Ben Carson is under fire for saying that he “absolutely would not agree” with electing a Muslim as president. In the time-honored tradition of politicians confronted with their own words, he tries to make out that it did not mean what it clearly meant. It is the old reliable “taken out of context” ploy.
When it was pointed out how his statement was reprehensible in so many ways, he now says that his comment had nothing to with a person being a Muslim but on whether the person wanted to establish a theocracy. He now says that he does not care what a person’s beliefs are or what their religious heritage is, as long as their primary allegiance is to the constitution. But then he also added that a Muslim has to have “publicly rejected all the tenets of Sharia and lived a life consistent with [the constitution]” to be acceptable, while presumably Christians and Jews do not have to explicitly repudiate all the elements of their religions that contradict the constitution.
A reporter tried to pin him down by saying that since every president swears allegiance to the constitution, that implies that Carson’s requirement for Muslims becomes meaningless. Carson tries to change the subject with another time-tested ploy, and starts whining that people are focusing on this topic when there are more important things to talk about.
Watch Carson do his dance.
And of course, he once again hauls out ‘political correctness’, his go-to excuse whenever he is criticized, as the reason for the furor over his remarks. Meanwhile his supporters are using his anti-Muslim remarks to raise money.
As Ed Kilgore points out, Carson as a member of a minority religion (Seventh Day Adventist) that has all manner of beliefs that are out of the mainstream, is playing with fire.
At first Carson assumed every Muslim embraced his twisted interpretation of Shariah Law (hardly a monolith), as though it’s one of the Five Pillars. Now he’s willing to renounce the ban on any Muslim who’s willing to argue he or she has stopped beating his or her spouse. What a guy.
As a member of a small and rather exotic religious minority himself, Carson is playing with fire here. Suppose someone announced they could not “support” a Seventh-Day Adventist becoming president without a clear renunciation of any interest in using the power of government to suppress meat-eating. That wouldn’t be fair. Neither is Carson’s smear against Muslims, which he infallibly knows plays to the prejudices of the GOP base.
As humorist Andy Borowitz says, Carson is shattering the stereotype about brain surgeons being smart, and brain surgeons around the world are relieved at having that burden lifted.
“When people found out I was a brain surgeon they would always assume I was some kind of a genius,” said Harland Dorrinson, a neurosurgeon in Toledo, Ohio. “Now they are beginning to understand that you can know a lot about brain surgery and virtually nothing about anything else.”
Dorrinson said that acquaintances used to view him as a source of wisdom on a wide range of subjects, but added, “Ever since Ben Carson said that prisons make people gay, that’s really fallen off.”
The brain surgeon said that he would probably contribute to Carson’s campaign to keep him in the race: “every time he says something, it helps bring people’s unrealistic expectations about brain surgeons back down to earth.”
He said that he was cheered by Carson’s pronouncement over the weekend that Muslims should not be President. “Now you can cross politics off the list of things that people will expect me to be knowledgeable about,” he said. “I think I speak for a lot of brain surgeons when I say, ‘Thank you, Ben Carson.’ ”
Larry Wilmore takes Carson to task.
(This clip aired on September 21, 2015. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Nightly Show outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)