If Americans decide not to vote for a Muslim for president because of the obvious incompatibility of Islam with the Constitution, they have every right to do so. They can apply whatever religious test they want to.
Ben Carson has taken an enormous amount of heat from the low-information media and low-information Republicans regarding his assertion that he would not under any circumstances support the idea of a Muslim serving as president of the United States. He told Chuck Todd of NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday: “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”
Carson compounded his problem in the eyes of the self-appointed cultural elites by doubling down when pressed. He told Fox News’ Sean Hannity: “We don’t put people at the head of our country whose faith might interfere with them carrying out the duties of the Constitution.”
And of course, Dr. Carson is right. Islamic law flatly rejects every unalienable right enshrined in the First Amendment. Under Sharia law, there is no freedom of religion, no freedom of speech, no freedom of the press, no freedom of assembly, and no right to petition the government for the redress of grievances. A Muslim president who was devout in his faith would represent a threat to every fundamental civil liberty that we cherish.
A pro-jihadist group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), was predictably outraged. “Mr. Carson clearly does not understand or care about the Constitution, which clearly states that ‘no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office,'” CAIR national executive director Nihad Awad said in a statement. “We call on our nation’s political leaders – across the political spectrum – to repudiate these unconstitutional and un-American statements and for Mr. Carson to withdraw from the presidential race.”
The complaint that somehow Dr. Carson has violated the prohibition in Article VI of the Constitution against the imposition of a religious test is the silliest and most unconstitutional complaint of them all.
Here’s how Article VI reads: “…no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
The first thing to observe here is that this is only a restriction on the federal government. It bans the federal government and the federal government only from requiring a candidate for public office to pass a religious test. In other words, only the federal government can violate Article VI. A candidate for public office couldn’t violate Article VI even if he tried. It’s not a restraint on candidates, it’s a restraint on the federal government.