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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.

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This post was tagged under: Elections, Faith, General Politics, National Security, Opinion

0 Responses to “Must we Tip-Toe around the Important Things?”

  1. Chris Douglas says:

    Brian, I think a discussion of Carson’s faith is completely irrelevant.

    Why should we pull out of Iraq and when? That’s relevant. What are your views on government services, fiscal policy, social security, and welfare? That’s relevant. Which of your religion’s various tenets you agree or disagree with? Irrelevant.

    Accepting support from an organization with terrorist ties? If true, that’s relevant, and requires no discussion of what the candidate’s religious views are.

    Brian, were you to run for office, I wouldn’t ask or care about which of Christianity’s many often conflicting beliefs, some of them held by as extremist or crackpot crazies as any Muslim belief, you choose to embrace. All I care about is what policies you are going to pursue in office. And to ask that question does not necessitate asking a single question about your religious views.

  2. Joel Harris says:

    What if he was a fundamentalist Baptist who thinks that Israel is the key to the return of Christ?

  3. Though I don’t believe that Carson’s religious faith should be an issue (unlike some bloggers not affiliated with this site), I do think that the fundamentalist Baptist perspective of Israel has been an extreme detriment to our national security policy. But that’s b/c Presbyterians (specifically Reformed Presbyterians like myself) have a different view of the “end times” than Fundamentalist Baptists do.

    Doesn’t mean I’d vote against a Fundy Baptist b/c of that.

  4. Chris Douglas says:

    Joel, what is motivating the policy doesn’t much matter to me, especially if it requires delving into their religious beliefs.

    A policy can and should stand or fall on its own merits. If a candidate’s religious views parallel the merits of good policy, I have no objection but don’t really need to know it. If the candidate’s religious views conflict with good policy, I also don’t need to know what his or her religious views are. What I want to know is what is the policy being pursued and what are its merits exclusive of religious considerations.

    It’s like asking why a gunman killed 30 people in a high school. If his policy is to kill 30 people in a high school, I don’t care why. Or a asking why a student volunteers to serve 30 home-bound elderly. If his or her policy is to serve 30 home-bound elderly, I don’t care why.

    Religion CAN serve as an explanation of why a policy is being pursued clearly in conflict with a policy that would do better on it own merits. But a religious explanation, even if helpful to our own understanding of the candidate, is not necessary.

    End-times ideology is an explanation for why some Fundamentalist Baptists support a policy on Israel that is often contrary to the long term interests of peace of both Israel and of the U.S. I wouldn’t oppose a Fundamentalist Baptist who supported a more effective policy in the Mideast.

    To quote Milton, the author of Paradise lost:

    “Both commonwealth and religion will at length, if ever, flourish in Christendom, when either they who govern discern between civil and religious, or they only who so discern shall be admitted to govern.”

  5. Bil Browning says:

    >>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.

    Oh, Brian. Why do I even bother to read your posts? Did you miss the big article in the Star that was about Carson’s Muslim faith? You mention Gary’s constant barrage of “If you vote for Carson the terrorists win!” and radio shows. So that gives us the blogs, the newspaper of record and radio. The only thing left is TV news – but they covered it the day the Star article came out.

    So which “mainstream media” is missing? The one that says “He’ll blow up the Capital?” Look for that one at WingNutDaily…

    *geez*

    Investigate a little before you spout off, please.

  6. It’s the ties to CAIR and the Nation of Islam (yes, I know he is not a member, but recall that he didn’t object to Louis Farrakhan speaking at his grandmother’s funeral) that are of interest, and I don’t see where Andre has addressed those ties to my satisfaction.

    Maybe Bill could clue us in on that.

  7. FWIW, just to expand on my previous comment, I don’t give a particular damn what your religion is, but with whom you associate is definitely of interest. There’s this little thing called “the appearance of impropriety”. Perhaps you should google it.

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