Welcome to RelPol, a student peer reviewed online magazine. This magazine is part of the assessment for the module "In God We Trust" @ the University of Hull.
This article is written by Nicole Hemmer, talking about the statement which stated by Ben Carson – a neurosurgeon, what he thinks about the importance of the faith of a president candidate. First of all, Be Carson talking about his purpose as a president that he does not accept a president who is believe in Muslim to be in charge of nation, he thinks that as an America president candidate, he should have to reject the tenets of Islam. And in the article, there have a research in Recent Rasmussen poll about the voters, there has 51 percent of respondents said they would not be willing to vote for a Muslim president.
In the article, there using Kennedy as an example. John F. Kennedy is a Roman Catholic for when the religion has some contradiction with the mainstream of the country. In the process of the election, his religion did make some controversy. People using Catholicism as a cudgel (means) to attack Kennedy. And using unfit of office as a reason objecting him. And the article has a statement said “it is inconceivable that Roman Catholic president would not be under extreme pressure by the hierarchy of his church to accede to its policies with respect to foreign relation matters, including representation to the Vatican”. And at that time (during the prior to the 1960s), most of the Americans believed that Catholicism and democracy is totally incompatible. In a country which freedom is the mainstream, when they think Catholicism is incompatible with democracy, there is not acceptable.
When people considering about this, there have 150 protestant ministers to discuss about the possibility of Catholic in the election. And point out that, even a candidate believed in Catholicism, the conditions which need to concern are the honest, patriotic and the public-spirited. And if a candidate has these condition, no matter which faith they are, they also fit in the office. Never the less, they also said Kennedy world be fit for office only if he demonstrates his independence of clerical control.
Moreover, after Kennedy became the president of America. At that time, Kennedy did discuss about his idea on Catholicism in the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. He describes himself as “the Democratic Party’s candidate for president in the supreme court. It’s made Catholic gradually become the mainstream of religion in America and there has six of nine justices are Catholic in that period.
At this situation made a sneaking suspicion, to reflect electorate can be easily duped and the system are lack and easy to flimsy, that can be collapse by one person.
But, do religion is an important condition on a president?
A person has a healthy religion, others might have an intellectual rooted that will assume they might have a better personality, honest, following the norms and virtues. And base on the tenets of different religion, we can understand more about what they believe and what they are told to do. Like in Catholicism, like charity, be like the Jesus and comply with the Ten Commandments (the Decalogue).
But one thing we should know that, not all people who have a healthy religion should be a good person, and a good person might not have a faith.
Here in Carson cases, I think the reason of he are resisting Muslim to be in charge America is reasonable. Muslim is from Islam, means that the follower, the believer of Islam. In 2014 to 2015, we are easy to connect it to the I.S. (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). I.S.’s ideology is formed by Salafism, Salafi jihadism and Wahhabism. They plan some of terrorist attacks and repeatedly harming Americans form 2004. And they got listed to list of terrorist organizations by America. But maybe just resisting this religion because of they are intensely affecting Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
But After 1960s, the mainstream religion in America is Christian. So there easy to understand why they are resisting the minority faith.
Back to the article, I agree with Carson’s statement “that a person’s faith makes them unfit for office. Not only does it diminish people of other faiths, but it demonstrates shockingly little faith in America as well.”
A person who fit or unfit for office, it cannot just base on what religion is he or she believing in. Their personality we should not to be decided base on their faith, we cannot know their ability and personality base on their faith, or on their race and colour. Obama and Kennedy are the best example to describe this statement, a president in black and other is a Roman Catholic, and in the beginning we never think about they will come into the office. We can understand why Carson are worrying, but his statement is bit quote out of context and not that comprehensive.