Ben Carson Doesn't Understand The Constitution

by Sarah Harvard

Dr. Ben Carson, a GOP contender for the White House, doesn't think a Muslim should be president. When asked by Meet The Press host Chuck Todd on Sunday if a president's faith should matter, Carson explained that it depends on the faith and if it "fits within the realm of America and [is] consistent with the Constitution." The neurosurgeon has often cited the Bible to argue in favor of his presidential policy proposals — further proving his ineptitude in balancing religious beliefs with the law of the land — but it's frankly quite obvious that Ben Carson doesn't understand the Constitution.

Carson believes that Islam isn't compatible with the Constitution and strongly advises against electing a Muslim president. "No, I do not. I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that," Carson said when Todd asked Carson explicitly if he believes Islam is compatible with the U.S. Constitution.

But when he was asked by Todd if he'd vote for a Muslim in Congress, Carson added:

Congress is a different story, but it depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are, just as it depends on what anybody else says, you know. And, you know, if there's somebody who's of any faith, but they say things, and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed, and bring peace and harmony, then I'm with them.

Carson's doesn't approve of a Muslim president because of the sanctity of the U.S. Constitution. According to Carson, the Constitution is the law of the land, and any person who holds beliefs or values that conflict with it is unfit to hold public office. At least, that's what he believes when Islam (followed by 1.6 billion global individuals, according to the Pew Research Center) is the religion in question.

Carson couldn't be further away from the truth, and he should also keep in mind that the work of enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke, who was heavily influential on the creation of the Constitution, aligned with Islamic philosophers such as Ibn Tufail and his book Hayy Ibn Yaqdhan.

But more importantly, Carson's personal take on whether a Muslim can be fit as president is unconstitutional. The U.S. Constitution clearly states under Article Six, Section Three:

No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
Sean Rayford/Getty Images News/Getty Images

What's even more fascinating is Carson's alleged respect for and desire to uphold the Constitution. In August, Carson — who wants to replace the tax code with a biblical tax plan — appeared once again on Meet The Press and was asked by Todd if "the Bible has authority over the Constitution." Carson replied:

That is not a simple question. I think probably what you have to do is ask a very specific question about a specific passage of the Bible and a specific portion of the Constitution. I don't think you can answer that question other than out of very specific context.

It's clear in his answer that self-acclaimed "constitutional conservatives" find justification in suppressing other faiths under the law of the land, and then use their own religious texts to override decisions deemed constitutional. GOP personalities like Carson and Gov. Mike Huckabee constantly use their own religions to justify the overriding of the Constitution — making it perfectly clear in cases like abortion and gay marriage they think their religious beliefs should override United States law.

Many of the GOP contenders — ranging from Ted Cruz to Rand Paul — constantly vow to defend the Constitution. In some cases, like when Sen. Paul filibustered against NSA spying, it's proven to be true. But when the Constitution comes near to conflicting with religious beliefs, it's shown time and time again that many Republican candidates believe their Christian beliefs are superior to United States law. A good example of this is the unabashed public support for Kim Davis and her refusal to provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples. It's as if the Constitution many Republicans actually believe in is one that is rewritten by "God's Law."

In that case, if his religion is incompatible with the Constitution, then through his own words, Carson is unfit to be president as well.