Photo by Gage Skidmore
Donald Trump is trying to gain some traction by dissing Ben Carson's deep devotion to his church, the Seventh Day Adventists.
This all took root last month when Dr. Ben Carson was roundly condemned by liberals for saying that a Muslim shouldn't be the president, because the religion of Islam doesn't "fit within the realm of America" and isn't "consistent with the constitution." At the same time, this was met with thundering applause from conservatives. Add in absurd comments such as saying the Holocaust could have been avoided if only Jews were armed, and it's a big reason behind Carson's recent surge in the polls among likely Republican primary voters.
Nothing happens in a vacuum and if one carny barker is turning heads, it comes at the expense of another-- in this case, The Donald. In the latest New York Times / CBS poll, Ben Carson had successfully knocked off Trump from his perch as top dog.
Nobody out carny barks Trump, though. The Donald looking to send Carson packing by is hitting him where it hurts: Attacking his religion.
Whoa... you can't do that... you just can't. Attacking someone's religion is like... like... like attacking someone for having a third nipple: It's something they were born with and beyond their control!
Au contraire, mon frère. There are exceptions to this rule and Ben Carson himself has opened the door to them.
Carson is the one that has interjected his religion into this campaign. Actually, interjected is the wrong word—he has made his religion the foundation of his campaign.
In a nutshell, Dr. Carson's diagnosis for what ails America is a near-fatal religion deficiency in our public sphere-- and like a Scurvy patient gulping a gallon or orange juice-- all of our problems will be quickly cured once we take his prescription of more religion. And he's just the guy for the job, because nobody's got a shorter line to The Man Upstairs than Dr. Carson.
But it can't be any religion—it's got to be some form of Christianity. And it can't be just any Christian—Carson has suggested that Trump doesn't have the anywhere near the same bonafides as the good doctor.
So, with this huge opening, guess who came plowing through.
Trump started last Thursday by underscoring about how when he's president—"We're gonna be saying 'Merry Christmas' "and then went on to say "other religions can do whatever they want." This smelled like a thinly veiled attack on Carson, whose Seventh Day Adventists don't celebrate Christmas.
This attack was a little too thinly veiled, however, so Trump took off the veil and bluntly stated, "I'm Presbyterian. Boy, that's down the middle of the road, folks, in all fairness. I mean, Seventh-day Adventist, I don't know about. I just don't know about."
Carson responded by demanding a Trump apologize. Trump responded by doing his "apologize for what?" feigned-ignorance kabuki dance.
Meanwhile, the national media is doing exactly what Trump wants: Putting the spotlight on Carson's Seventh Day Adventist membership. The Washington Post compared them to Mormons, NPR came out with All Your Questions About Seventh Day Adventists and Ben Carson Answered, and the New York Times came out with Ben Carson Puts Spotlight on Seventh Day Adventists.
So, don't be surprised to see Trump offering Carson a heaping plate of bacon, Carson refusing because of Seventh Day Adventist vegetarian requirements, and then Trump saying, "I don't know folks... doesn't eat pork or celebrate Christmas... I just don't know about that .... I just don't know...."
And as your feeling about this disgusting display of the politics "the other," remember, Carson's the one that opened the door to all this nonsense.