early and often

Ben Carson Is Okay With Muslims, If They Reject the Parts of Their Religion He Doesn’t Like

The next time you’re marveling at the fact that people are carrying around tiny video screens with access to all of the world’s information in their pockets, remember that we’re also living in a time when a major presidential candidate thinks it’s fine to declare he doesn’t think Muslims are fit to be president. After announcing, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” on Meet the Press last week, Carson spent the week trying to distance himself from the controversy, without backing down from his claim that there’s something inherently un-American about Islam.

When asked if he assumes “that all Muslims embrace Sharia law” Sunday on ABC’s This Week, Carson dodged the question. “What I would like for somebody to show me is an improved Islamic text that opposes Sharia. Let me see — if you can show me that, I will begin to alter my thinking on this,” he said. “Right now, when you have something that is against the rights of women, against the rights of gays, subjugates other religions, and a host of things that are not compatible with our Constitution, why in fact would you take that chance?”

Host Martha Raddatz moved on, but CNN’s Jake Tapper seemed determined to get to the bottom of Carson’s thoughts about Muslims. In their lengthy exchange on Sunday’s State of the Union, Carson explained he’s known a lot of Muslims who are very patriotic, but they’ve rejected certain parts of their religion:

I would have problems with somebody who embraced all the doctrines associated with Islam. If they are not willing to reject Sharia and all the portions of it that are talked about in the Quran. If they are not willing to reject that and subject that to American values and the Constitution, then of course, I would. I would ask you, would you be willing to do that? Would you be willing to advocate for somebody who would not do that? Probably not.

Tapper said it sounds like Carson is “singling out Muslims as individuals who automatically, as a knee-jerk, would put their religion ahead of the country,” while he does not assume that most Americans of other faiths embrace extremist interpretations of their religion. “I think the statement stands,” Carson said. Then his eyes lit up as he suddenly thought of a rock-solid defense: “Is it possible that maybe the media thinks it’s a bigger deal than the American people do? Because American people, the majority of them, agree and they understand exactly what I am saying.”

Great point. Members of the media should get off their high horse and focus on reflecting the thoughts and feelings of the American public, no matter how misguided they may be. For instance, why should journalists keep accurately reporting on the Supreme Court if two-thirds of Americans can’t name a single justice and don’t care to learn who they are?

Carson Okay With Muslims, If They Reject Beliefs