It has been quite an eventful few days for presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson. The retired neurosurgeon went on Meet the Press Sunday, where he was asked if the nation was ready for a Muslim president. Carson responded,
I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.
Almost immediately after the interview, he was under intense scrutiny everywhere from media outlets to internet comments sections to dinner tables. His campaign set to work on Monday defending Carson; Doug Watts, Carson's spokesperson said:
He [Carson] just doesn’t believe the American people are ready for that. Dr. Carson is a strict adherent to the First Amendment — freedom of religion. That includes people of all faith. He has great respect for the Muslim community, but there is a huge gulf between the faith and practice of the Muslim faith, and our Constitution and American values.
On a Facebook post later that day, Carson posted he would not support a Muslim presidential candidate who had not renounced Sharia Law:
I know that there are many peaceful Muslims who do not adhere to these beliefs. But until these tenants are fully renounced…I cannot advocate any Muslim candidate for President.
Which brings us to today, Tuesday, where Carson appeared in Sharonville, a suburb of Cincinnati. The Muslim comments, obviously still a hot topic, drew mixed responses from observers. Karen Dabdoub, executive director of the Cincinnati chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said:
That would be like saying that if a Catholic wants to run for president he needs to renounce canon law or the Vatican, or like saying if a Jew wants to run for president he needs to renounce Jewish law. He’s very misinformed as to what Islamic religion teaches and what Sharia law is all about. He’s basing his comments off of ignorance, so the resulting comments are also ignorant.
Two people in attendance countered with their own thoughts, in support of Dr. Carson: "He's honest and doesn't care what people say," said Donna Brooks.
Dan Wilcox offered up, "Catholics and Christians use religion for guidance, Muslims use it for obedience."
Carson spoke for about an hour before opening the floor to questions from those who came to support him. From there, he did a phone interview with 700 WLW's Bill Cunningham.
The controversy is the only major blemish in these early stages of attempting to gain the Republican spot in the upcoming presidential race. Carson is in either second or third position, depending on which polls you choose.
All of this goes back to this past week in which a Donald Trump rally had an overzealous supporter make critical comments about Muslims. If Donald Trump says or has something happen to him, all other Republican candidates are subjected to questions surrounding it.
A man of Dr. Carson's intelligence should have handled the question much better; moving forward, he must do better if he hopes to overtake the Donald in the polls.Dr. Carson's segment from Meet the Press is below.