Politicians aren’t supposed to say what’s really on their mind. People are annoyed by the carefully worded statements of career politicians. Many claim they want something more genuine and real. Yet, if we have no grace for honesty that we disagree with, can we blame politicians for their lawyer language?
I like honesty. No, not that of a nasty, intentionally inflammatory or unnecessarily disrespectful kind either. I like honesty that doesn’t take into account political expediency. Honesty like when Ben Carson said he “would not advocate” for a hypothetical Muslim candidate that did not support the US Constitution and whose faith was inconsistent with American values.
Of course this became an opportunity to label Carson as a bigot and Islamophobe. Both Republican and Democrat competitors alike condemned his honesty and some (ironically) think this disqualifies him to run for President. Carson’s political adversaries delight in taking his comments out of context and yet many should agree with him if they were honest.
As another blogger has pointed out already, many moderate Muslims would not vote (or advocate for) a Muslim candidate who supported the brutal application of Shari’a law. I am doubtful, very doubtful, that most of those lambasting the conservative physician would advocate for the oppression of women or death penalty for homosexuality.
In fairness to my Muslim friends, interpretations of the Qur’an do vary and the brand of Islam fueling terrorism represents them about as much as Westboro Baptist represents the mainstream of Christianity. It would’ve been helpful had Carson been more specific about what kind of Muslim he would not advocate for rather than leave that to interpretation.
However, if it is not bigoted or Christo-phobic to tell Kim Davis to step down or advocate against candidates who want Creationism taught, why is what Carson actually said so inexcusably wrong?
I, as a Christian, would not advocate for a Christian who believes that the law of Moses should be enforced by the government. There are some Bible-believing people who are convinced that both the Old and New Testament should be considered equally, their theological perspective is called Theonomy, and I would not advocate for their political ambitions. Am I an anti-religious bigot?
Do I need to advocate for the Pope to escape an accusation of being an anti-Catholic bigot?
Is hate for Mormons the reason some refused to vote for Mitt Romney’s conservative (religiously influenced) values?
Is it wrong that an atheist believer in gun control to say they would not support a Christian NRA member?
No, no, and no, who we advocate for or against is our own choice, we are free to our own opinions and there’s nothing wrong with being honest about what we believe. Sure, it might not be the smart political move to say everything we think out loud. But, for all you who complain about dishonest politicians, maybe we should stop punishing the decent and honest ones?
This outrage over Carson’s comments seems more than a little bit disingenuous and is logically inconsistent at very least. He didn’t say Muslims should not be permitted to run for political office. He didn’t say they should be stopped from voting their conscience. What he said is he would not advocate for a Muslim of a particular interpretation of that religion.
In conclusion, I would take Ben Carson over a man or woman who lies and says what people want to hear. I don’t agree with him in all areas, yet I do know where he stands and that’s refreshing. I am doubtful that many Americans (including Muslims) disagree with his actual stance.