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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Dr. Ben Carson On The Oregon Shooting And The Article VI Test For Muslim Nominees

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The audio:


The transcript:

HH: There are multiple fatalities at a rural community college in Oregon, at Umpqua Community College. At least seven are dead, perhaps many more. We do not know. We’ll follow that story throughout the day. It’s breaking news, so I will bring you the details as they come. I begin the show with Dr. Ben Carson, candidate for president of the United States. Dr. Carson, sorry to talk to you on such a terrible day. We’ve become too used to such things in America.

BC: Yeah, it is really quite unfortunately common now, and you know, not only in America, but horrible things are occurring all over the world.

HH: Do you have any reaction on terms of what gun control matters will inevitably be discussed in the aftermath of this?

BC: Well, obviously, there are going to be those who are going to be calling for gun control. But you know, that happens every time we have one of these incidents. Obviously, that’s not the issue. The issue is the mentality of these people. And we need to be looking at the mentality of these individuals and seeing if there are any early warning clues that we can gather that will help us as a society to be able to identify these people ahead of time.

HH: You know, it came up on the debate. I actually asked Governor Bush and Senator Cruz about this. I don’t believe the question went to you, because Governor Bush had said we need to look into mental backgrounds. But the 2nd Amendment is so obviously protection of individual rights. How far into someone’s background do we go?

BC: Well, I guess it depends on what you find. If you find things that lead you further back, you know, you keep going further back. And you know, if it doesn’t look too suspicious, you leave it alone. But you know, what I worry about is when we get the point where we say we have to have every gun registered, we have to know where the people are and where their guns are. That’s very dangerous. That, I wouldn’t agree with at all.

HH: Well, we’ll know more, and perhaps we can talk next week when we know more about the killer. That always turns the story in one direction or the other, towards ideology or towards mental instability. And we’ll come back. We don’t know at this point. Let me ask you about soon-to-be Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, and his statements about Benghazi, Dr. Carson. He made the statement that the House committee had done good work, and that Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers have fallen, both of which are true statements. But the Democrats are attempting to impeach the integrity of the panel as a result of those, saying he’s argued from the beginning that it was political. Did you read them that way?

BC: Not necessarily. You know, I just think, you know, when it comes to the Speaker of the House, we need somebody who really is more representative of the mood of the country. And what I’m finding every place I go is that people are very, very disgruntled, because they’ve been sending people for the last three elections who have promised a change, and they’re not seeing any change coming. So whoever the new Speaker is, they have to be somebody who’s willing to put the stake in the ground, and challenge the status quo. We have separation of powers. We have checks and balances. But it doesn’t work if one branch sits by the sidelines. And that’s basically what Congress has been doing.

HH: Do you think Kevin McCarthy should be elected Speaker?

BC: I think if he can put forth a cogent argument, I’m in favor letting all the people who are being considered give their spiel, and let’s hear what they have to say, and let’s have a good vote on it.

HH: All right, now I want to go to your Jake Tapper interview about Muslims in public service, because I think I understood you to say anyone is eligible to the presidency of the United States if they will swear to uphold the laws and Constitution of the United States. Is that the summary of what you were trying to say?

BC: Yes, and I did say that before he brought that question up.

HH: Now there is within Islam taqiyya theory, where…

BC: Right.

HH: …proponents of Sharia Law believe they are entitled to lie…

BC: They can tell lies, yeah.

HH: So how do you square that variant of radical Islam with the oath requirement? How would the oath requirement operate vis-à-vis someone who holds that position?

BC: Well, the good thing is we have a system that puts people through an election process. And let’s say there was a Muslim who was running for president. You know, the people hopefully would have an opportunity to get to know that person. They would be able to see what that person’s lifestyle has been. And that would give them an opportunity to evaluate that lifestyle against what the person is saying. And if the things are consistent, and they clearly are people who have accepted the values and principles that formed America, and they’re clearly willing to abide by the Constitution, and they have demonstrated that in their lives, then I don’t see a problem.

