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A Critical Examination of Ben Carson, Part 7 - Honesty & Constitutional Literacy

Ben CarsonThis is a continuation in my ongoing series to take a closer look at the views and positions of Ben Carson, in particular by looking at articles he's written. The index contains links to all of the entries in the series.

The article for today is A Plea For Constitutional Literacy On Constitution Day.

This article had some good points, but Carson turned me off right from the beginning by misrepresenting the interview he brought up in the opening paragraph. Here's what Carson wrote.

Earlier this summer, I managed to perplex, perhaps even offend, a famous TV interviewer when I declared I wanted a federal government that followed the U.S. Constitution. Seemingly aghast, the interviewer went so far as to suggest my position was a "highly charged thing to say."

Imagine that. A journalist who, owing to the Constitution, has the right to report freely and to speak freely, being uncomfortable to hear a fellow American swear allegiance to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers' vision of a limited central government.

Carson was referring to this interview with David Gregory on Press Pass, Dr. Ben Carson on PRESS Pass: 'I will never become a politician'. Carson implies that Gregory was "aghast" (which he wasn't - watch the interview) that someone would want to follow the Constitution. Although the wording's slightly ambiguous, Carson seems to be accusing Gregory of being "uncomfortable to hear a fellow American swear allegiance to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers' vision of a limited central government." What Gregory actually said was, "There are some people who say that. That's a very highly charged thing to say. Where is the Constitution not placed in the right level today?" Gregory was obviously not shocked at someone wanting to follow the Constitution, just calling attention to Carson's implication that the Constitution is no longer being followed.

And yes, I realize that practically everyone in politics lies or stretches the truth to some degree, so it's not as if Carson's misrepresentation here is especially out of the ordinary for a political figure, but it's still off-putting to catch someone in the lie (especially someone who tries to paint himself as being an outsider to politics who's above the normal politicking).

Just to say something related to Carson's main topic, I think the expression 'Physician, heal thyself', applies here. In a previous entry, A Response to Ben Carson's Comments on Navy Bible Kerfuffle, I quoted Carson on the following:

We must also go back and read the Constitution, including the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of religion. It says nothing about freedom from religion and, in fact, if you go back and look at the context and the lives of those involved in the crafting of our founding documents, it is quite apparent that they strongly believed in allowing their faith to guide their lives.

I wrote a longer rebuttal in that entry, but anybody who can read the Constitution where it says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." and not realize it means freedom from religion imposed by the government isn't making a very strong case for their own constitutional literacy.

Summary on RealBenCarson.com: A Plea For Constitutional Literacy On Constitution Day

Image Source: Christian Post, Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Continue to Part 8 - Torture

Added 2015-03-04: I just came across an article detailing another instance of Carson having less than stellar constitutional literacy, Forbes - Ben Carson's Odd Notion Of The Constitution And Same-Sex Marriage. This one describes how Carson thinks Congress has the power to overturn court rulings.

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