Dr. Carson and the Media’s Muslim Frenzy September 22, 2015Posted by geoff in News.
There has been a longstanding prejudice against electing a Catholic as president due to the concern that the president would have two loyalties: one to the United States and one to Rome. Only one Catholic has ever been elected to the presidency (JFK), and he didn’t even get to serve a full term.
So the US has never dabbled much in non-Christian religions, with JFK representing the biggest excursion away from Christianity (with the possible exception of two presidents who had no apparent religious affilation). No Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, or Muslims have ever served in that office.
Which is one reason why I’m not really impressed by the furor over Dr. Ben Carson’s comment that he wouldn’t advocate that a Muslim be president. Most Americans have apparently not advocated that a Catholic be president, and Catholics make up a quarter of our population.
Another reason is that the first knee-jerk response from the media (and even Carly Fiorina) has been to cite the Constitution, which places no religious restrictions on eligibility for the presidency.
But Dr. Carson never said that Muslim’s couldn’t run for office, he simply said that if a Muslim president’s loyalties were divided between the US Constitution and the Islamic traditions of theocracy and sharia law, he wouldn’t be a fan.
That’s fair. I would rather have a president with split loyalties between a Pope and the US than someone whose driving motivation was to fundamentally transform the US.
Oh dear. I guess it’s too late to choose.