Must we Tip-Toe around the Important Things?
By: Brian Sikma
On Tuesday, March 11th voters in Indiana’s 7th Congressional District will go to the polls in a special election to replace the late Congresswoman Julia Carson. The candidates set before them are Andre Carson (D), Jon Elrod (R) and Sean Shepard (L). For the past few weeks we’ve seen articles and heard news stories about this or that fact of the life histories of Mr. Carson and Mr. Elrod. The public is well aware of the general political affiliations of these two candidates and hopefully possesses some vague knowledge of where they stand one at least one or two issues.
There are similarities between the two major candidates; similarities that cause me to dislike both of them. However, on one very important issue one candidate in particular has adopted a disturbing stance. Andre Carson, a Muslim, has called for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. In this time of great debate about America’s role in the world and specifically our role in defeating Islamic terrorists, it is utterly vital that individuals who, well meaning though they may be, push for a policy that would be a catastrophe for our national security are not sent to Washington to vote on critical pieces of legislation that impact our future.
Yet beyond perhaps a mention or two of this “out of Iraq” stance on the part of Mr. Carson, the mainstream media has failed to carefully touch on a very important underlying issue: Mr. Carson’s Islamic faith. It should not be assumed that Mr. Carson’s Muslim beliefs automatically tie him to those evil thugs who, in the name of their Islamic faith, engage in atrocities and periodically seek to force their brand of faith on anyone, anywhere.
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Conversely, though we should not make incorrect and unfair assumptions about Mr. Carson, we should give him an opportunity to answer some very pointed and very key questions about his Islamic beliefs. Significant percentages of Islamic populations around the world adhere to beliefs that are incompatible with freedom and we should have no qualms about seeking to obtain declarations from any candidate about where he or she stands in regard to those ideas.
There seems to have arisen around this race the idea that candidate Carson’s Islamic faith should not be talked about and should definitely not be questioned. At times the light has broken through in a few blog posts or a radio show but overall the approach as been one of silence.
Our founding father’s were quite wise when they included a prohibition against religious tests for public office in the Constitution. It is never right for the government to force any particular religious beliefs upon an individual. However, it is quite all right for citizens to carefully examine the religious beliefs of those who voluntarily run for public office. Contrary to what seems to be the persuasion of some, one’s religion plays a very important role in determining his or her view of government and government policy and it is important that we clarify that a candidate’s religious beliefs are not contrary to the principles of liberty. We should not demand absolute agreement from candidates on religious issues, but we should demand that they adhere to and respect our institutions of freedom.
Andre Carson needs to be given the opportunity to publicly distance himself from those Muslims who seek to destroy our country, our allies and our freedom. Voters deserve to know where their prospective congressman stands on issues like America’s continued military engagement with Islamic terrorists (not just Iraq), the position of Sharia law in relation U.S. law, religious liberty, and on the list could go.
A second issue being tip-toed around is Carson’s ties to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or “CAIR” for short. The Muslim Link ran an article on Feb. 29th about a fundraiser held for Carson at CAIR’s Washington, D.C. office. Numerous people of influence and importance within the CAIR network came and donated what appear to be substantial sums of money to Carson’s campaign.
There is nothing wrong with a candidate raising money from fellow religious believers, but attending a CAIR hosted fundraiser and accepting CAIR’s support raises serious questions about Carson’s judgment. CAIR is an organization that periodically finds itself advocating on the wrong side of whatever issue is on the table. When a group of Imams were arrested after acting suspiciously at an airport and taking up seats in the same pattern as the 9/11 hijackers, it was CAIR who came to their defense. When Congress started investigating CAIR’s suspicious ties to terrorist front groups masquerading as charities, they offered CAIR the opportunity to deny the mounting terror charges under oath. CAIR refused to deny the charges under oath.
Before 9/11 Omar Ahmad, the founder of CAIR, declared “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Quran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.” Various CAIR employees have been convicted on federal charges relating to terrorism.
The fact that a candidate who wishes to be a member of the United States Congress, a body charged with passing laws protecting the American people and funding the agencies and armed forces that keep us safe, accepts the support of an organization with such suspicious ties, is indicative of his lack of judgment at best and at worst his lack of concern for the office he is seeking and the duties that it involves.