Last weekend presidential candidate Ben Carson appeared on the NBC program Meet the Press. This show has been a staple of Sunday morning news since 1947 and deserves all the respect it receives.
In 1975 President Ford appeared as the first current President to appear but long before that we’ve recognized the importance of the show in our choice of the next President.
This past weekend Ben Carson made news when he told Chuck Todd that No Muslim should be President. He explained that a Muslim can’t be trusted as his (or her) primary loyalty would be to his (or her) faith over his (or her) patriotism.
This alarms me as a Catholic. It’s hard to believe but there was a time when a majority of Americans felt the same way about Catholics.
Al Smith ran for President in 1928 and lost, in part because he was Catholic. In 1960 John F. Kennedy ran for President even though 25% of Americans believed they couldn’t vote for a Catholic because they felt that his first loyalty was in Rome and the Pope would tell him how to lead.
We Catholics knew how silly this was. We knew the Pope had no desire to rule the United States and we liked the idea that “one of us” could lead our country. We were right.
And as for Muslims? C’mon! Islam calls its followers to 5 pillars: to believe, to pray, to donate, to fast, and to travel to Mecca. It explicitly forbids violence against anyone.
In the nine Presidential elections I’ve voted every time. I’ve voted my values each time. If a Muslim runs in my lifetime who professes a concern for the poor, a belief that our best days are ahead of us, and we can create a nation where our children are better off than we are, I’ll vote for him (or her).
I call everyone who reads this to do the same.