Fallout from Donald Trump’s response to an anti-Muslim town hall attendee is creating headaches for his Republican presidential primary rivals. Retired Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson now faces his own anti-Muslim controversy.
In an interview on Meet the Press, Carson declared that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”
Following swift backlash, Carson’s campaign attempted to soften his comments, saying the candidate “just doesn’t believe the American people are ready for” a Muslim president. However, in the interview Carson said he believed that Islam is not consistent with the U.S. Constitution.
This view is at odds with previous comments Carson made on Meet the Press back in April, when asked about his own Seventh Day Adventist faith. “Religious beliefs should not dictate one’s public policies and stances,” Carson said, implying that one’s faith is not necessarily relevant to one’s role as an elected official.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations helpfully pointed out that Article VI of the Constitutione states, “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office.” CAIR asked that Carson drop out of the race.
As offensive as they may be, Carson’s anti-Muslim comments put him in step with something like 40 percent of Americans (and probably an even higher percentage of his supporters) who would be unwilling to vote for a Muslim for president, according to a Gallup poll from July. So it doesn’t seem likely that a statement like this could end his run.
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