Is Being Muslim Inconsistent with the Principles of the United States?

Is being Muslim inconsistent with the principles of the United States? There seems to be so much to discuss with regards to the 2016 Presidential Race, this time not about Donald Trump and his Trumpisms, but Republican, Dr. Ben Carson and his recent thoughts on a Muslim becoming President of the United States of America.

For those of you living under a rock, Ben Carson (Republican candidate) was asked by Fox News’ Sean Hannity if faith should matter to voters. This was his response:

If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter. But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the Constitution, no problem.

Ben Carson Fox News Interview Sept 20th 2015

On the face of it this seems to be a reasonable response as no country would want someone in office who did not have the interests of the people and principles of that country (the Constitution – in the case of the U.S.) at the core of why they are running or wish to lead. However, the last time I checked, this country is made up of all manner of religious beliefs and faiths, and under the constitutionally protected First Amendment, are you not free to practise any such religion as you choose? Therefore a President, in theory, could belong to any faith and have the right to do so and run the country?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

First Amendment of the United States

The next question Sean Hannity asked, and the one that has the webbage world in a wobble, was did he [Ben Carson] believe that Islam is consistent with the Constitution? The answer that Mr. Carson gave made something very clear – I think he may be confused as to what the Constitution entails …

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.

Ben Carson Fox News Interview Sept 20th 2015

The U.S. Constitution, Article VI very clearly states that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust … “  so I am pretty sure that becoming the President is covered by this. Maybe Ben Carson needs to check what it is he is principled about and wanting to uphold before he discounts an entire religious faith as unfit to do so.

He did later elaborate that it would be a Muslim who follows Islamic Law, citing the killing of homosexuals and anyone following other religions, and the subservience of woman as being inconsistent with the principles of the United States. While I would not advocate any of these tenets myself from anybody no matter what you believe in and practise, under the Constitution, you have the right to run for President even if you do.

I will not deny that the practises of killing people for their sexuality or alternate faith, the denial or restrictions placed on women in some countries and the various punishments meted out to people is something that I would never condone – but I am pretty sure that there are very few American Muslims who do follow these rules in this country.

Various groups have come out and asked for Ben Carson to step out of the Presidential race as his comments were unconstitutional, often citing Article VI, but I am curious as to what you think about the whole situation.

Do you think there is a misunderstanding about what being a Muslim in America means? Do you think Ben Carson has a valid point? Do you think what he said was un-Constitutional? Should anyone, of any faith, be denied the right to run or become President?

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6 thoughts on “Is Being Muslim Inconsistent with the Principles of the United States?

    • Molly @ The Move to America says:

      Does he not have to uphold the Constitution though, especially as a Presidential hopeful, and therefore someone who must do that for the nation if he were elected into office, and therefore advocate any person of any faith if they were to run and/or get to be President? Whatever views he, or anyone else has regarding Muslims (often misinformed I find as there seems to be some fear mongering about Sharia Law), he has to be able to stand with the Constitution. Punishments through Sharia Law is enforced to extremes in some countries (the ones cited as killing those of different faiths and homosexuality etc etc) but not in others. I am not aware of any American Mulim group or community who live by a separate law to the laws of this country and exist on their own terms – the Muslims who do go off and do atrocious things are not the norm here, and do not reflect the lives of the followers of their faith. American Muslims do live within the laws of this nation, they do uphold the ideals of this nation, they do reflect the principles of this nation, they are this nation – the individuals who behave against the American way of life are unlikely to be running for President nor be the voice of a faith group in its entirity. The idea that a President of the United States can only be Judeo-Christian because the nation was built on that faith is outdated, this country is made up of such a diverse range of people – faith, race, culture, social, sexuality, gender identity, economic etc. that no group should be discounted from persuing a politial career or path. Ben Carson has to reflect the Constitution otherwise why is he running?

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  1. Heather says:

    To say all of one particular group/religion/race/political party is “good” or all of one is “bad” is dangerous. Or even every aspect of one person is either all good or all bad. “American Muslims do live within the laws, they do uphold the ideals of this nation”, because you’ve met them all? I’m sure that most do, but all? The video link above would say otherwise (at least I hope it does, I might have been watching movie trailers and it might take you to one of those 😀) We all have one thing in common…we’re human. Fallible, wonderful, full of great potential and horrible atrocities. You seem to be a level headed, caring individual. Are you really going to say you think a whole nation of rational, thinking individuals think that only “Judeo-Christians can be President of the United States” ? I certainly don’t and I certainly don’t think Ben Carson has said that and I can’t think of one person in my community that thinks so either. My goodness, where are you getting your information? Or are you getting your opinion from fear. Are there some people that think that, more than likely. Are there some people that are afraid that might be what people think, sure but it doesn’t make it a universal truth. There are some people who wear tin foil upon their heads and think they talk to aliens. That doesn’t mean all of America does. There are 322 million people in the United States. That’s 322 million different ways to live a life and 322 million different opinions. I really enjoy your blog. Thanks for letting me glance into your individual opinions and thoughts. I just think it’s the generalizations that people make that scare me to death. You may live in a region that has lots of hate and anger but that doesn’t mean all of America does. Please, please don’t fall prey to everybody, nobody, always and never. It just isn’t true.

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    • Molly @ The Move to America says:

      I agree that saying one race/religion is all good or all bad is indeed dangerous, and no, I have not met every American Muslim in the entire nation, but the vast majority of them do live within the confines of the law here – like most groups of people, there will always be the few who don’t. That is why I said that there are some Muslims who go off and do atrocious things but that they are not the norm here. American Muslims do live within the laws of this nation but it is the few that don’t – like any other group of people.

      As for the Judeo-Christian point, this is simply something that has been mentioned numerous times. Ben Carson has said on a few occasions in interviews and rallies that America is a Judeo-Christian nation, built on Judeo-Christian tenets – and no, I do not think that all Americans believe that only a Judeo-Christian person can be President – I was referring in my comment to Ben Carson and his statement about a Muslim not being consistent with the Judeo-Christian tenets of this country – his point, not mine.

      I am not entirely sure what you think I am fearful of and I don’t live in an area filled with anger and hate – I am very curious about this election process, and I am very interested in what policies and points of views the various candidates have. Do I agree with all of them? No. Like you said very clearly, there are so many people here who have differing opinions and it is great to get to express my views as an outsider, of sorts, on how this process is conducted and the people within it. Ben Carson seems like a very nice chap, but he does seems to say things that do call for a discussion. If there is a common thread amongst his views then it is interesting to be able to look more closely at what he is saying and challenge some points.

      I am glad you enjoy reading my blog and appreciate your thoughts and input on this very interesting topic.

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  2. Heather says:

    Did I seriously do to you what I accused you of doing, generalization?! I’m so sorry, of course you don’t live in an area of hate and anger (I love Ohio!). I don’t even know why I wrote that. Thanks for not pointing that out and for your kind response.

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