Article VI of the U.S. Constitution is unambiguously clear: “[N]o religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
As of yesterday, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson either doesn’t know what the Constitution says or he simply doesn’t care.
Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson said he would not support a Muslim as President of the United States. Responding to a question on “Meet the Press,” the retired neurosurgeon said, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”
He also said that Islam, as a religion, is incompatible with the Constitution.
Carson’s comments drew strong criticism from the country’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“To me this really means he is not qualified to be president of the United States,” said the group’s spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper. “You cannot hold these kinds of views and at the same time say you will represent all Americans, of all faiths and backgrounds.”
Hooper said the Constitution expressly forbids religious tests for those seeking public office and called for the repudiation of “these un-American comments.”
In a separate appearance on NBC, one of Carson’s rivals for the GOP nomination, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, was asked whether he would have a problem with a Muslim in the White House. “The answer is, at the end of the day, you’ve got to go through the rigors, and people will look at everything. But, for me, the most important thing about being president is you have leadership skills, you know what you’re doing and you can help fix this country and raise this country. Those are the qualifications that matter to me.”
Carson’s comments came amid lingering fallout over Republican Donald Trump’s refusal last week to take issue with a man during a campaign event who wrongly called President Barack Obama a Muslim and said Muslims are “a problem in this country.”
Also speaking on NBC on Sunday, Trump said that a Muslim in the White House is “something that could happen… Some people have said it already happened, frankly.
“This is the year 2015,” Sanders told NBC News while talking with reporters after celebrating a campaign field office opening in Portsmouth.
“For a long, long time in the history of America, there were people who would say, ‘you know, we don’t want a Catholic to be president of the United States.’ And then John F. Kennedy became president in 1960,” Sanders said. “And then people said, ‘oh, we don’t want a black guy, African-American to be president of the United States,’ and then finally Barack Obama became president of the United States.”
He continued, “Look, you judge candidates for president not on their religion, not on the color of their skin, but on their ideas on what they stand for. That’s what democracy is supposed to be about. So I was very disappointed in Dr. Carson’s statement and I disagree with him.”