Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson believes America’s president must embrace America’s values.
His campaign said that is the bottom line of comments that Carson made Sunday regarding Islam’s incompatibility with the Constitution, as well as his belief that America should not have a Muslim president.
“Dr. Carson is a strict adherent to the First Amendment — freedom of religion. That includes people of all faith,” said Carson campaign spokesman Doug Watts. “He has great respect for the Muslim community, but there is a huge gulf between the faith and practice of the Muslim faith, and our Constitution and American values.”
On NBC’s “Meet the Press”, Chuck Todd asked Dr. Carson, “Should a President’s faith matter?”
“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,” he explained.
When asked if he thought Islam is consistent with the Constitution, Carson 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,” Carson added.
Carson’s spokesman said the exchange made it clear Carson would not bar a Muslim from running.
“If there’s somebody who’s of any faith, but they say things, and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed, and bring peace and harmony, then I’m with them,” said Carson, who from the start of his campaign has made a clear link between his faith and the policies he would enact as president.
Vox commented, “This is the broader context for Carson’s remarks: many grassroots Republicans see Islam as not just suspicious but a clear and present danger to America, and think the media and the political establishment are too bound by political correctness to admit it — much less fight it.”
Carson has noted that religious toleration is a hallmark of his life.
“As a Christian, I am not the least bit offended by the beliefs of Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Mormons and so forth. In fact, I am delighted to know that they believe in something that is more likely to make them into a reasonable human being, as long as they don’t allow the religion to be distorted by those seeking power and wealth,” he wrote in his book America the Beautiful in 2012.
h/t: NBC News
BCN editor’s note: This article first appeared at Western Journalism.