Dissecting Ben Carson’s take on Constitution

You know what they say: Running for president isn’t brain surgery. And now a renowned neurosurgeon is demonstrating that getting through medical school must not be, either. (I made it, after all.) But how is it that he, plus every Republican doctor in Congress, manages to be so uninformed about science, and so much else (Mother Jones: tinyurl.com/yersm3d)? And yet I’d bet they’ve all prescribed antibiotics. Rote learning gets a bad rap, evidently.

Ben “Let’s end divisiveness” Carson made his tea party bones when he called the Affordable Care Act the worst thing since slavery. Upping his “let’s be nice” ante, he compared homosexuality to bestiality; then, approaching apogee, come-together-wise, diagnosed President Obama as a psychopath, later confirming he meant it literally. Taking tea to the boil, he fears cancelled elections, considers evolution a plot foisted on Charles Darwin by Satan, and calls the big bang a fairly tale (Bad Astronomy: tinyurl.com/ns46syf). “Political correctness,” his new favorite term, is how he deflects criticism. That’s some mighty fine undivisiveness right there.

But he was just getting warmed up. Admired for dismissing prejudice as an excuse, Dr. Carson demonstrated what he meant by stating he wouldn’t want a Muslim president. Islam, he says, is inconsistent with the Constitution, and for once, he’s right. Because in America the same applies to all religions, especially the version of Christianity embraced by most Republican contenders, including Carson and Holy Mike Huckabee, who has revealed that God’s law takes precedence over our constitution. Specifically, he preaches ignoring decisions of the Supreme Court when they’re not “right,” where, presumably, “right” is defined by any person’s particular choice of the various interpretations of the various translations of various versions of the Bible. As a Christian it’s your call when the Constitution applies, sermonizes Messianic Mike. That’s about as incompatible as it gets. I assume he’d leave out the “preserve, protect and defend” part of the presidential oath.

Kindly Doc Carson speaks of respecting the law, declaring Islamic constitutional incompatibility, while ignoring Article Six, which proscribes religious tests for office. But, again, he’s right, if unintentionally. Any religion becomes incompatible with the presidency when it’s pumped from the heart to the body politic. When Carson proposes replacing the tax code with the Bible, there’s a compatibility problem. When he claims this is a “Judeo-Christian nation,” there’s a compatibility problem even though most of his party followers agree with him. Even Saint Ronnie understood the wrongness of such thinking (YouTube: tinyurl.com/p5duvp8), as did Barry Goldwater, the founder of what was once considered, unironically, “modern conservatism” (Tom Paine’s Clubhouse: tinyurl.com/o4cuy5t). Nowadays if you don’t blast your Christianity like a bazooka, forget about the Republican nomination. Donald Trump, not entirely dumb, has begun lugging around a Bible after letting it slip that he’s never sought God’s forgiveness (Charisma: tinyurl.com/oaprfv5). (There’s a Jewish contender for the Democratic nomination; he doesn’t honk that Shofar, though, because he considers it, as he should, irrelevant. Not so those other guys, testifying nonstop, to the delight of their enraptured voters.)

Is stoning your disobedient son compatible with the Constitution? Do “war presidents” follow Jesus’ call to turn the other cheek? How many Republican candidates subscribe to His views on charity? In a rare Biblical reference to Christian government, Acts 2:44-45 bespeaks communism, not capitalism.

There’s one Muslim in Congress. Far as I know, he’s never offered a bill based on Sharia law, while Christian legislators who’ve proposed Bible-based legislation are legion, and not just in Congress. A city council in Arizona wants only Christian prayer at their meetings. Several red states have proposed making the Bible their state book. Constitutional incompatibility? Not to “values voters,” who, when it comes to their — and only their — religion, consider the document irrelevant. (Reuters: tinyurl.com/nv6r4zs)

People who don’t understand how separation of church and state protects both won’t change. Most Republicans consider this exclusively a Christian nation while, for religious reasons, rejecting the science of climate change, evolution, sexual orientation and more. The thought of a president with a mind closed that tight, Christian or otherwise, scares me to death; I’d vote a hundred times for Kareem Abdul Jabbar (Fox Business: tinyurl.com/pez7ltn) before I’d vote once for Carson, who, emulating Palinesque down-dumbing, sneers at those “highfalutin scientists.” (The New York: tinyurl.com/pq6cmug) I would, that is, if it weren’t unconstitutional.

Email Sid Schwab at columnsid@gmail.com.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Opinion

Editorial cartoons for Monday, March 4

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste, center, greets a new trooper during a graduation ceremony, as Gov. Jay Inslee looks on in the Rotunda at the Capitol Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, in Olympia, Wash. The class of 31 troopers completed more than 1,000 hours of training and will now work for the WSP across the state. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Editorial: Lawmakers miss good shot for fewer traffic deaths

Legislation to lower the blood alcohol limit for drivers didn’t get floor debate and vote in Senate.

Comment: GOP’s primaries using bad math to assign delegates

If you think delegates are assigned proportionately, based on votes, take a closer look at the math.

Comment: ‘Just keep working’ isn’t a just retirement solution

A ‘Gray New Deal’ would improve jobs for older workers and restore and boost retirement security.

Having headlights on during day isn’t safe for some

I read a recent article in The Herald about cars having headlights… Continue reading

Replace Snake River dams to save salmon, orcas

Could a new Biden administration plan help save our iconic Southern Resident… Continue reading

Let states handle all immigration needs

OK, here we go again. Southern states have been screaming “state’s rights”… Continue reading

Harrop: Give Alabama credit for logical honesty regarding IVF

If life begins at conception, then frozen embryos are babies. It’s biologically false, but it’s consistent.

Saunders: Why is a once-trusted FBI informant now deemed a liar?

And why the extra effort to keep a non-violent suspect behind bars? It’s in Hunter Biden’s best interests.

Eco-nomics: Preparing for, limiting climate crisis demands a plan

Fortunately, local governments are developing and updating climate action plans to outline necessary steps.

A model of a statue of Billy Frank Jr., the Nisqually tribal fishing rights activist, is on display in the lobby of the lieutenant governor's office in the state Capitol. (Jon Bauer / The Herald.
Editorial: Two works in progress to save Columbia Basin salmon

Sculptures of an Indian fishing rights activist will guard commitments to save salmon and honor treaties.

FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2015 file photo, a tanker airplane drops fire retardant on a wildfire burning near Twisp, Wash. Three firefighters were killed battling the blaze. The story was a top Washington state news item in 2015. Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz has proposed a plan to strengthen the ways that Washington can prevent and respond to wildfires. Franz released the 10-year plan last week as part of her $55 million budget request to the Legislature to improve the state's firefighting abilities (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Editorial: Wildfire threat calls for restoring full funding

Lawmakers should restore funding for fighting wildfires and call on one furry firefighter in particular.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.