In a Meet the Press interview on Sunday Sept. 20, 2015, GOP Presidential hopeful had this to say about the possibility of a Muslim president:
He should have stopped at the first half of the question, because that part I agree with 100%;
“It [a person’s faith] is inconsistent with the values and principles of America then of course it should matter. If it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the Constitution I have no problem.”
Then he had to go and say that Islam isn’t consistent with our principles. That’s where he lost me, and stirred up the ire of American Muslims, liberals, and even some libertarians. Of course, the world almost came to an end when many conservatives ended up agreeing with Bill Maher about this issue, too.
A friend asked my take on this whole thing since I have no religious belief. He asked me in text, and I said I’d need to write a highly opinionated blog post about it since text just wouldn’t be good enough. So here goes.
Carson’s concern, and the concern of Bill Maher and conservatives, is that all Muslims want to implement Sharia law, and all Muslims think that all non-Muslims need to convert to Islam or submit to Islamic rule. These folks confuse Islam the religion with Islam the politics. Not that their concerns are unfounded – world politics and war shows that there is indeed a problem with Islam the political system – but Muslims, like Christians, are not monolithic in their politics or even their interpretation of their professed faith. And time and again Muslims in the US have shown that they are not the same as the Muslims in the Middle East.
Yes, most terrorist activity in the world is committed by Muslims, but with a very few exceptions (outside of Sept. 11), Muslims do not commit any more crime in the US as professed Christians, Jews, Hindus, or atheists. Muslims in America are not by default anti-American and pro-Sharia. In fact, most of them are born and raised American citizens who live peacefully and as law abiding tax paying citizens. Even those that immigrate here come here for the freedoms and opportunities that their home countries – mostly theocracies or dominated by one particular religion – don’t offer.
I would, however, be very concerned if I read things like this on Muslim websites, and knew that many Muslims in America agree with what is said:
Allah commands us to obey the governmental authorities. The only allowance we have for disobeying the authorities is if they demand that we disobey something Allah has commanded
[Question:] Shall we obey Allas’s Law or human law?
[Answer:] …The simple answer is that Muslims are to obey human law except where that human law violates Allah’s Law. Our supreme duty is to obey Allah. Since Allah tells us to also obey human laws, we should. But, when they come in conflict, we are to “obey Allah rather than men.”
Question: “Do Muslims have to obey the laws of the land?”
Answer: …We are to obey the government Allah places over us…it is clear that as long as the law of the land does not contradict the law of Allah, we are bound to obey the law of the land. As soon as the law of the land contradicts Allah’s command, we are to disobey the law of the land and obey Allah’s law
This is a law of Allah. Man’s law is not allowed to contradict Allah’s law.
Statements such as those frighten me, and, like Ben Carson said, those people who put the laws of their religion above our Constitution and system of government are not fit to lead our country. Here’s the rub – in all of the above quotes I substituted the word “God” for “Allah” (which is just Arabic for God), and the word “Christian” for “Muslim”. So there are Christians in this country – American born and raised – who are being taught and who believe that whatever they think God’s law is is above man’s law. And there are, statistically, more Christians who would turn us into a Christian theocracy than Muslims who would turn us into a Islamic caliphate.
Then there’s this sticky thing called the Constitution – the very thing that Carson claims that Muslim beliefs are inconsistent with, and the very thing he ignores when he makes his statement about Islam being inconsistent with the Constitution. Article 6 states:
…no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States
Of course, that section was ignored for a long time as the individual States created constitutions that required all officials to be Christian. And then the 14th amendment superseded those state constitutions (a story for another day). Public officials are not subjected to an official test of their religions (or non-religious views) to qualify for office. But we the people clearly apply that test when we select and elect candidates. And when we apply that test, only Christians need apply. 73% of Americans are Christian (vs. 1.9% Jewish and .9% Muslim), but 92% of the 114th Congress is Christian. It seems that we apply that religious test to our leaders all the time.
In order for the fears of an Islamic caliphate to come to pass in the US, Islam would have to overtake Christianity as the dominant religion. The First Amendment would have to be repealed, and, frankly, so would the Second. Is there any future where you see all of that happening? I would be considerably more concerned that Christian zealots could do more to disrupt our government than Islamic zealots. We already have one clerk in Kentucky who thinks her faith is above the law, and she’s Christian.
Would I rather live in a country ruled by Christians or one ruled by Muslims? I would not want to live in any country where a religious belief – a superstition – is more important than the a fair and democratic approach to rule and law. I don’t care what the religion is. Today, I would rather live in the US than the Sudan or Syria. Who knows how I’ll feel in 20 years.
There is not need to worry about Muslims taking over this country or our government. Thankfully we have that document that sets us apart from the rest of the world that does not allow one religion to rule us. Until that document is completely destroyed, we will all be safe to worship whoever we please – or not.0