Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon running for president, recently suggested that a Muslim president would not be a good idea. Does this make him a bigot?
Rupert Nacoste, psychology professor at North Carolina State University thinks so. Says Nacoste:
Verbal expression of resistance to an American President being a Catholic was religious bigotry. The same goes for expressions about an American Muslim. Dr. Ben Carson was an outstanding, groundbreaking, neurosurgeon. He is not outstanding as a political leader. In public, Dr. Carson firmly said no American Muslim should ever be “…allowed” to be President. Anyone running for President should know that the U.S. Constitution states that “…no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” [Dr. Rupert Nacoste, Ph.D., psychology professor at North Carolina State University, writing at psychologytoday.com 9-29-15]
Let’s review what Carson actually said:
“I said anybody, doesn’t matter what their religious background, if they accept American values and principles and are willing to subjugate their religious beliefs to our Constitution, I have no problem with them,” Carson told [the ABC News interviewer].
“What we should be talking about is Islam, and the tenets of Islam, and where do they come from?” Carson said. “They come from Shariah. They come from the Quran. They come from, you know, the life works and examples of Muhammad [hadith]. They come from the fatwas, which is the writings of scholars.” [ABC News “This Week” 9-27-15]
Nacoste and others who reflexively call Carson a bigot ignore the crucial distinction. Bigots judge peoples’ characters by their biological make-up. Carson is not harshly judging Muslims for their biological make-up; he’s harshly judging them for their ideology, and their destructive behavior in pursuit of that ideology.
Catholicism, whatever you think of it, did not openly support merging church and state when John F. Kennedy ran for President. The Catholic Church, at that time, was not engaged in self-proclaimed “holy war” against the United States. The Church did not sanction blowing up bars, running airplanes into office buildings and government facilities in the name of Catholicism, and there were not openly encouraged rallies of “death to America” held daily in the Vatican.
There had been no equivalent of 9/11 orchestrated in the name of Catholicism 15 years before Kennedy ran for President; had there been such an event, the Pope and the Catholic Church would have enjoyed every conceivable opportunity to distance themselves from such an attack, and conscientious “moderate” Catholics would have enjoyed every conceivable opportunity to march in the streets and otherwise pressure the Pope to distance himself from such monstrous actions. With Islam, the equivalent has yet to happen, and we all know it’s not going to happen.
I am no apologist for the Catholic Church or the Pope. I have no use for the present Pope’s socialism and opposition to homosexuality and abortion. If a presidential candidate were running today on “Pope Francis’ platform,” I would oppose everything about such a candidate. Socialism mixed with government-enforced social conservatism? I could not imagine a bigger nightmare — except for a pro-Sharia Law Islamic president, which would be even worse. Does that make me an anti-Catholic bigot? No. I’m just against Catholic ideology (particularly as represented by Pope Francis), just like I’m against Islamic ideology.
It’s amazing. When you hold a dissenting or contrary viewpoint in some context, someone who disagrees with you will call you a “bigot,” and that’s supposed to end all conversation or discussion.
How much confidence does the name-caller have in his or her viewpoint to depend on emotionally intimidating labels to replace persuasive arguments?
It’s the same with calling Dr. Ben Carson a bigot merely because he expresses strong disagreement with Islam.
This psychology professor in North Carolina shows a shocking ignorance of the power of ideas. He acts as if Islam is nothing more than an accident of birth or biology, rather than a potent and dangerous ideology now having more influence in the world than ever before. He speaks as if ideas have no consequences, and it does not matter whether a Muslim believes in freedom and separation of church and state, or Sharia Law. His premise is simply, “How dare you question Islam — what are you, a bigot?”
This sort of sneering, anti-intellectual and irrelevant non-argumentation probably holds sway in academia. But in the real world of beheadings, downed skyscrapers, raped and abused women, hanging homosexuals and anti-materialistic religious fanaticism, we enjoy no such luxury of self-conscious, self-congratulatory and downright toxic “tolerance.”
The real bigots and haters are those in the ideological Islamic movement so many in academia and the social sciences are quick to defend.
Islam is guilty of bigotry; not those who question or oppose it.
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