Skip to content


GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson said on NBC TV that he thinks Muslims are unfit to be president. He claims the president’s faith should be consistent with the US constitution. He was then asked if he considered Islam to be consistent, he said, “No I don’t, I do not. I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

The US constitution specifically says this about religion:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

Given that the president is required to swear to support the constitution, and Carson just said that being Muslim should disqualify someone from being president, I think Carson has just admitted that he is not fit to be president.

This is especially ironic because this issue has come up in the not-so-distant past. I remember before John F Kennedy was our first Catholic president, many people openly said he should not be elected because he would be taking orders from the Pope. But that was mild compared to the first time a Catholic ran for president, which was Al Smith in 1928:

Even respected intellectuals questioned whether a Catholic could be trusted to be loyal to the county. In a letter published in the Atlantic Monthly, lawyer and religion scholar Charles Marshall detailed the “inevitable and irreconcilable” conflict between Catholic teachings and the Constitution, and demanded that Smith promise not to put his allegiance to the Pope above his allegiance to the country.

We seem to have gotten past that, since now a large number of the current presidential candidates (Bush, Rubio, Santorum, Pataki, Jindal, Christie, and O’Malley) are Catholics.

Even more recently, much was made of Mitt Romney being a Mormon, with people saying that his faith and the presidency were incompatible.

How long will it take before people like Carson (and Trump) lose their religious bigotry? Unfortunately, maybe not until it stops helping them lead in the polls.



  1. ThatGuy wrote:

    It never ceases to amaze me that the U.S. Constitution was, in some ways, very backward, but in others still way ahead of some of our political leaders (or potential leaders).

    Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at 5:35 am | Permalink
  2. ebdoug wrote:

    When black people were captured in Africa, many had become Muslims (while they maintained their original religions)in Africa in the 1500s. So the Muslim Religion was very dominant (or quietly practiced) at the time of the Revolution and Constitution. Carson has lost the vote of the decedents of those people’s.

    Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at 6:08 am | Permalink
  3. Hassan wrote:

    Founding fathers specifically mentioned Muhammaden (muslim) while debating about this religious test clause, and ended up in favor of not having one.

    Now Ben Carson is saying a muslim must renounce shariah, I guess Jewish candidates have to renounce halakhah and not sure what Christians need to renounce to become President.

    Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink
  4. Hassan wrote:

    Debates among founders

    Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink
  5. Iron Knee wrote:

    Hassan, those are wonderful articles, I highly recommend people read them, especially the second one.

    I think it would be appropriate to say that Christians need to renounce their persecution complex.

    I find it hilarious that these politicians – self-proclaimed religious people – are now attacking the Pope. It isn’t about religion, it is about money (of course). They are upset about the Pope’s views on climate change and helping the poor. I’m sure if Jesus were alive now, they would be attacking him too.

    Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at 11:54 am | Permalink
  6. redjon wrote:

    One wonders whether the other candidates on stage with Dr. Carson know he’s a Seventh Day Adventist and said nothing because they believe he has a right to practice whatever faith he embraces? Or because they didn’t want to appear divisive? Or didn’t know?

    Kennedy was elected IN SPITE OF his being a practicing Roman Catholic, and Mitt Romney’s LDS faith did not sink his nomination.

    Maybe the news is that, the GOP is becoming more Liberal every day. ; )

    Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at 3:07 pm | Permalink
  7. redjon wrote:

    And, yes, I realize Kennedy was a Democrat. Was speaking specifically of Carson and Romney. How very tolerant of Mike Huckabee, for instance.

    Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    O’Malley is a Democrat too.

    I think it is hilarious how the conservatives are attacking Pope Francis! OMG.

    Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at 5:47 pm | Permalink
  9. PATIOTSGT wrote:

    Hassan – great articles, thank you!

    I will just offer some words from Papa Francis which I think best describe how he thinks, and the mind set we should all aspire to achieve:

    “Who am I to judge”

    We can argue policy, procedures, regulation and ideas, but what we should not do is judge the person speaking or writing. Criticize the idea and present your research, facts or opinion, leave the person out of it.

    We need to get back to that, on both sides of the fence.

    Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 7:18 am | Permalink
  10. jwhat wrote:

    When most Americans will be comfortable with an atheist President then I will say that we have matured as a nation.

    Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink
  11. redjon wrote:

    Jwhat speaks my mind.

    Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 1:49 pm | Permalink