HH: Now here comes the harder question. If Muslim is nominated to the Supreme Court of the United State, or to a federal appeals court, or a federal district court, how would you think the questioning ought to go, given Article VI prohibition on religious tests, but also given the standard that you just articulated? How ought the nominee to be questioned to see if they meet your standard?

BC: Well, again, I were the one nominating such a person, I would spend a good deal of time looking at their background, and seeing if it is consistent with the kinds of standards that we expect from such a position. I would take that into account much more than what they have to say. And that’s what’s been part of the problem, I think, with some of the selections. You know, we listen to what they say, and not what they have done.

HH: So would you be open to appointing a Muslim to the Supreme Court?

BC: To appointing who?

HH: Appointing a Muslim to the United States Supreme Court if you were president.

BC: I wouldn’t have a problem with that. Again, you know, it’s not being a Muslim. It’s a matter of whether one is willing to accept the principles and values of America and our Constitution.

HH: I get that.

BC: If they want to put their lifestyle, which you know, Islam, which incorporates Sharia, is a lifestyle. If they clearly have rejected that, will do that publicly, and their life has manifested that, then there’s no inconsistency whatsoever.

HH: Well, that’s what I thought you were saying, but I’m trying to imagine how it would look at a Senate confirmation hearing. I’m sure you remember the confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas and the confirmation hearings of Chief Justice Roberts, and the confirmation hearings of Judge Alito. And they always are taught, they never get asked about their religious beliefs, but I think you’re saying a Muslim nominee would have to be asked about their religious beliefs. Am I right about that?

BC: Well, I think if we’re talking about a whole different way of life, which includes Sharia, we obviously want to make sure that if a person comes from a background where that is likely to be their belief system, and it’s more than just a religion, it’s a political aspect and a whole style of living, if that is the case, obviously we need to know about that.

HH: Now I’m looking at the biography of Abdul Kallon, who was sworn in as a federal judge in Birmingham, Alabama. He went to Dartmouth, I think, an that’s pretty sketchy, if you ask me. But put the Dartmouth thing aside. He also went to the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and that’s a great law school. But it doesn’t tell me anything about whether or not he goes to mosque, or whether he’s Sunni or Shia. It doesn’t tell me anything about that, and in the past, we’ve never inquired. Does Dr. Carson think we need to inquire?

BC: Again, I’m going to go back, and I’m going to look at his life. I’m going to look at what has been going on in his life, what his lifestyle has been. If he has a judicial record, we’re going to go and look at that. And that can tell you a great deal without specifically asking, you know, the religious question.

HH: And so would it matter to you at all how often and which mosques they went to? There are some mosques that are known to be radical in the United States. There are some known to be the opposite of radical, and you know, mainstream.

BC: But…

HH: But…

BC: I think we have to use common sense. You know, that solves a lot of the problems right there, if we use common sense, which seems to be pretty uncommon these days.

HH: Agreed. Last question, at the Donald Trump rally, the man stood up and said President Obama is a Muslim, and President Obama isn’t a Muslim. He’s a Christian. He’s declared himself to be a Christian, and Christians accept that at face value until evidence is given otherwise that is overwhelming. What would you respond to if that man stood up and said that to you at a rally?

BC: Well, I have had people say things like that, and you know, I would simply say, what I always say, I don’t have any evidence that that’s the case. Let’s talk about something else.

HH: Is declaration and the attendance at Reverend Wright’s church enough? It is for me. Even though we don’t have the same theology, that’s for doggone sure, nevertheless, I accept his declaration, because I accept every Christian’s declaration of faith.

BC: I accept that, but you know, now that you’ve brought that up, obviously I think if the media had been looking at that, looking at some of the other associations, I think maybe more questions would have come up, not so much about what his religion is, but what are is affections?

HH: His odd ideology, I would agree with that as well. Dr. Ben Carson, I look forward to talking to you again next week, thank you for joining me.

End of interview.


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