Ben Carson recently blathered on about how he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”
It’s true that while the Constitution prohibits religious tests for office, it certainly doesn’t prohibit voters from using best-judgment in selecting whom to vote for. Nonetheless, the writings of the Founders (Thomas Jefferson and George Washington included) are filled with discussions which use Muslims explicitly in their arguments about religious liberty; in other words, the Founders wanted to make clear that they weren’t talking ONLY about Protestant Christians or ONLY about Christians when they talked about freedom of religion. They made it clear that their conception of religious liberty extended even to the “infidel” (i.e., the atheist) and the “Musselman” (Muslim).
And this conception of universal religious liberty was not limited to the nineteenth century. Here’s what the great Teddy Roosevelt (a Republican) had to say 100 years ago about singling out people because of their religion: “One of the most important things to secure for [the citizen] is the right to hold and to express the religious views that best meet his own soul needs. Any political movement directed against any body of our fellow citizens because of their religious creed is a grave offense against American principles and American institutions. It is a wicked thing either to support or to oppose a man because of the creed he professes. This applies to Jew and Gentile, to Catholic and Protestant, and to the man who would be regarded as unorthodox by all of them…”
So, f*ck you, Ben Carson. The sooner you go back to sleep the better.
[Originally posted on Facebook.]