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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

By Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

When Republican Ben Carson declared Muslims unfit to be president, he crossed a line that historians say no major White House hopeful has breached since the 1940s — openly expressing prejudice.

Carson is not the first to appeal to voter bias, but he broke with a timeworn tradition of using coded language to avert political backlash.

“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” Carson said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sept. 20. “I absolutely would not agree with that.”

Carson’s disparagement of Muslims came after months of derogatory remarks about women and Mexicans by rival Donald Trump, who nonetheless has remained the front-runner for the party nomination. Carson is in second place, some polls show.

Some Republican leaders, already worried about Trump’s insults, fear that Carson’s denigration of Muslims will further damage the party’s efforts to expand its base beyond older, conservative white voters.

Civil rights groups and some of Carson’s Republican rivals denounced the retired neurosurgeon, but he stands little risk of harm in the primaries. A 2013 survey by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that nearly two-thirds of white evangelical Protestants — a key group for Carson, a Seventh-day Adventist — believe Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence.

Historian Thomas S. Kidd, author of “American Christians and Islam,” said Carson was capitalizing on fear of Muslim terrorists. “But then to turn it into a blanket statement that Muslims in general can’t be full participants in the life of the republic — I do think that’s significant, and it’s alarming,” Kidd said.

Carson campaign manager Barry Bennett said the comments were justified because Islam calls for killing gay people (Muslim clerics say that’s untrue), and that’s incompatible with the Constitution (the Constitution says “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States”).

Bennett also said that Carson, as an African-American, “dramatically expands the appeal of the Republican Party.”

Carson later said on CNN that a Muslim would “have to reject the tenets of Islam” to be president.

Presidential candidates typically take pains to avoid showing religious bias. When Republican Mitt Romney, a Mormon, ran in 2008 and 2012, some evangelical Christians were hostile toward his faith. One of his 2008 opponents, Mike Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister, apologized to Romney for asking a reporter, “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?”

In 1960, Democrat John F. Kennedy, a Roman Catholic, had to reassure Protestants that he would not take orders from the pope. But his main opponents, Hubert Humphrey in the primaries and Republican Richard Nixon in the general election, avoided the topic.

“Humphrey certainly didn’t say anything like what Carson said,” Kennedy biographer Robert Dallek recalled. Nixon didn’t need to stoke doubts about Kennedy’s faith because “there were plenty of people who were doing it for him,” he said.

Since World War II, historians say, the most openly prejudiced presidential candidate was Strom Thurmond, whose racism was unvarnished when he ran in 1948 as an independent.

“There’s not enough troops in the Army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the nigra race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches,” the South Carolinian said.

Alabama Gov. George Wallace, then a Democrat, was nearly as direct in his 1963 inaugural speech, pledging “segregation today, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever.” But in his 1964 campaign for president, he was more guarded in appealing to whites outside the South at a time when many were uneasy about a new housing discrimination ban that would enable blacks to move into their neighborhoods.

“You may want to sell your house to someone with blue eyes and green teeth, and that’s all right,” he told a Maryland audience. “I don’t object. But you should not be forced to do it.”

After Romney’s loss in 2012, Republicans vowed to work harder to attract minority voters. The Republican National Committee released a scathing postmortem saying that “many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country.”

But Trump and Carson are benefiting from the uneasiness of many working-class whites as the nation becomes more diverse.
Their statements alarm strategist Henry Barbour, a co-author of the RNC report.

“When you say a Muslim’s not fit to be president of the United States, you’re a whole lot more than off message,” he said. “We need to stand on principle, but we don’t need to try to run folks off because they have different backgrounds than some traditional Republicans.”

Photo: U.S. Republican candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks during the Heritage Action for America presidential candidate forum in Greenville, South Carolina September 18, 2015. (REUTERS/Chris Keane)

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12 responses to “Carson’s Bias Against Muslims Breaks Unwritten Rule Of Using Veiled Language”

  1. FireBaron says:

    Carson probably still believes that the President is a Muslim. Now here is a question for those smarter than me. How can a member of the 7DA reconcile with the fact that he will probably be called to work on the Sabbath? This is one tenet of their denomination that they appear to be very strong about. Does he expect the world to shut down on Saturdays for his faith’s benefit?

  2. David says:

    Read the Koran (or maybe it’s the Quran). Those POS are directed to kill all of us infidels that won’t convert to worshipping their Allah and his pedophile messenger Mohammed. C

  3. pisces63 says:

    This coming from a man who says the people did not rush the gunman in Oregon and
    stop him. So did Christians preach this type of rhetoric against Jews and Muslims.
    The Catholic church against anyone plus protestants. Protestants against Catholics. Protestants and Catholics against lacks. Indians. Hawaiians. Compare the deaths to Islam. Christians lose by a long shot.
    They still preach intolerance and hatred. South Carolina ring a bell. No Muslim in sight.

