, 9/21/2015
2 – from “Carson doubles down on no Muslims in the White House,” by Jonathan Easley, http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/254330-carson-doubles-down-on-no-muslims-in-the-white-house, 9/20/2015
3 – “Hadith, Arabic Ḥadīth (“News” or “Story”), also spelled Hadīt , record of the traditions or sayings of the Prophet Muhammed, revered and received as a major source of religious law and moral guidance, second only to the authority of the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam. It might be defined as the biography of Muhammed perpetuated by the long memory of his community for their exemplification and obedience. The development of Hadith is a vital element during the first three centuries of Islamic history, and its study provides a broad index to the mind and ethos of Islam.” Written by the Rt. Rev. Albert Kenneth Cragg, http://www.britannica.com/topic/Hadith
4 – theocracy: “government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided,” from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/theocracy
5 – “’People of the Book’ (originally Jews and Christians, but later extended to Hindus when Muslim leaders realized that killing them was not as profitable as taxing them.), from :What Does the Religion of Peace Teach About…”, http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/quran/004-jizya.htm
6 – Sura (9:29) from “The Koran” [Qur’an], translated by E.H.Palmer, Watkins Publishing, London, first published in 1900, reprinted 2008.
7 – quote from translator Raymond Ibrahim, in “Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to Coptic Christians: Convert to Islam, or pay the ‘jizya’ tax,” by Jessica Chasmar, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/sep/10/egypts-muslim-brotherhood-convert-islam-or-pay-jiz/, 9/10/2013
True to the Qur’an, the same article reported from the Christian Science Monitor that “Just over the weekend Syrian rebels went into a Christian man’s ‘shop and gave him three options: become Muslim; pay $70,000 as a tax levied on non-Muslims, known as jizya; or be killed along with his family.’”
8 – A) John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.”
B) Gal. 5:21, “… I warn you as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
C) Gal. 6:7-8, “Make no mistake: God is not mocked for a person will reap only what he sows, because the one who sows for his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows for the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit.”
D) John 15:14, “You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
E) the summarizing quote from James 2:24, 26: “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone… For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.”
— all verses from “The New Catholic Answer Bible,” Fireside Catholic Publishing, Wichita, KS, 2005