Ben Carson said some objectionable things yesterday about Muslims, but I thought this defense of his position was by far the strangest one he could offer:
Muslims feel that 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.
I say this is the strangest defense he could offer because it is extremely easy to imagine this same argument being deployed against Carson–or any religious conservative–in exactly the same way. A significant part of Carson’s support comes from evangelicals, his public rhetoric is full of expressions of his religious faith, he invokes Scripture when talking about policy, and I suspect he would be among the first to condemn attempts to drive Christian teachings out of the public square. More than most of his competitors, Carson would presumably affirm that Christianity ought to be “very much a part of your public life and what you do as a public official” and he would object to the idea that it be kept strictly separate from political life. Indeed, many Christian conservatives are rallying behind him because of this.