Here's my latest newspaper column:
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? 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 Affordable Care 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. “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, as did Barry Goldwater, the founder of what was once considered, unironically, “modern conservatism."
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. (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.
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 before I’d vote once for Carson, who, emulating Palinesque down-dumbing, sneers at those “highfalutin scientists.” I would, that is, if it weren’t unconstitutional.[Image source]