    • David says:

      9 11? No Muslim in sight? The murderous scum were all over it! Let’s compare deaths to Islam. Okay, we don’t cut the heads off of non-Christians. They do! Maybe you should go live under their Sharia law and let us all find out how wonderful it is.

      • pisces63 says:

        We did, it was called jim crow in America. American version of sharia law. Lynchings. Burnings. Bombings. Beatings. OUR CHRISTIAN churches attacked BY Christians. Over 100 burned during the Clinton years. Burnings since South Carolina and I will write again, not a Muslim in sight.
        Check your history. They not only cut off their heads and those of Jews and orthodox Catholics but they ate of their flesh, also. Go learn history or
        shut up. I am sick and tired of listening to anti-Muslim rants when your house is full of crap and needs a good cleaning. Go look up the apology given to us by the Southern Baptists, the worse racists known to man.

        • David says:

          What planet are you living on? “Ate of their flesh..”? I didn’t read about any Baptists doing that in Little Rock. Can you provide some authority for your claim? Over 100 churches burned? Where?

          • pisces63 says:

            Since you do not read nor follow history, during Freedom summer 37 were burned. Montgomery. Vicksburg. Meridian. Birmingham had so many it was nick named bombingham.
            Today, the sites of many of the burned churches are continually desecrated with hate speeches carved on them. Burned
            crosses. Swastikas. Between January, 1995 and July 1996 over 70 were burned across the south. Since the south Carolina massacre, 6 have been burned. As for feeding on victims, this was during the crusades. There were no Baptists, so to speak. Get a clue and learn something about your religion. This is just a fraction what was done by white Christians and again, no Muslims in sight. In fact, it is a historical fact that white Christians here, in America have committed more hate crimes in the 20th century, alone, than all Islamic terrorists acts combined. I am a Christian Baptist but I have no delusions about Christianity. I have always said, God made a wonderful thing, religion but erred when he allowed man to get his hands on it.

          • David says:

            Not true. I do know my history. Apparently, you don’t. From Dec 1995 to Jun 96, 22 churches were burned. Not over 100 and not over 70. Of the burned churches, 8 resulted in arrest and 10 were deemed accidental. CNNNews.org
            16 of the 44 people arrested were black. The swastika which was painted was done by a black soldier. boogieonline.com
            More hate crimes? Tell that to the Armenians about what the muslim Turks did to them.
            If you are indeed a Christian, thank our merciful God that He is in control.

          • pisces63 says:

            You right wingers love to lie don’t you. My numbers are right and your bigoted ones are wrong. Get real, I know my history. At 66 I followed them all since I was 14 and after a white teacher called me the n word. Lie on someone else, not us.
            Probably from bigoted Faux news. They and newsmax lie all the time. Their minions fall for it. I can tell you anything you want about the Ottoman Empire. I can also tell you during the first crusades, the travelers sacked Constantinople(Turkey), not Muslims until later, 15th century I believe. They
            murdered and pillaged a Christian city. The Ottoman Turks also, when they captured these Christian cities which is still felt in eastern Europe, or whoever they conquered, made one of the greatest fighting armies, the Janissaries. Stalin did it to his people. China. The Shah of Iran after Americans kicked out a democratically elected leader in 1956 and ignored the
            heinous crimes committed against his people for OIL!!

          • David says:

            My “bigoted” numbers are wrong? Tell that to CNN not Fox. By the way, if they are wrong, what is your authority for the numbers you spout?
            What have you followed since turning 66? I had nothing to do with one of your teachers calling you a n..ger. Maybe one of your rap stars will call you one next.
            What is the rest of your rant about? You think Muslimes are more humane than Christians? Please, feel free to go live in a Muslime governed country.

          • pisces63 says:

            Not
            CNN. I follow in real time and always
            have and NO I do not think they are more humane. What I am saying is what God said about the
            mote and beam in the eye. NEITHER should
            be proud of themselves. God gave man a
            religion and he has taken it, after the Jews that is, and basically destroyed it
            to MAKE people adhere to a skewed belief.
            Three religions were born through Abraham. Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Yet, the last two do everything in their power
            to destroy rather than unite in God and love.
            Christianity was born in blood and still lives down to that
            specificity. No one said you called me
            that but one of YOU did. I was a 6th
            grader. You don’t think that has a
            lasting impression on a child born in a loving, Christian home who did not even
            know there was supposed to be a difference.
            Really. I follow no news
            outlet. CNN. MSNBC, nothing. I do Watch CNN for major news like the
            shootings or other major problems my local news gives about 2 minutes to. NPR, Diane Rehm are my go to for informed
            opinions. We did live in one under Jim
            crow!! MY children are the first in my
            family who were born after that time.

          • David says:

            Muslimes follow their Koran which instructs them to kill any infidel that won’t convert. My God says the number one rule is to ‘love your God with all your heart, your mind, your soul and your strength’. The second is as important as the first, ‘love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ Have a blessed day.

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