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Friday, September 25, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker exited the race on Monday, having come to the conclusion that he was wasting everyone's time and his donors' money.

For a while, though, it was Ben Carson who was on the ropes and several Muslim organizations were demanding his exit. Even Texas Sen. Ted Cruz got a few good licks in on Carson.

For those of you who missed the kerfluffle — or who don't pay attention to politics — here's how it went down: Carson was on Meet the Press on Sunday, where he declared that a Muslim does not belong in the White House, calling Islam "inconsistent with the values of America" and saying some Muslim beliefs are in direct opposition of the Constitution.

“Muslims feel their religion is very much a part of your public life and what you do as a public official, and that’s inconsistent with our principles and our Constitution," Carson said.

Reminds me of a certain county clerk in Kentucky who's getting high fives from some GOP candidates for putting her Christianity above her job.

There was a time in our country when people were afraid of a Catholic being elected president. They worried that John F. Kennedy's religion would not play well with his duties as president. Now, Catholics are fine. Well, unless you're the Pope. But that's another matter altogether.

I have a feeling that Ben Carson may not have read the Bible. Or maybe he's not Christian. Or something. Because the Bible makes it pretty clear that God's law supersedes that of any government. Kind of like that lady in Kentucky keeps telling everyone.

That would mean that if Muslims are exempt from running for the presidency, Christians should be as well. And Jews. Probably Hindus. And just about any other organized (or disorganized as the case often is) religion.

Oddly enough, most elected officials in the United States swear an oath on the Bible that they will uphold the Constitution and any laws in whatever jurisdiction they're serving in. This despite the Constitutional ban on the establishment of a state-sponsored religion.

Odder still, the book that they're swearing on directly opposes many laws that they're swearing to uphold. It's like taking a blood oath that you'll never cut your thumb. It's wholly illogical.

And yet, Ben Carson — and 99.99 percent of politicians, I would imagine — has no perceived problem with Christians running for office. Just Muslims.

While I disagree with Carson's position, I equally disagree with those demanding he get out of the race for having said position. Every candidate has positions people disagree with them on. If they want to remove him from the race, the proper way to do it is at the ballot box.

Worth noting: Ben Carson's poll numbers are up since making the statement. Two national polls released this week show him a solid second in the GOP race at either 18 or 17 percent, depending on the poll. Donald Trump, whose religion is money, still leads the pack.

+Scott Leffler avoids talking about politics and religion at the dinner table. But he thoroughly enjoys it in his column. Tweet him at @scottleffler or email him at

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